Every Masaaki Yuasa Anime Movie & Short, Ranked
This versatile animation medium has become a beautiful tool for visionaries to express complex narratives. One of the biggest anime writers to come out of Japan over the past two decades is Masaaki Yuasa, who regularly releases groundbreaking content for TV and movie theaters.
However, the incredible heights reached in animated films would be impossible to reach on television. 2022 is set to be a big year for Yuasa with the release of its latest cinematic masterpiece, Inu-Oh, which also makes it the perfect time to reflect on his many past contributions.
9 Slime Adventures: Yippee, Sea! Is a short jaunt that features a ball of slime
One of Masaaki Yuasa’s first directorial efforts is an unusual cross-promotion with the dragon quest series of video games. A promotional VHS was released alongside a subscription to a Japanese video game magazine, which gave Yuasa the opportunity to create a 15-minute short film that focuses on the popular Slime from dragon quest.
Curiously, slime protagonists have become more common in modern isekai anime, but Yuasa was ahead of the curve here in this over-the-top adventure reminiscent of early Studio Ghibli films. Slime Adventures: Yippee, Sea! is extremely promising and already contains many trademarks of Yuasa, but its short duration is what holds it back.
8 Genius Party’s ‘Happy Machine’ Is A Thoughtful Look At The Circle Of Life
Anime is a medium that has met with enormous success in the form of anthologies, and Studio 4°C genius party is a love letter to creativity that includes 12 ambitious short films. Many anime visionaries are enlisted to bring genius partyThe stories of Yuasa’s life and contribution, “Happy Machine”, clearly stand out.
Filtered through the eyes of an innocent baby, a sprawling series of events sends the baby on an adventure. There’s an emotional conclusion to the 14-minute story that’s as visually thrilling as it is profound. genius party as a whole is a must-watch, but Yuasa’s short is still a unique triumph.
seven Japan is sinking: 2020 is exceptionally restrained in both style and subject
Originally released as a ten-episode Netflix series, Yuasa edited his timely environmental disaster epic, Japan Sinks: 2020, in feature film. This condensed version of a brother and sister’s efforts to find their parents in the midst of a disaster is arguably stronger than the extended serialized version.
That being said, it still amounts to one of Yuasa’s weaker efforts that lacks its typical visual flourishes. Whereas Japan Sinks: 2020 has the biggest and most important message of Yuasa’s filmography, it’s sometimes too austere for its own good. Yuasa is a director who thrives on optimism.
6 Kick-Heart is an explosive love story between wrestlers that transcends its short duration
Falling for something is a 12-minute short film financed by Kickstarter and which marks an important turning point in the director’s career. It often feels like Yuasa has unlimited freedom to tell his stories, but Falling for something this is the first time that it is really true. This labor of love follows two passionate fighters who pose as masked wrestlers.
Falling for something Effortlessly showcases their choreographed fight as the ultimate expression of romance, all enhanced by a kaleidoscopic color palette that makes the short seem like it’s being seen through “Love Vision.”
5 Lu Over The Wall uses a vampire mermaid to open a sad boy’s eyes
Many animated feature films focus on water realms because water can make for beautiful visuals. Yuasa has turned to aquatic business many times, and read on the wall is its most kid-friendly. The film centers on a teenager who finds his calling after meeting a mermaid with a penchant for singing.
This literal fish out of water story is endlessly adorable and will have audiences perpetually tapping their toes. read on the wall may feel a bit more throwaway than Yuasa’s other films, but it has an explosive final act that’s some of the director’s best work.
4 Ride Your Wave is a touching story of heartbreak that dips into magical realism
Masaaki Yuasa returns to the water in Ride your wavea film that feels indebted to read on the wall in many ways, but tells a more mature and emotional story. A grieving young adult gets another chance at love when her soul mate unexpectedly returns via water.
Ride your wave finds many ways to use the malleability of water to create beautiful sequences that reflect both the connection and the distance between these two wounded hearts. Ride your wave feels like the cathartic culmination of many of Yuasa’s usual themes and speaks to his evolving sensibilities as a storyteller.
3 Mind Game is a one-of-a-kind style and passion savage attack
Psychological game is a one-of-a-kind experience that demonstrates the limitless freedom that animation offers and how imperfections are part of what makes something so beautiful. The film chronicles the efforts of a hopeful loser to save his childhood crush from yakuza loan sharks, but it uses an experimental aesthetic and structure that is more like that of an anthology film.
Yuasa presents each chapter of Nishi’s story in a contrasting animation style, some of which is raw and unpolished. It is a very unique expression of creativity that is the perfect representation of Yuasa.
2 The night is short, Walk On Girl is a rainbow fever dream unlike anything else
There is a deceptively simple story in The night is short, step on the girl, where its anonymous protagonist embraces the endless possibilities of a night out on the town with an open mind. Much of the film feels like separate vignettes that examine different pockets of society, but it consistently highlights the messy and serious nature of what it means to be human.
A chaotic cast of characters move in and out of the story as this upbeat girl truly discovers the wonders of life.There is a stream of quality of consciousness in the film that is simply captivating.
1 Inu-Oh is a beautiful explosion of folklore, music and identity that is the crowning achievement of Yuasa
Masaaki Yuasa’s Last Movie, 2022 Inu-Oh, may in fact be the masterpiece of the impressive director. Set in 14th century Japan, the film tells the touching story of Inu-Oh and Tomona, two neglected people who find their voices through music and dance.
This inspiring tale is set in a grueling civil war, and Yuasa’s fluid animation style is the perfect tool for juxtaposing its disparate themes, tones, and ideas. Every area where Yuasa typically shines is on display here, and it culminates in a jaw-dropping movie.
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