by Darren Lignowski | staff writer
Have you ever wanted to get inside the heads of some of Japan’s prominent directors and animators (hopefully not in a literal sense that could lead to criminal charges) to figure out what makes them tick? Do you sigh wistfully, wishing that you could learn about the wellsprings that these influential people draw their inspiration from? Have your philistine friends professed doubts about the relevance of Miyamoto Teru’s body of work to today’s greatest minds? Well now you can sate all these desires thanks to NEW PEOPLE Travel, a free webzine that delves into some of Japan’s most notable creative forces as they wax introspectively in essays helpfully (and wonderfully) translated for the Japanese-impaired.
As can be gleaned from the word ‘Travel’ being in the title, and it being a significant fixture in many of the pieces, the content of each essay often ties into the impact of certain destinations on each artist, while rarely treading the same territory. So while the bleak skies of the Noto Peninsula might feature prominently for one director, being stuck in the nearly unbearable sound pollution of Narita might give another an entirely new perspective.
While the pieces are fascinating when taken at face value, their real value lies in how they paint a picture of each interviewee’s personality. It’s interesting to see how the glowing, personable Mamoru Hosoda (Summer Wars, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time) contrasts with the slightly cold, self-deprecating Oshii of Ghost in the Shell fame, and how their differing experiences have led to equally estranged outlooks on life. Thus far, only four people have had their thoughts fully catalogued, with Yoshitaka Amano’s pieces set to all be up by the end of February.
While NEW PEOPLE Travel isn’t exactly filled to the brim with content waiting to be explored as of yet, it’s set to update biweekly for quite some time, ensuring that there will be enough content to facilitate regular visits. So hey, the site’s cool, the people interviewed for it are cool, you’re cool (probably), give it a read and be enlightened. You just might walk away with a greater appreciation for what inspired your favorite non-Ghibli, non-Garzey’s Wing anime film, and the person who helmed it.