You can tell a moving story in a number of different ways through a number of different mediums. None of them are inherently more effective than the other; it’s through the creator’s vision and execution that a truly exceptional piece is defined.
Furiko (Pendulum), an animated film recently featured on Japanese late-night TV program DO! Shinya and later uploaded to YouTube is a perfect example of this, having viewers in tears despite being no longer than 3 minutes.
Even more surprising, this “film” is actually a 1038-page flip book illustrated page-by-page by Japanese comedian Tekken.
If you haven’t already, we urge you to stop reading, grab a box of tissues and watch the animation (embedded via YouTube above and below) now.
The story itself isn’t anything new in particular, but the way the progression of time is shown through the swinging of a pendulum is brilliant in both its novelty and relevance to the story’s theme. Not to mention, again, that this was all hand-drawn by a single man on 1038 pieces of paper.
While the TV program the animation was originally shown on isn’t particularly popular, a video of it posted to YouTube on March 17 reached over 1,200,000 views in less than a week, along with hundreds of comments and reactions from both Japanese and English.
One Japanese user offers his interpretation:
“The wife suffered from memory loss after a stroke (1:35), so the husband did everything he could to get her to remember him. He made a telephone from 2 cups and a string like when they were younger, he bought her the wedding veil she wanted but they couldn’t afford when they got married, but before he could give it to her he passed away. Even if it meant stopping the pendulum, he wanted to make his wife happy one last time.”
Another Japanese commenter adds:
“The husband has already passed away, which is why he doesn’t age in the final scene (2:12). The pendulum represents the cruel passage of time, and watching the husband trying to stop it—and then his wife telling him kindly, ‘it’s okay, let go’—is both beautiful and sad.”
Indeed, nearly all of the comments left by Japanese users are confessing the animation made them cry or praising the creator for being able to tell such a touching story in only 3 minutes.
Incidentally, the creator Tekken, a balding middle-aged Japanese man who wears KISS-style makeup, is known for using his own illustrations during his routines. Furiko is actually not his first flip book masterpiece; check the following video for his animation Tsunagare, made after the March 11 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami (starts from 1:41).
Despite his goofy appearance, we think it’s safe to say Tekken has a talent that can be used for far more than getting cheap laughs. No matter how many times we watch this film, we can’t help but be amazed at how he managed to capture more raw humanity in 3 minutes than some films do in 3 hours.