Jaw-dropping graduation project has audiences salivating for more from this one-person powerhouse.
For some time now, one of the big questions in the anime industry has been “Who is the next Hayao Miyazaki?” It’s a query that’s repeatedly come up when a new, ambitious animator makes an emotionally moving, visually stunning piece of original animation.
But as Miyazaki’s career winds down, other anime creators are rising to prominence and have the chance to become highly influential forces of their own. So while artist loundraw, the artist behind the gorgeous teaser-style video for Yume ga Sameru Made (“Until I Wake Up from this Dream”) isn’t likely to be dubbed “the next Miyazaki,” plenty of people who watch the video are likely to notice tonal similarities to director Makoto Shinkai’s Your Name, and might begin thinking of loundaw as “the next Shinkai.”
loundraw describes the story as:
One Night a college student named Sota meets a girl named Yuki, whom he’s never seen before, but she says he saved her life in the past. From the way she holds a fork and shops for things, it’s like Yuki knows nothing of the outside world.
There’s something else strange about her. She seems terrified of having her skin touched. As Sota begins an unusual life with the mysterious girl, little by little a change starts to occur.
Men come to try to take Yuki away. They say she has the power to decide the fate of the earth, and ask her to sacrifice her life to save the world. What is the power that lies in Yuki? Why does she refuse to be touched? At last, she tells Sota the secret she has been hiding.
The Shinkai similarities don’t stop at loundraw’s love of dramatic lighting and moistly colorful backgrounds. Like Shinkai’s breakout work, Voices of a Distant Star, the Yume ga Sameru Made video is visually a one-person work, with loundraw credited for script, character design, art, animation, and backgrounds. What’s even more impressive is that loundraw is still in his early 20s, and says the video was his college graduation project.
While the visuals are a solo effort, loundraw did get a lot of help on the audio front. Professional anime voice actors Hiro Shimono and Sora Amamiya provide the character voices, and popular Japanese rock band Bump of Chicken, no stranger to creative anime endeavors, allowed the use of its music. And while loundraw was until recently still a student, he does have some professional experience in the anime industry, having supplied the character designs for anime TV series Tsuki ga Kirei which aired last spring, as well as the cover illustration for the 2015 Japanese novel I Want to Eat Your Pancreas, which is getting a live-action film version this summer.
Even still, loundraw’s video is amazingly impressive. The shot composition and character poses quickly draw the viewer in, and while the actual animation is on the choppy side, it’s nothing a team of in-betweeners (or some fancy AI) couldn’t polish up.
The video, edited like a preview, closes with the notice that Yume ga Sameru Made will be released on September 31, which probably had a lot of viewers pulling up their calendars to mark the date…only to remember that there are only 30 days in September. So sadly, it looks like loundraw’s graduation project is limited to the short video alone, with the full anime not actually planned for production. But seeing as how loundraw no longer has to study and can now devote himself full-time to a project, here’s hoping some smart producer gets in touch with the young artist and makes a full-size Yume ga Sameru Made a reality.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’s feeling pretty humble about his student animation projects right now.