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Thank you for these valuable informations! I really wondered at the power of its unusual pace, the european cinema's influence makes a lot of sense. And I appreciate the way Katabuchi's personal experience echoes with Arete's. In that last scene with the Golden Eagle, it looks like that he himself was there, through Arete, to finish paying homage to something transcendental but substantial. "The film exists […] and it can be shown." It's very touching.
May I ask if I could have your permission to translate and repost this article on a Chinese anime forum? It's 100% non-profit, and I will put your name and website at the very front. Oh and thank you for your attentive writings on Busifan's works, too. I only learnt about his early films from you. They are very interesting and get me reconsidering today's Chinese anime. Anyways, thanks in advance for your consideration, and please let me know your decision <3
I saw Princess Arete last year after the animator Dong Chang made a youtube video about it (alongside Metropolis and Maquia). I loved it, a really subtle and moving film that has way more to it than I'd assumed from the premise, and I didn't know it had such a story behind it, that's so cool.
Now you point it out, it really does feel like a European animated film in its pacing and tone. Which is kinda interesting as a premonition of things to come, right? 4°C now has a strong following in Europe on sites like Catsuka, and that they'd go on to collaborate with European studios on films like MFKZ and Birdboy: The Forgotten Children...
The humble origins of 4°C are kinda surprising - it reminds me a little of KyoAni's tale of growing out of 'housewives painting animation cels', and makes me see films from that period in a new light. Kôji Morimoto was already a great animator who'd done amazing work on Robot Carnival, but that definitely doesn't pay well... I've got no idea what sort of resources it takes to launch a studio. I wonder what sort of computers they were using to composite on in this period...
Thank for writing in such depth about this film! AniObsessive is such a treasure.