I have a few ongoing series, and Nuclear Cinema is one of the hardest to write. But this expressive war epic from the assistant director of Kiki’s Delivery Service — one of my family’s all-time favorites — handles the toughest of topics with art, skill and grace. I spoke with director Sunao Katabuchi for Cartoon Brew.
Get Down to the Details: Sunao Katabuchi On In This Corner of the World
Details matter in animation, which is likely why writer and director Sunao Katabuchi’s patient Hiroshima epic, In This Corner of the World, has accrued dozens of awards (including the Japan Academy Prize) and bountiful praise since making the jump from manga to anime last year in Japan.
An assistant director on Hayao Miyazaki’s 1989 masterpiece, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Katabuchi believed that the details of its young witch’s interiority were as essential as those of the film’s wondrously hand-drawn exteriors. The same governing philosophy applies to In This Corner of the World, bowing stateside today. Katabuchi spends much of his meditative film illustrating the psychology of its main character, a daydreaming artist named Suzu, as she moves through towns and lives bombed sometimes beyond recognition during World War II.