'Time' goes distance at anime fair


TOKYO -- A movie about a time-traveling teenager took home the animation of the year award at the sixth annual Tokyo International Anime Fair on Thursday, while a Canadian production earned the grand prize in the open competition.

"The Girl Who Leapt Through Time" was one of 457 film shorts screened or distributed in Japan that was up for the award. Produced by Tokikake Film Partners, it tells the story of 17-year-old Makoto Konno, who can change events by traveling into the past.

In addition to winning the best film prize, "Time" also won the best director award for Mamoru Hosoda and best original story for Yasutaka Tsutsui, for a tale he wrote 40 years ago. It also earned a screenplay nod for Satoko Okudera, best art direction for Nizou Yamamoto and the character design prize for Yoshiyuki Sadamoto.

"I would like to thank all the people who worked on this title and gave us such great characters, story line and music," Hosoda said in accepting his award.

In the Open Entries section of the festival, Howie Shia's "Flutter" from Canada took the top award. An urban fairy tale about a boy and a girl who want to see how big the world is, the story was produced by the Toronto-based music, film and design studio PPF House.

"Flutter" fought off competition from 216 other titles from 16 foreign countries including Sweden, South Africa, China, Malaysia and South Korea.

In the animation of the year competition, director Gisaburo Suigii's "Arashino Yoruni" won special mention, along with Mad House's "Paprika," which played at Venice and has received praise around the world since its release.

The award for best voice actor went to Aya Hirano for "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya," while Susumu Hirasawa took the top prize for music for the "Paprika" score. Disney-Pixar's "Cars" was a notable entry selection in the Overseas Feature Film category.

In the television section, "Code Geass: Leluch of the Rebellion" received recognition, as did "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya," directed by Tatsuya Ishihara, and "Death Note," the hit television adaptation of the equally popular manga. Directed by Tetsuro Araki, the series now airs on Japanese television and has been turned into a feature film.

Notable entry mentions were received by Naoki Yamaji for his work "Un-Pitsu," Aya Hidaka for "Revenging Against Tokyo" and Tetsurou Kodama for "Runningman," a tale of a man desperate to lose weight.

In the student category, which attracted 107 entries, Hiroco Ichinose earned a notable entry award for "The Last Breakfast," along with "Tokio Brothers" by Naoko Jonori and Heo Jong's "The Story of Doltap."

Awards of merit also were presented to some of the most influential names in Japanese animation of the past century, including the late Yusaku Sakamoto, creator of "Astro Boy," Masao Kumakawa and Koichi Murata, a key player in the creation of animation powerhouse Studio Ghibli.