This is just incredible. Wow!
Fascinated with stop-motion from an early age, filmmaker Kawamura came up with the premise for Hidari when brainstorming ideas for a collaboration with Noriko Matsumoto, a producer at Dwarf Studios (Mogu & Perol). "Although many works attributed to Jingoro Hidari still exist, such as the 'Sleeping Cat' at the Nikko Toshogu Shrine, the character himself is shrouded in mystery and his existence is unknown, which I found very intriguing (similar to the mysterious street artist Banksy)", the director explains. "In Rakugo and Koudan, traditional Japanese storytelling art forms, Jingoro Hidari is often portrayed as a woodcarver whose carved animals come to life, which reminded me of stop-motion animation, where life is breathed into inanimate objects".
With this thought in mind, Kawamura established that stop-motion would be the perfect medium for his story and decided to create a Jidaigeki (Samurai film) based around the legend of this enigmatic artist. With Hidari's carved sculptures in mind, the decision to use wooden puppets felt like the natural path to follow and from here Hidari's distinct aesthetic began, with Kawamura revealing he had the "image of sawdust spewing out instead of blood when characters are slashed".
Image: YouTube/Screen Grab