More Mamoru Oshii Bios & Profiles
Biography #2Mamoru Oshii (born August 8 in Tokyo, 1951) is a Japanese animation and live-action film writer and director.
Mamoru Oshii has made independent films since he was still a student. He was fascinated by the film La Jetée from Chris Marker as well as the films of Andrzej Wajda, Jeray Kawalerowicz, Andrzej Munk and Ingmar Bergman.
He graduated from The Fine Arts Education School of the Education Department of Tokyo Liberal Arts University (Tokyo Gakugei Daigaku) in 1976.
Oshii entered Tatsu-no-Ko Productions in 1977 and made his first experience in anime with Ippatsu kanta-kun. In 1980 he moved to Studio Pierrot under the supervision of his mentor Nagayuki Toriumi.
With Nils no fushigi na tabi (Wonderful Adventures of Nils) and Gatchaman II (Battle of the Planets) Oshii met writer Kazunori Ito and painter and character designer Yoshitaka Amano and came into the limelight as storyboard artist and director of the animated Urusei Yatsura TV series. In addition he directed the Urusei Yatsura films: Urusei Yatsura:Only You (1983), a more typical adaptation in the Urusei Yatura universe, and Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer (1984). The second film was a big departure from the TV series and an early example of Mamoru Oshii's current style. It was so far from the manga by Rumiko Takahashi, that she almost didn't approve the script.
Since becoming an independent director and as a workless precursor, he created with success Dallos in 1983, the first OAV in history and Tenshi no Tamago (Angel's Egg) in 1985, a surreal biblical vision escaping from all stereotypes, famous in part for its character design by Yoshitaka Amano. During the production of Angel's Egg, Oshii met producer Toshio Suzuki, who later founded Studio Ghibli along with Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata. Suzuki along with Ghibli would later help him with the production of Innocence: Ghost in the Shell (2004).
After Angels Egg Oshii (director), Miyazaki (writer) and Takahata (producer) were going to work together on a film called Anchor. The film didn't get past initial planning stages and was cancelled when the three had artistic disagreements. Oshii and Miyazaki have since had very skepitcal, but respectful views on each other's films. Oshii criticizes Miyazaki as being too idealistic and unrealistic as well as being too ruthless to his workers. Miyazaki criticisizes Oshii as being too much of a philosopher and not enough of an entertainer in his work. (See the interviews with Oshii about Miyazaki, and the conversation with Oshii and Miyazaki about Patlabor 2 linked below).
The first film to touch on his political background as part of student protest movements in the 1970s, was his first live action film The Red Specticles (1987). This film is set in the same world as Oshii's later film Jin-Roh and is about a former member of the special unit of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Force dealing with a fascist government.
In the late 1980s Oshii was solicited by his friend Kazunori Ito and joined as a member of Headgear (http://members.austarmetro.com.au/~mwhitley/head.htm) the anime group including Kazunori Ito (screenwriter), Masami Yuuki (scenarist), Kenji Kawaï (music composer), Kazuchika Kise (designer),Akemi Tadaka (designer), Miki Itoh, and Hiromasa Ogura (art director) responsible for Kidou Keisatsu Patlabor ( Mobile Police Patlabor OAV ) (1988), Twilight Q (OVA, 19??), Patlabor the Movie 1 (1989) and Patlabor the Movie 2 (1993). According to Oshii, Headgear was formed because anime sponsors would only deal with studios not individuals.
At the peak of Japan's economic bubble, the Patlabor series projected a dynamic near-future world in which grave social crisis and ecological challenges were overcome by technological ingenuity.
Between Patlabor 1 and Patlabor 2 Oshii returned to live action cinema with 2 films. The first film was Stray Dogs: Kerberos Panzer Cops (1991). This film was a sort of prequel to Red Spectacles. The second film he did was Talking Head (1992). Talking Head is a surreal look at Oshii's view on film done through a plot about an anime production where a director is missing and has to be replaced by a new one.
In this second period, he started more personal projects like the manga Seibu Shinjuku Sensen Ijou Nashi (All's quiet on the Seibu Shinjuku Front) and Gosenzosama Banbanzai an animated approach to Nô Theater. He wrote the scripts of Seraphim Wings, drawn by Satoshi Kon and published by Animage in 1994. Oshii forced a slow approach of Animation inspired from the mangaka Masami Yuki and turned on more philosophical concepts and technology challenges.
His most famous film, Ghost in the Shell (1995) was released in Japan, the U.S., and in Europe simultaneously and hit the top of the U.S. Billboard video chart in 1996.
Oshii also wrote the Kereberos (Panzer Corps) manga drawn by Kamui Fujiwara, the script of Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade and was involved in the supervision of Blood: The Last Vampire in 2000. In addition to his movie work, he remained a prolific author of comics and novels.
Oshii's films are typically slowly paced, punctuated by several moments of fast action, and usually in the silence that follows, what exposition there is will occur. He has a visual style that is instantly recognizable, choosing to linger on beautiful images in montages in which nothing significant generally occurs. Some shapes Oshii likes to include in his films are flocks of birds (not unlike John Woo), and a basset hound called Gabriel. The basset hound figured most prominently into his first internationally noticed live-action film, 2001's Japanese-Polish production Avalon.
Oshii also wrote and directed numerous animated movies and live-action films based on a highly personal worldview. This worldview is influenced by the latter half of the 1960s (really 1970s) anti-ANPO student movements (anti-US-Japan Security Treaty). Because the student movements were falling apart when he got into them he has a much more cynical worldview than older members of the same movements Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata.
Oshii is especially noted for how his directing style has uniquely influenced the films for Urusei Yatsura, Patlabor, and Ghost in the Shell. In their original manga or anime forms, these three titles exhibited a mood that was more frantic slapstic comedy (Urusei Yatsura) or convivial seriocomic (Patlabor, GITS). Oshii, in adapting the works created a slower, more grey overcast atmosphere especially noticeable in Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer and Patlabor:The Movie. For the Ghost in the Shell movie, Oshii elected to leave out the humor and character banter of Masamune Shirow's manga resulting in a presentation some say is very reminiscent of Stanley Kubrick.
Considered a genius by Stanley Kubrick himself, Mamoru Oshii is a visionary dreamer that aims at renewing cinema.
After his live action film Avalon was first shown in Cannes Film Festival in 2001, his last ambitious movie Innocence: Ghost in the Shell (Inosensu: Kokaku Kidotai) was selected to compete at 2004 Cannes Film Festival (the 5th time only selection for an animated movie in Cannes) and echoes Ridley Scott's Blade Runner in a search of our genesis and memories.
"The political tone has given way to a philosophical one, a hymn to life. Furthermore, the technical rendering is much more formal, mixing 2D, 3D and computer graphics." (2004 Cannes Film Festival).
Article text released under CC-BY-SA. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Mamoru Oshii" (01-Jan-2000)