Animation Maestro GISABURO

A Masato Ishioka Film
A documentary about Gisaburo SUGII

Seventy one year old Ginsaburo Sugi is one of the founding fathers of Japanese animation. He is a wonderful human being and a great artist who has always driven himself to surpass his earlier work and has never allowed himself to be fettered by conventions.
His work includes some of the great masterpieces of Japanese animation, including Astro Boy, Dororo, Japanese Fairy Tales and Tachi. All of Sugi’s work is hand drawn and his delicate lines encompass the eroticism of “A Thousand and One Nights”, the emotional depth of Tachi, the beautiful silences and soul-searching depth of expression in the eyes of Giovanni the cat in his masterpiece, “Night On The Galactic Railroad.”

This documentary also follows the development of the Japanese animation industry from its early years in the shadow of Disney to its emergence as an international cultural phenomenon and symbol of “Cool Japan.”

Director Masato Ishioka, is the maker of the acclaimed documentary about one of the great iconoclasts of Japanese Pornography, Yoyochu in the Land of the Rising Sex. In this film he delves into the roots of Ginsaburo’s creative art and follows him on a philosophical journey through his world, a journey which culminates in the beginning of another great adventure.

Who’s Gisaburo Sugii?

Gisaburo Sugii was born in 1940 in Shizuoka Prefecture and was raised in Harajuku, Tokyo. Upon graduating from high school he entered the animation movie studio TOEI Dōga which is the studio that made Japan’s first colored feature animation called The Tale of the White Serpent (1958) which followed the tradition of Walt Disney styled animation. He became an apprentice, studying under Yasuo Otsuka who also taught Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata. Gisaburo worked a small part in the film as an in-between animator, which was his first assignment after entering TOEI Dōga. He also took part in The Magic Boy (1959) and Journey to the West (1960) as in-betweener. After spending three years with TOEI Dōga, he decided to join Mushi Productions that Osamu Tezuka had just established. This is the place where Gisaburo developed and polished his talent and skill for animation under Tezuka who was a great figure in the Japanese Manga (comic book) industry. While there he also met a sound engineer, Atsumi Tashiro, and the two of them formed their own company called Group Tac in 1969. Gisaburo became involved with large scale animation as an animator on Cleopatra (1970) and Belladonna of Sadness (1973). His first feature animation as director was Jack and the Beanstalk created in 1974. It was a success at the Box Office but he was not satisfied with the quality of the film. It is around this time that he abandoned his career and traveled aimlessly for about ten years. He thought he had given up on animation but he took an interest in Mitsuru Adachi’s comic books during his travels and eventually he returned to the industry. With works based on some of Adachi’s comic books, he developed techniques called Jiwa-pan or slow panning, Jiwa-yori, or slow camera movement in close ups, and Tome-e known as paused motion. These are referred to slow movements in the camera. Then came Night On The Galactic Railroad (1985), which is considered to be one of the great masterpieces in the all of Japanese cinema history. With this feature animation, he broke fresh ground and continued his work to become one of the most prolific directors of animation.

Those who are featured in this documentary

Osamu Tezuka (Manga artist, animation director, producer)
Osamu Tezuka was born in 1928 in Osaka, Japan. He started to draw manga (comics) in his early years while at primary school and became a professional comic writer while he was studying medicine at Osaka University. His most well known work internationally is Astro Boy and Jungle Emperor Leo. Director Stanley Kubrick wanted Tezuka to work on production design for 2001: A Space Odyssey. He is regarded as the “God” Of Manga by the people within the industry and profession.

Yasuo Otsuka (animator)
Yasuo Otsuka is regarded as the top animator in the Japanese animation industry. He was born in 1931 and started his career as a drug enforcement officer. However he liked to draw so much that he took a test at TOEI Dōga.to enter as one of their first employees. He is the mentor of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata.

Eiichi Yamamoto (director of animation, screen writer)
was born in 1940. He ascribed to be an animator when he was junior high school. He joined Mushi Production in 1960. He directed Animerama, which is adult feature animation films Tezuka initiated. It was a series and the famous ones are: A Thousand and One Nights (1969), Cleopatra (1970) and Belladonna of Sadness (1973).

Rintaro (director of animation)
Rintaro was born in 1941 and started working in animation industry at the age of 17. His early career ran parallel to Gisaburo’s as they both worked for TOEI Dōga and then for Mushi Productions during the same time period. He has often worked with Madhouse after Mushi Productions but is currently a freelance director. His Metropolis was a runner up for the Best Film at 2001 Sitges Int’l Film Festival.

Atsumi Tashiro (Sound Effects Engineer, Producer)
Atsumi Tashiro was the head of former Group Tac. He was born in 1940 and worked in sound when he worked for Mushi Production. In 1968, he formed Group Tac with Gisaburo and other members of Mushi Productions. It started as a small independent studio but achieved recognition through its production of The Japanese Fairy Tale. Tashiro is the initiator of the making of Night On The Galactic Railroad and The Life of Budory Goosko which were both based on Kenji Miyazawa’s novels. He died suddenly in 2010, shortly after Group Tac went bankrupt in that same year.

Masao Maruyama (Producer)
Masao Maruyama was born in 1941. He is the former head of Madhouse Inc which Maruyama founded with some staff members from Mushi Productions in 1972. He created a process to produce films by first choosing three key positions: Director, Animator and Art Director and then he would get involved with the heart of the creative side such as frame work, themes and expressions according to the subject matters. From this he discovered many of top directors such as Satoshi Kon who unfortunately died in 2010 at the age of 46. Maruyama is now the head of a studio, MAPPA.

Masato Hara (Producer)
Masato Hara was born in 1931. In his early 20s, he joined a movement called The First Independent Film Production and worked for Film Directors like Tadashi Imai and Satsuo Yamamoto as a member of their production and promotion staff. He then went to work at Nippon Herald Pictures in 1958. He established a company, Herald Ace in 1981, which was changed to Ace Pictures in 1996. The company was merged with Asmik Entertainment, and he became the head of Asmik Ace Entertainment in 1998. He produced, Nagisa Oshima’s Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (1983), Akira Kurosawa’s Ran (1985), Gisaburo Sugii’s Night On The Galactic Railroad (1985), Hideo Nakata’s Ring (1998) and Yoshimitsu Morita’s Abacus and Sword (2009) along with many other notable films. He currently is a special advisor for Asmik Ace Entertainment and the head of Hara Office.

Gisaburo's filmography

■ Astro Boy (TV 1963-1966/screen play・director・animator・Key Frames) ■New Treasure Island(TV 1965/animator・key frames) ■Monkey King TV 1967/supervising director) ■Lupin The Third pilot (TV 1969/planning・key frames) ■DORORO(TV 1969/supervising director) ■A Thousand & One Nights(feature animation 1969/key frames) ■Tragedy Of Belladonna (feature animation 1973/animator・key frames) ■Jack and Beanstalk(feature animation 1974/director) ■Japanese Fairy Tales(TV 1975-1994/adaptation・production design) ■Son-goku Silkroad wo tobu!! (TV 1982/character design・directing support) ■Nine(TV 1983/director) ■Nine 2 Koibito Sengen (TV 1983/director) ■Nine, The Last Series(TV 1984/director) ■The Glass Mask (TV 1984/supervising director・director for opening and ending of episodes) ■Night On The Galactic Railroad (feature film 1985/director) ■Tatchi (TV 1985-1987/supervising director・title animation)■Tatchi Sebango no nai ace(feature animation 1986/director・screen play)■Tatchi 2 Sayonara no okurimono (feature animation 1986/supervising director)■The Tale of Genji (feature animation1987/director) ■Tatchi 3 -DON'T PASS ME BY-(feature animation 1987/suprevising director) ■Hiatari Roko! (TV 1987-1988/supervising director) ■Hiatari Ryoko! KA・SU・MI Yume no naka ni kimi ga ita(feature animation 1988/supervisor) ■Sweet Spot(OVA 1991/director・screen play) ■Nozomi, The Witches (OVA 1992/director・screen play) ■STREET FIGHTER II, MOVIE(feature animation 1994/director・screen play) ■STREET FIGHTER II V(TV 1995/director・screen play) ■Tobe! Isami (TV 1995/supervising director) ■Lupin The Third Twilight☆Jemy no himitsu(TV 1996/director・screen play) ■Tatchi Miss Lonely Yesterday Arekara kimi wa…(TV 1998/supervising director) ■Super Doll★Lika Chan(TV 1998-1999/director) ■Super Doll★Lika Chan Zettai zetsumei! Doll nights no kiseki(feature animation 1999/director) ■Tezuka’s Ancestor Mr. Ryoan (TV 2000/director 〈3 episodes〉) ■Tatchi CROSS ROAD~Kaze no yukue~(TV 2001/supervising director) ■Hajime no ippo(TV 2001/Second season-opening storyboard) ■Captain Tsubasa(TV 2001-2002/director) ■Lament Of The Lamb(OVA 2003/director・screen play・storyboard) ■SPACE PIRATE CAPTAIN HERLOCK(TV 2003/storyboard) ■Hi no tori (TV 2004/screen play・storyboard) ■Stormy Night(feature animation 2005/director・screen play) ■Tetsuko no tabi (TV 2007/storyboard for the opening) ■Cinnamon, the Movie(feature animation 2007/director) ■Tôfu Kozô (feature animation 2011/supervising director・screen play) ■The Life of Budory Goosko (feature animation 2012年/ director・screen play)

Director: Masato Ishioka

Born in 1960 in Shizuoka Prefecture. Graduated from Meiji University, majoring in Politics and Economics. He started his career under Tadashi Yoyogi whose life and works were introduced in his previous documentary, YOYOCHU in the Land of Rising Sex ('10). He established his own production company in 1996 and directed his first feature film, Scout♀Man ('00), which was invited by Venice Int’l Film Festival and brought him 'New Director’ award from Japanese Director’s Guild in 2001. In 2005, he co-wrote and co-directed with Naoto KUMAZAWA on a feature that portrayed women who lead double lives by day and by night. He currently teaches the film at Kyoto Seika University where he met the director of animation, Gisaburo Sugii.

Animaion Maestro Gisaburo ('12)
YOYOCHU in the Land of The Rising Sex ('10)
Tokyo Noir (’05) co-directed by Naoto Kumazawa
Scout♀Man (’00)


2012/DCP・HDcam/1920 x 1080/92 min/color/5.1 channel UpMix/16:9

World Sales

Gold View Co.,Ltd. kiyo@goldview.co.jp www.goldview.co.jp

Distribution in Japan

Makotoya Co.,Ltd. info@makotoyacoltd.jp www.makotoyacoltd.jp