COCOLORS is an animated film set in a world in which people live underground wearing suits and masks to escape ash that contains toxic bacteria. The film depicts a crisis that descends upon this underground world, with a focus on the communication that grows up between Aki, a young boy who lies constantly, and Fuyu, who only talks with instruments, despite masks that hide their expressions. YOKOSHIMA Toshihisa, who directed this film and wrote the script, utilizes this setting in which masks hide the characters’ faces to reveal their personalities and emotions through body language, hand gestures, and running and jumping. The production studio was Kamikaze Douga, which has won high acclaim in recent years for its 3DCG animation. The flat delineation, which reminds the viewer of woodblock prints, is easily able to express a world view. This film also attempts a challenging experiment in which the film is played only with the sound effects, while live voice actors match their voices to the animation and musicians provide the music in a format called “Voice Actor vs Silent Movie.” This is a new viewing experience that emphasizes the experience that can only be had in the theater.
The main characters’ faces cannot be seen in this film. This is the heart of the film. The story about people who must always wear masks shaped like diving helmets just to survive is played out in a narrow underground world. The viewer watches the main characters without ever seeing their expressions. In this impressive film, these masks skillfully mimic the sense of stagnation that envelops the story, and succeed in exciting the viewer’s imagination. The masks symbolized this closed-off feeling, and taking off the masks symbolizes a release from this feeling. But at the same time, it also means the end of life. When the main character takes off his mask and sees the grey sky, he says, “You can make the sky any color you want.” “The color of the sky is here (in your heart).” This story is not just one of desperation, but ends with hope. The film depicts the sense of stagnation that symbolizes our times, but also serves as a multi-layered illustration of the yearning the young boys feels for the world above ground, where color is superimposed on a monotone world. The representational methods and themes are skillfully integrated. The visual representation, including the computer graphics that convey a sense of the weight of people, is excellent. (NISHIKUBO Mizuho)