Tribute to Tatsumi, father of gekiga!

Credits: Image by Indie Movies Online (

At the recent 64th Cannes Film Festival in 2011, Singapore's very own auteur Eric Khoo showcased his 95 minute animated tribute film Tatsumi to Japanese legendary mangaka Yoshihiro Tatsumi. Turning 76 this year, Tatsumi is well-respected as the pioneer of 'gekiga' (or manga for adults) in the 1950s. The animation draws heavily from Tatsumi's mega-800 page graphic novel autobiography A Drifting Life and dark short stories Hell, Beloved Monkey, Just A Man, Occupied and Good Bye. Tatsumi himself was heavily involved in the film process: for added authenticity, he even took on the task of teaching the 1950s Osaka dialect to voice actors narrating the film.

Credits: Image by Indie Movies Online (

The focus was on the veteran mangaka after all, so the Singaporean filmmaker was careful to retain Tatsumi’s signature look and style with very little interference except to bring his work alive on the big screen. Speaking to Time Out Singapore, Khoo said, "You see, Tatsumi loves cinema, and when he created this new movement of comics using strips with real characters, rather than the four-panel manga convention, he produced works that are like storyboards for a film. All we need to do is stretch them out to a widescreen format. And give them multi-planes, like layers, so there is more depth and feel."

From the buzz generating in cyberspace, the film has been described as "minimalist" and "charming".

Watch the trailer and teasers here:

Want to find out more about Tatsumi himself? Watch this video interview from Masters of Manga last year:

Related Article