Nerima Ward accepting short animated works

Translated by The Asahi Shimbun from the website of Anime Anime Japan Ltd.

Tokyo’s Nerima Ward, a major hub for anime studios in Japan, is now accepting short anime scripts for the Nerima anime creators award contest, officials said.

Established in 2007, the contest aims to discover up-and-coming anime creators and cultivate their talents, in addition to encouraging the development of the local anime industry, the officials said.

This year, original screenplays for short anime clips up to five minutes in running time are being accepted for the competition.

The grand prize winning work will be adapted into an animated short by a well-known director. The completed work will also be submitted for the Annecy International Animated Film Festival, the world’s largest film festival dedicated to animated works held in France.

The theme of the competition is “time.” To apply, a story must be within 2,500 characters in Japanese.

Participation is open to all regardless of age, gender, nationality or whether one is professional or non-professional.

Works that were previously published or submitted to other contests but did not win awards can also be accepted.

Submissions must be postmarked by Sept. 30, 2011.

Professional anime creators and others appointed by the Nerima Animation Association will review the submissions to decide the prize winners. Last year, “Mazinger Z” director Tomoharu Katsumata and Seiji Arihara served as judges.

The grand prize and second prize winners, as well as two third prize winners, will be announced and honored at a award-giving ceremony. It will take place on Nov. 19, 2011, as part of the Nerima Anime Carnival at Toshimaen amusement park in the ward.   

More details of the contest are available at Nerima Animation Site (http://www.animation-nerima.jp/). Promotional video clips of “Shota no Natsu” (Shota’s summer) and “Afterimage of Light,” which won the first and second grand prizes respectively, can be viewed at the website.

Translated by The Asahi Shimbun from the website of Anime Anime Japan Ltd.

Ami Onuki and Yumi Yoshimura, who make up the girl pop duo Puffy, or Puffy AmiYumi, will guest star on the popular “Usagi Drop” (Bunny Drop) animated TV series, the anime and Puffy’s official websites announced.

They will make an appearance in the form of anime characters in the ninth episode, which will air on Sept. 1, the websites said.

“Usagi Drop” is a popular anime show airing on Fuji Television Network Inc.’s “noitaminA” animation block and elsewhere. It revolves around a 30-year-old single man named Daikichi who becomes the guardian of Rin, his grandfather’s illegitimate 6-year-old daughter.

In the show, they will play instructors at the nursery school that Rin, and her friend Koki attend, they said.

After they recorded their lines, Ami and Yumi shared their excitement for their collaboration with the anime.

“I think our personality traits and vibes are expressed very well. You can see which one is Ami or Yumi when you look at the picture,” Yumi said. “I’m very nervous what you will think when our pictures are given life on the air.”

“But actually, that character is not speaking in a voice I imagined she would speak,” Ami said, laughing, of her character in the show. “I wanted her to speak in a prettier voice. …”

Ami also said she was overwhelmed to see how devoted the production staff members were. She even said she thought she should have enrolled in a voice acting class.

A big fan of “Usagi Drop,” Yumi said they were under pressure not to destroy the anime’s world.

Puffy is also popular outside Japan and has performed theme songs for many animated series. For “Usagi Drop,” they sing the main theme song titled “Sweet Drops.”

The song is also used as the theme song for the live-action adaptation of the anime, which is based on the manga of the same title by Yumi Unita. The movie will hit cinemas across the country on Aug. 20.

“I love the original manga, and the anime is such a good piece of work, and we sing the song as we conjure up their images in our minds,” Yumi said. “I’d be happy if you would think everything about it is great.”

“I think it will reach the hearts of girls our age, and we’d like men to see how Daikichi lives his life,” Ami said. “This is a kind of work that is not only fun but also a little thought-provoking.”

Visit the anime’s website at (http://www.usagi-drop.tv).

Copyright The Asahi Shimbun Company.