Those who are not conversant in works of art are often surprised at the high value set by connoisseurs on drawings which appear careless, and in every respect unfinished; but they are truly valuable... they give the idea of a whole.
- Sir Joshua Reynolds
We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are.
- Anais Nin


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Tsukahara Shigeyoshi

Posted by Charley Parker at 8:07 am

Tsukahara Shigeyoshi I hope I have the name right. I’m taking it from the copyright line. The site is

I’m a little sketchy about the details here, mainly because they’re in Japanese, and the Google translate feature, remarkable as it is, doesn’t work so well in translating from Japanese to English. (The results can be comical, in fact. Try translating a well-known phrase into Japanese with Google Translate and then translate it back. Send the phrase to your friends and see if they can guess the original. Hours of fun!)

Anyway, the high point of this site is a number of nicely done and imaginative Flash animations that are part of a series entitled “Steel Fantasia”. More vignettes than parts of a coherent narrative, they are nonetheless presented in order and take place in the same setting. They are delightfully done, with simple but clever animation, artful use of multi-plane backgrounds, imaginative painted settings and nicely designed sequences.

The animations are set in an alternate time or reality, in an industrialized society at about a World War I level of technology, amid tanks with mechanical, steam-powered legs, airships, ornithopters and towering city structures. There is apparently an ongoing military conflict, against the backdrop of which small dramas play out. The overall tone is actually whimsical and the animations are charming and thought provoking.

The movies are essentially wordless, the music is excellent and the sound effects are well done, so language is no barrier to enjoyment. The supplementary comments on the pages are lost, however, in the inability of Google to return much that is intelligible. Instead of the somewhat-readable translations Google returns from related European languages, Google’s attempt to translate Japanese gives us phrases like: “…industry it sends with self-confidence cow moth!” that are amusing but not particularly informative.

The animations are linked by graphics from this page, apparently in order from the bottom up. The movies can take a while to load before playing. You might want to start with the second from the bottom (image of the toy soldier’s head) to get a better flavor for the whimsical feeling of the better sequences.

Link via Cold Hard Flash, original link via Gil Crows website.


4 comments for Tsukahara Shigeyoshi »

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  1. Pingback by The Dancing Librarian » Friday Art Links
    Friday, April 7, 2006 @ 3:40 pm

    [...] So as not to copy out their entire archives (bear in mind I’m catching up and in the future I’ll ‘appear’ more selective), I also really like: Craig Mullins (pirates!), Gilles Tréhin (autistic savant), and Tsukahara Shigeyoshi (more animation). [...]

  2. Comment by Sheila Scarborough
    Friday, April 28, 2006 @ 3:51 pm

    Hi, I really like this site, which I found while wandering around on BlogBurst. You’ve obviously put a ton of work into it.

    For manga/anime enthusiasts who may travel to Japan, I have a blurb on my blog about manga/anime museums that you can visit.

    This is the URL:

    Thanks for your work, Sheila

  3. Comment by RP
    Sunday, June 17, 2007 @ 5:50 am

    “I hope I have the name right. I’m taking it from the copyright line.”

    The profile page ( shows katakana furigana for the name 塚原重義, confirming that it is to be read ツカハラシゲヨシ, “Tsukahara Shigeyoshi”. So no worries on that account.

    - RP

  4. Comment by Charley Parker
    Sunday, June 17, 2007 @ 8:03 am

    Thanks, RP.

    Other readers should check out RP’s blogs, Completely Subjective, and Random Platitudes.

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