Hayao Miyazaki, director of some of the most fantastic and beautifully executed animated feature films in history, is not known for creating short films.
According to io9, this animated short, which has recently become available on Vimeo, was an exercise to break a creative block Miyazaki experienced while working on Princess Mononoke.
The film was essentially done in the form of a music video for “On Your Mark” by Chage and Aska, but is its own self-contained story, and packs a lot of visual imagination into its seven minutes. Miyazaki ventures into the ‘futuristic anime” genre that he usually doesn’t work with, and puts many dedicated directors of the genre to shame.
You may want to watch it twice to get the gist of the story, and then several more times, just to be dazzled.
The short is available on Vimeo (at least for the moment) under the title “On Your Mark & Castles in the Air (CHAGE & ASKA PV)“.
For more info on the director, see my post on Hayao Miyazaki (Studio Ghibli).