Lines and Colors art blog

I wanted to recommend this site to you because of its terrible navigation system (he said, grinning).

If you actually want to find something, like a simple “About Us” or “Press” page, the navigation on tokyoplastic is abysmal. If, on the other hand, you want to be amused and delighted by series of clever and superbly executed animations, that selfsame navigation is a treat.

On the “this is no way to navigate a web site” downside, you have to hunt around to find the site entrance (a graphic of some Japanese characters below a tiny gray “enter tokyoplastic”, on a home page with too many things on it), which opens the site proper in a popup. Within that you have to guess about enigmatic navigation choices (“Do I click on something? Are there words here somewhere?”) and work your way through an animation series just to get to the actual navigation choices. Then you have to guess again where to rollover and click on the main navigation image (a big tentacled plant/animal/monster thingie) and guess yet again about enigmatic section names like “workshop”, “factory” and “drummachine”, which are meaningless until you’ve actually gone to those sections at least once to see what the term means. Once you select one of those you have to wait through another animated sequence, which will often pause mid-sequence and require user input to continue, before actually reaching a site section, which is again likely to be enigmatic in content. There’s no way to navigate through this site without having looked around already.

But, of course, looking around is what the tokyoplastic site is all about. tokyoplastic is the site of a UK animation studio that does stylized, cartoonlike, elegant and superfluid CGI/Flash animation. (You can find out more on the Picasso Pictures site.) If you’re wandering around the tokyoplastic site, checking things out instead of actually trying to find something, they will tickle you brain and optic nerve with wonderfully silly, imaginative and amusing animated sequences. You may want to turn off iTunes long enough to listen to their excellent use of sound (particularly drum sounds), beautifully integrated with the animated sequences.

In the “workshop” section (upper left “flytrap” on the plant/animal/monster thingie), you’ll find some examples of their work for clients like MTV and Mitsubishi. The “drummachine” section features that wonderful use of sounds, and you’ll be rewarded with other fun items as you explore. Back on the home page (under the pop-up, remember?), the image of the er,.. dog thingie, is linked to a recently added animation that pops up in a separate window. There is also a newsbox on the home page in a small scrolling inline frame.

Oh, yes, the About Us and Press sections do exist, they’re accessed by clicking on the flower labeled “bits and pieces” (lower right tentacle of the plant/animal/monster thingie), which also gives you access to a bunch of other sections including the whole of their previous web site with lots of other animations.