Iblard Jikan

January 5, 2009

iblard jikan

Recently, I had a pleasure of watching an unusual Studio Ghibli work titled Iblard Jikan. It’s more or less like watching a collection of Impressionist stills for 30 minutes brought to life(…?) through minimal animation and meditative music. There are no characters or story. Well you could argue that it’s a story of beautiful landscape, houses, their harmony, and the ways in which people inhabit them to make up a world of Iblard. If that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, then at least scroll down to the screenshots at the bottom as they’ll make fine wallpapers. To review works like this, I think, it’s best if I make brief commentaries along with screencaps as visual reference.

Iblard Jikan

You may have observed from below screenshots that they evoke quite a number of “flavours” of Impressionism, Monet being the most notable one. I won’t be comparing it to Monet or other Impressionists because 1) I am no expert 2) there are more eloquently writings on Impressionism on web. I have to say though, I enjoyed watching these scenes much more than looking at some of Monet‘s paintings at the gallery. What I prefered the most from Iblard Jikan was its depiction of the unusual and fictional, this beautiful world of Jikan. It’s of floating planets and islands, tiny houses situated near strange trees and lakes, residentials “plugged” into the side of canyons to resemble a kind of massive, natural metropolis.

Iblard Jikan

Like the above screenshot for example, the mountain is surrounded not by clouds, but very thin layers of water rippling without spilling one drop, almost like a beautifully shaped disks. It’s just very unusual and incredibly beautiful to watch. That’s another thing about this OVA, there’s more than just panning of stills. Grass dance to the wind, surface of water ripples and sparkles, all done in minimum amount of animation. If Monet was free with his forms and colours to create an impression of rippling water, then think of this as reproducing that impression in motion. This beautiful and unreal way in which people are living in harmony with nature is Iblard Jikan‘s essence.

Hop, Step, Jump!

Hop, Step, Jump!

Honestly though, 30 minutes of absolutely nothing happening was bit too much. I normally have no problem enjoying anime without “stories” just fine, like 1001 Nights, Angel’s Egg and Cat Soup. But at least they had something to follow. Another point might be that those titles (including Mari Iyagi), although lacking in over-kill meticulous details of background art, are much better at evoking the sense of being inside that space, rather than merely observing it. This is a shame because Iblard Jikan does have actual characters animated (omg really?) inside these beautiful backgrounds. These are magical moments to say the least and definitely the best part of the OVA, which unfortunately aren’t enough of to be engaging for 30 minutes. So in a sense this is like Oshii‘s Mezame no Hakobune, you really have to be in a right mood to get the most out of it. And even then, I’m not sure if you can restrain yourself from skipping through at least once.

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7 Responses to “Iblard Jikan”


  1. I thought Angel’s Egg was an obtuse, pretentious mess but hey, at least it looked and sounded pretty. I quite like the look of this though, although I suspect it would probably make for a good screensaver rather than a sit-down-and-enjoy type of movie in the conventional sense.

    That said it does look gorgeous. Some of the screenies remind me a bit of Miyazaki’s Laputa movie, or the dream sequence in Whisper of the Heart. The latter was itself based on the work of some Japanese surrealist artist iirc…I wish I could remember what his or her name was though.

  2. gaguri Says:

    Argh, it’s been years since I’ve last watched Whisper of the Heart, I can remember is the amazing Country Road performance. Really need to watch that again sometime.

    And you hurt me, Angel’s Egg is one of my all time favourites (but I can see many would see that way). I’d defend it, but perhaps it’s best left for another post.

  3. Kim Says:

    The screenshots are gorgeous I am not sure I would want to watch a series or a 2 hour movie of nothing happening but I think I can handle 30 minutes just to look at the pretty art. Since you compared it to Monet’s work I guess I can just think of it as looking at painting for 30 minutes, something I actually really enjoy doing.

  4. gaguri Says:

    I don’t know, looking at paintings in the gallery for an hour I can handle fine, but it’s hard to resist not skipping through 30 minutes (…my limit was at, I think, about 10…?) of what is virtually a LONG screensaver. I think it has to do with the difference in medium and I have to say, the way I appreciate each one couldn’t be more different.

    But of course, don’t let that stop you!


  5. […] The director Ikuharu understands well that anime is not a painting (unfortunate case of Iblard Jikan), and creates this extraordinary sense of movement and construction in the opening shot, as our […]


  6. […] Fantasy Railroad is a lot like watching Iblard Jikan in that we are presented with beautifully rendered/coloured pictures, while a pleasantly soothing […]

  7. gollum Says:

    Cluster fuck art always looks pretty. The things to note here might be the choice of colors. The artist loses me at a point because there isn’t much to hold these things together. Nothing tells me the lands are the same place. But what gets me is the depiction of only women. Something that should be considered is that if you have a very captivating background, don’t put a “beautiful maiden” that is very contrasting to the background, even at all I would say. It is like putting a rose in a womans hair while wearing a little black dress. I would much rather see old men with canes and cheap wrinkly clothes in these pics. It makes you think. Adding a pretty maiden to the piece just confirms that nothing too deep was trying to be reached here. Les just be pritty.

    Not to take away from the overall thing,still looks good. One thing I would say is that simplicity does as much as intricacy. When things are viewed from distance they are not so detailed. This adds to the grandiose look. Though i know it is tough with these materials.


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