The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello
July 24, 2010
Long time ago, I came across an Australian animated film Mysterious Exploration of Jasper Morello on wabisabi’s past blog (now defunct). It’s an incredible fusion of silhouette animation, steam punk and quasi-Victorian setting, which gives it a uniquely modern and industrial look and feel that I just find fascinating. Silhouette animation is a technique that goes way back to the very beginning of animation history, but the seamless blending of shadowed characters and CG textures make it look less like paper-cut figures moving behind stock background, and more like authentic characters in a world that is constantly moving and breathing. Writing is solid as well, as we are treated to an engaging character study of a man who embraces dark intentions in order to save humanity and his sick wife, all in an ample time of half an hour.
The fact that you can’t often make out facial expressions leaves this sense of ambiguity as to what kind of thoughts or emotions are bubbling underneath that enigmatic shadow, and I loved it. I remember a scene lasting few minutes in Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei that is done in silhouette animation, but other than that I don’t recall much, if any, of this technique being used in anime, even in experimental ones. Few more screenshots below.