The Echo Of Astro Boy's Footsteps (2010, documentary)

Part of the NO SEASON

Director: Masanori Tominaga
Certificate: Unknown
Format: Unknown
Language: Japanese w. English subtitles
Country: Japan

Riveting, unpredictable and moving documentary about the mysterious double life of the pioneering Astro Boy sound designer Matsuo Ohno.

Astro Boy: Japan's 1st animated TV series

In 1963, Japan's first ever animated TV series began broadcasting, Osamu Tezuka's Astro Boy. The series has entered the realms of legend, with its main character a cultural icon across much of the world. But outside of the adventures of its little boy robot star, the series is also remembered for its futuristic sound effects, the creation of the pioneering sound designer Matsuo Ohno.

Futuristic Sound Effects by Matsuo Ohno

"Once you grasp a sound, it becomes part of this world. I'm not interested in sounds that already exist," this trailblazer of electrical experimental music is quoted as saying, and indeed, Ohno can be attributed as creating whole new sonic worlds. His aural alchemy found itself deployed in the works of such ground-breaking filmmakers as Hiroshi Teshigahara and Toshio Matsumoto, and the spatial sound systems for the pavilions at the Expo '85 in Tsukuba.

Matsuo Ohno's career told by Experimental Musicians

And then, in the 1980s, Ohno suddenly disappeared from the public eye. This riveting documentary follows his career through the eyes of those who worked with him and the experimental musicians whom he inspired, through a combination of hypnotic sounds and extraordinary images as those left by the Astro Boy’s footsteps leads us to a revelation that is as moving as it is unexpected.

With narration provided by the world-renowned Pizzicato Five vocalist Maki Nomiya, and the film's own sound design by the electronic musician Pardon Kimura, Mochinaga's film features rare scenes and sounds from animated films such as Lupin the 3rd, Space Battleship Yamato and Mobile Suit Gundam.

Programmed in partnership with Zipangu Fest