Seen in Jeonju

If You Were Me: Anime Vision (2005)

9th January 2010

if you were me anime visionOriginally posted February 6, 2008–The If You Were Me series which has been produced by the National Human Rights Commision now consists of four sets of films. The first was produced in 2003 and featured top directors Park Chan-wook, Im Soon-rye and Park Kwang-su. The second set, produced in 2005, included shorts by directors Ryu Seung-wan and Jang Jin among its number and the most recent collection had works by the indie directors No Dong-seok, Hong Ki-seon and the Kim Brothers. However, the animated installment of If You Were Me took a different stance. Only one director is readily recognizable–Lee Seong-kang who made My Beautiful Girl Mari, Texture of Skin and Yobi the Five-Tailed Fox. The stories, as one might suspect, feature much of the same themes that have already been covered in the earlier films. But in the format of animation, the directors are free to have their characters undergo impossible situations as well as making it visually appealing to viewers of all ages. 

The films included in this set Day Dream (Yoo Jin-hee), Animal Farm (Kwon Oh-seong), At Her House (Kim Joon, Park Yoon-kyeong, Lee Jin-seok, Jang Hyeong-yoon, Jeong Yeon-joo), The Flesh and Bone (Lee Ae-rim aka Amy Lee), The Bicycle Trip (Lee Seong-kang) and Be a Human Being (Park Jae-dong).

In my opinion, the best of these both visually and storywise, are Day Dream, The Flesh and Bone and Be a Human Being. Day Dream is about a young girl without fingers or feet sleeping happily next to her father safe from a world that does not want to understand her or accept someone so obviously different into its midst. This is the only story of the six short films that impacted me strongly.  In fact, it is such a powerful story that I would have saved it for last rather than putting it first in order.

The Flesh and Bone is the story that takes up back generations as we look at the ancestry of a woman with ‘bad genes’ and is thus born lacking the looks that society aspires to. This is driven home by her trip to the streets where we see factories turning out women with perfect, but identical, bodies and men engrossed with building their muscles. Be a Human Being takes a unique look at the problem with education systems that try to impose its own form of success.

I would say that the weakest of the collection is At Her House. I am not sure why it took five directors to make it. Least interesting story and art style.

If You Were Me: Anime Vision was released on a Region 3 DVD, but it is not easy to come by.

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