Paper cut-outs don’t easily lend themselves to free-flowing animation. Even for some of the most masterful modern animators, movies made of cut-outs are usually more about interesting compositions and rigid movements than than the constant bubbling and transforming that characterizes a lot of hand-drawn animation. Which makes Hoji Tsuchiya’s Spring Time Old Man even more impressive than it looks at first glance—for a film that’s entirely made by pasting and peeling layers of collage materials onto a single sheet of paper, it’s incredibly fluid.
That suits Uri Nakayama’s song just fine. The music and visuals both sparkle with energy, mixing childlike glee (the bright primary colours, the simple singsong melody) with sophisticated craftsmanship. The pace never lets up, with new scenes sprouting from previous ones, briefly blooming and then receding as quickly as they came, only to be replaced with something equally joyful. Whether you’re admiring it for Tsuchiya’s skill or just riding the effervescent energy, it’s a remarkable piece of work.