The first thing you notice about Masanobu Hiraoka’s animation is its incredible fluidity. Nothing in his films is constant; everything is in a state of flow, exploding and reconstituting itself into new and unexpected forms. As chaotic as it gets, though, there’s a sense that Hiraoka knows exactly how it works, that he’s fully internalized the physics of his liquid landscapes. It gives his films the same kind of serenity you get from staring at a lava lamp or a kaleidoscope—a gentle sort of psychedelia.

As impressive as his visuals are, though, watching Hiraoka’s follow-up, L’Œil du Cyclone, makes it clear just how essential Aimar Molero’s sound design is to keeping Land grounded. It’s a perfect example of the difference between music videos and animated shorts—even though the visuals are even more polished in L’Œil, as impossible as that seems, the lack of sound effects keeps the video and audio from working together in the same visceral way they do in Land. It’s absolutely worth watching for Hiraoka’s masterful technique, but as a film, it doesn’t quite pack the same punch.



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