Filmmaker Toshiko Hata Explains Why She’s Obsessed With Stop Motion Animation


Japanese filmmaker Toshiko Hata is the winner of Viddsee Shortee for the month of July.

Unlike your conventional filmmaker, Toshiko has always had an inclination towards stop motion animation. The unusual combination of stop motion animation and gore and blood led to her film, Rootless Heart, being the most popular film on Viddsee in July.

Born in Fukuoka in 1985, Toshiko completed her film studies at the prestigious Tokyo University of the Arts – which equipped her with skills and finesse to pursue stop motion animation. Her films cater to a wide range of audience, from kids to horror-loving fans.

toshiko hata rootless heart

We recently had a quick chat with Toshiko to learn more about her winning film and her inclination towards stop motion animation.

Hi Toshiko! Congratulations on winning Viddsee Shortee for the month of July. How do you feel about it?

I’m really delighted to hear that. Rootless Heart is my graduation work at school. I made it in 2011. I am very grateful that my film is being watched so many people – even to this day!

Why are you inclined towards stop motion as opposed to other mediums? What about it do you like?

I used to study live action. While I was studying, I had the urge to design characters and the whole stage like a miniature-garden. When I thought about that, I arrived at stop motion.

Stop motion makes it possible to create realistic space production because the lighting and shooting method is similar to live actions. That is a very appealing factor to me.

stop motion animation by toshiko hata

Is it tough to illustrate violence, gore, and blood via stop motion? What are some of the challenges, if any?

I think puppet animation goes well with gore and blood – mostly because the motif of dolls itself is creepy. Think Anabelle and the like.

It is possible to express blood realistically using puppet animation. It can also portray deformation really well. So I don’t actually think it is tough to illustrate them – especially since stop motion gives me the desired outcome. I also think that graphic depiction of violence goes well with the deformation that is involved in a 2D animation.

Generally, how has the response been for Rootless Heart?

I often obtain feedback that it is really scary. It is a good reaction for me because that was the point – I was hoping to depict classic horror in Rootless Heart.

Rootless Heart did not have any dialogue. How do you get the story across without any lines?

I tried to tell all of the story using action. Also, instead of dialogues, sound effects and music are telling the story.

pacalien stop motion animation

What are some of the projects you’re currently working on? What’s next for you?

I made an original animation “PACALIEN” in 2017, so now I want to turn it into an animation series. It’s a stop-motion of comedy with a bit of horror. It is the story about an alien from outer space with an appearance resembling an alpaca! Please watch it and share it around if you like 🙂

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