Message from Takashi Murakami
Six Heart Princesses is a project I started in order to explore whether I could make an anime work that takes a critical look at the majokko (magical girl or princess) genre. The Japanese fascination with queens and princesses embodies our long-held inferiority complex towards the Western hierarchical class system and its upper-class culture since the Meiji era (1868 - 1912). When I had the chance to do an exhibition at the Palace of Versailles, the ultimate symbol of hierarchy and class where Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette once lived, I thought of including a Japanese anime, which had evolved and developed in a highly unique manner—and so I created a short animation in the princess genre.
6HP is a project in which I am trying to create a 15-episode TV animation series based on this short animation. Initially, I established a CGI studio, Studio PONCOTAN, in Hokkaido centered around the illustrator mebae and started developing a screenplay working with various animation production companies. This, however, didn’t go well. About two years ago, I decided to create the series entirely in-house. Even though this is an animation project, I have had to seek assistance from people I had met through directing my live-action film. Despite working in utter confusion, however, we managed to complete the first episode and air it on broadcast.
So far, we have completed the scripts for all fifteen episodes and the storyboards for the first eleven. That may not seem like anything extraordinary to the viewers, but for me, with no experience in working my way up the ranks of the anime industry, and for the staff at Studio PONCOTAN, this is already as though we have traveled to the outer space and back.
We have animatics—animated storyboards filmed and cut together into the actual length (in this case 24 minutes)—completed for the first eleven episodes, and watching them, the staff and I are starting to think that there is actually something to this animation. Of course, things don’t go as smoothly as they would with experienced professional directors, and we are fumbling through much of the process; no matter how hard we try, our work and production system may continue to appear amateurish. But times and trends are constantly changing and I think it will be okay if I can deliver my animated work as an artistic expression close to my heart as an artist.
Thank you for your continuing support.
Message from mebae
I am mebae, the character designer and animation director for 6HP. Since I became involved as a character designer in 6HP, a short film created for Murakami’s solo exhibition in Versailles in 2010, there have been many ups and downs.
The animation studio PONCOTAN started in 2011 in Sapporo, Hokkaido, where I was born. The name comes from the Ainu (an ethnic group native to Hokkaido) words pon (meaning “small”) and cotan (meaning “village”). My goal is to share my work around the globe, while staying true to who I am and where I am from.
The first (incomplete) episode of 6HP was aired on Tokyo MX (a Japanese TV station) at the end of 2016. Although the outcome was disappointing, we have since been hard at work carrying on with the subsequent episodes.
Kaikai Kiki’s aim in making animation is to leave a mark with an animated TV series created by the world-renowned artist Takashi Murakami and to create contents with a completely different process and sales channels from those in the Japanese animation industry.
A company is like a ship that must endure many difficulties on its voyage. The destination toward which our captain, Takashi Murakami, is leading us with his unique compass and what we might find there are unknown yet intriguing to me. I look forward to discovering what lies ahead with the staff members with whom I have been working hard on the 6HP series.
PONCOTAN is looking for motivated people who are burning with passion to create.