Wakabayashi Moe is a creator with a unique worldview that puts together mysterious stories full of characters with slightly eerie designs. The young female artist aims to create works only possible through animation.
This time, we're introducing you to Wakabayashi Moe.
Doesn't matter what I do.
Because I'll always end up unhappy.
He knew of his impending slaughter
so he didn't fight the fall, even as he fell into the mouth of a fish
and through the roller coaster innards.
Wakabayashi Moe crafts mysterious stories full of strange and interesting characters.
Let's learn the secrets behind her artistry and unique worldview.
The young creator currently works as a freelance animation artist while continuing to put out unique original works.
Animation takes imaginary characters
and brings them to life.
"Portraying imaginary creatures
makes animation special."
Wakabayashi loved to draw from a young age.
There was a period I drew monsters
and another time I was into yōkai.
I didn't draw many humans.
I loved creatures.
After moving on to an arts university, her aim stayed true.
Wakabayashi's curiosity for the mysterious only grew as she created quirky creatures.
My creations aren't ‘cute.'
I don't believe that's my style.
Having one or two imperfections
is what makes something relatable.
And you get an idea
of what the character's thinking.
In her fourth year of university, Wakabayashi created an original work with a peculiar character.
The idea came from a job that used to exist a century ago.
In the past, the job of a knocker-upper
was to wake people up.
Throwing beans at a window
is a fun way to wake people up.
For the main character of the piece, Wakabayashi went with a rooster named Toby.
The story takes place in a city that stays bright all day and night.
When the morning comes, it's Toby's job to wake up the city.
Wakabayashi also came up with the idea of making Toby a workaholic.
Although he wakes people up,
he has trouble sleeping.
She portrayed Toby's exhaustion by drawing bags under his eyes.
I thought those details could evoke
what his daily life is like.
After all, the character isn't perfect.
through imperfect characters."
Toby the rooster
has had insomnia for years now.
Bags under his eyes. Feathers falling out.
This was normal for Toby.
His morning call is weak and uninspiring.
Why is Toby like this?
It shines all day and night.
Close your eyes and it's still bright.
The light also made the stars disappear.
That's why people in the city can't tell
the difference between 9 AM and 9 PM.
Toby's job is a knocker-upper.
In the morning, he wakes people up.
Toby throws beans at Room 203, plays trumpet for Room 302,
and gives Room 306 a wake-up shower.
Toby tickles Room 401, bangs pans in Room 402,
and sings a song for Room 505.
This is how the city's people
learn of the morning.
In 2019, Wakabayashi was approached to make a music video.
The song is based on a legendary creature called Baku.
In the lyrics, Baku lives in solitude, collecting children's dreams.
The sadness of the lyrics are important.
I expressed that with Baku's
Wakabayashi put a lot of effort into bringing the creature to life.
Like its uniquely shaped black eyes.
I thought about his expression
looking out at the black void.
It can be seen as sad or happy.
I designed the character
to have both emotional extremes.
The story takes place in a mysterious dream.
Wakabayashi gave the background a unique sense of depth.
I aimed to portray the atmosphere
and three-dimensionality of Baku's world.
"Build an imaginary world
She also added a young boy not found in the lyrics to accentuate Baku's feelings of loneliness.
In the boy's dream, he wanders into a tower with Baku.
I depicted Baku as an imaginary friend.
A place only children can go
and a creature only children can see.
I tried to focus on the brief encounter
between Baku and the boy.
And make that the story for the video.
Long, long ago "I wish only dreams of happiness for you."
The wish you gave
Under the shadow of a folded wing Such a monster's tale
I stroke the bottle of broken dreams
And someone's face appears Throw it out here and be gone
Burn it so it never leaves
Knotted up tightly If despair came from these hands
I'll shut my eyes for now
Light up a frozen dream Such a monster's tale
Wakabayashi has long maintained a particular habit.
Filling up notebooks with creativity hints.
I try not to forget
things I see in the city.
Same with ideas and questions.
Here's one of her notes.
The idea came from the fish-shaped soy sauce container found in bento boxes.
I imagined how tough life would be
if the fish didn't like soy sauce.
It's forced to drink something it hates
and spit it out over and over.
Wakabayashi's latest work also came from a question in her notebook.
It's from the Chinese saying, "A frog in the well knows nothing of the sea."
Since the pronunciation is similar,
I would imagine the well as a stomach.
I always wondered what life was like
for the frog inside the stomach.
The Japanese words for well and stomach are similarly pronounced, which led Wakabayashi to set the story inside the stomach of a fish.
The main character is a young tadpole.
His father is a pig named Hogert.
And his mother is a fish named Fishelina.
The story follows the three-member family.
Wakabayashi says designing Fishelina was the most challenging part.
The head is the only place
Fishelina's personality shows.
I was thinking of combining it
with a mannequin.
But then it'll be strange
when she starts moving her arms.
Wakabayashi ditched the mannequin idea and made a new design with the body of a fish.
The fish fins move like arms.
The setting of the piece
may feel very strange and outlandish.
The critic in me is always searching
for rough edges.
Showing me what might be
a little too strange.
"Create works that make viewers feel satisfied."
As we sat at the dinner table,
a strange thing came floating by.
Let's eat it together.
It's not about taste.
We don't even know what it is.
Why, I can't believe you ate it all.
It was good, wasn't it?
I wish you'd left some for me.
No, no. You need to grow.
I'm very pleased...
This is my fault.
My dad is like a different person.
He used to be so round and jolly.
But now, the plant looks livelier than him.
Is there anything you'd like to eat?
Are you still thinking of that?
No, I just wanted you and the boy
to know what I like.
So don't cry.
What would you say to him, Hogert?
I can go over there?
Hogert and I, we have come a long way.
Your home on 3 Intestine Road, Fish Island,
will always be afloat here.
I want to make another animated film.
It would be great to make
a feature-length movie.
I want to keep using questions
from daily life.
"Continue creating work
born from everyday questions."