Animation Pick: Tatsumi
By David Filipi
Eric Khoo’s animated adaptation of Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s autobiographical graphic novel A Drifting Life is an engaging tribute to the pioneering manga artist credited with creating gekiga (dramatic pictures), a genre that introduced darker and more ironic content to the field in 1957. The greatly abridged autobiographical content (the book is more than 800 pages long) is enhanced by Khoo’s inspired interweaving of animated versions of Tatsumi’s very adult short manga stories. It goes without saying that the visual style of the animation is evocative of Tatsumi’s style on the page. Tatsumi brings to mind the Harvey Pekar hybrid autobiographical film American Splendor. Both depict comic artists and their work, and both feature a mediated version of the subject (Paul Giamatti’s Pekar, the animated Tatsumi), as well as the subject himself (Pekar in the flesh, Tatsumi in voiceover).