Ambition for Color Animation
Some time later, Ofuji not only worked on Chiyogami Eiga, but also on cel animation works, creating lovely characters like Dangobei and Heibei the Pooch. Although colorful chiyogami was being used, Japanese films in the prewar period remained black-and-white as the color technology was not yet advanced enough. Ofuji was dissatisfied with the situation and committed himself to the study of color films. Although Princess Katsura (カツラ姫, 1937), created using a Kodachrome film was a trial piece, Ofuji was amazed by the beautiful colors, and it became one of his works that paved the way to his later filmmaking.
“Chiyogami, with its gorgeous colors, is woodblock-printed paper unique to Japan, but those colors could not be presented as there was no color film stock then. I was not interested in "monochrome" Chiyogami Eiga, and eventually stopped creating Chiyogami Eiga to research a color film system.”
Noburo Ofuji, A Half Century of Silhouette Film (影繪映画半生紀)
A separate volume of Shukan Asahi (週刊朝日), October 1956 issue
Era of War – An approach to silhouette art
Ofuji had shown interest in overseas silhouette animation from his early years such as The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926), a masterpiece by Lotte Reiniger. But it was only when WW2 was about to break out that he started to commit to it. Just about that time, Kazugoro Arai and other distinguished silhouette animation artists began to appear in Japan.
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