What it’s about: Set in Japan on the eve of Westernisation, the story follows a young man seeking to make his fortune from the opportunities offered by the newly arriving technology – specifically, selling oil lamps to rural communities. But technology never stops marching, and it isn’t long before his own way of life becomes outdated.
Why you should watch it: For some reason, Japanese animators tend to focus on either the country’s Feudal Era or on the modern day without ever looking at the transition between them. Ojii-san no Lamp is a short story covering this gap, and it’s well-told. The central character is easy to empathise with and his story is especially relevant today, when it’s all too easy to fall behind the times despite your best efforts to keep up.This was one of the finalists in the annual government-sponsored “Future Animator Training Program”, so it received a solid backing from the studio in terms of art and resources.
Themes: Changes – embracing or denying them. The march of time.
Caveats: It’s only half an hour long, so while it’s a good story, give it a miss if you’re looking for something more “epic” in scale.