Mar 08, 2023
HIDARI (Pilot Film) The Stop-motion Samurai Film
Stop-Motion Samurai Film Originally Conceived, Written and Directed by Masashi Kawamura

We produced the pilot film for “HIDARI,” the directorial debut of our CCO Masashi Kawamura, who also wrote the original script, together with Dwarf Studios and TECARAT, the world’s top stop-motion animation teams.

“HIDARI” is a “stop-motion samurai film” that tells the story of a legendary craftsman from the Edo era who left behind numerous works and anecdotes. Although his existence remains uncertain, we have boldly reimagined his story, weaving historical records from the Edo era into our tale. All of the characters are hand-carved from wood and brought to life through frame-by-frame animation techniques, just as Hidari’s wooden sculptures were said to come alive through his genius craftsmanship in the anecdotes. Experience a thrilling blend of dynamic action inspired by Japanimation and the rich, analog world view of stop-motion animation that you’ve never seen before.

We intend to use this pilot film as a starting point to create a full-length feature film. If you enjoyed watching this footage and would like to see more of the story, we kindly ask for your support!

The Plot (full-feature version)
“HIDARI” tells the story of Hidari Jingoro, a genius carpenter and sculptor who is said to have lived during the Edo era. The film weaves together various anecdotes and historical facts surrounding his life.

As a young and talented carpenter, Jingoro becomes involved in the massive project of rebuilding Edo Castle with his colleagues and masters. However, just as the project nears completion, Jingoro and his peers are framed and trapped to keep the secret of Edo Castle. All of his colleagues are killed, and Jingoro himself loses the dominant right arm. In despair, Jingoro’s only wish is revenge. He reconstructs his lost right arm into a powerful mechanical prosthetic hand and sets out on a vengeful journey with a companion cat, who later becomes the model for his famous work “Sleeping Cat.” People came to call him “Hidari” (left) Jingoro before long.

As Jingoro seeks revenge and takes down his enemies one by one, he eventually discovers a massive conspiracy within the shogunate. He returns to Edo Castle, the site of his fateful encounter, to confront the mastermind behind the plot. However, Edo Castle has been transformed into an impenetrable fortress armed with the latest weaponry. Will Jingoro be able to take down the mastermind and his army of mechanical weapons in the ultimate showdown?

Shinjuku Balt 9 & T-Joy Umeda (Tokyo, April 21, 2023 – May 4, 2023)

Film Festival
Tokushima New Normal Film Festival 2023 (Tokushima, 2023/3/1)
Niigata International Animation Film Festival (Niigata, 2023/3/18)
SSFF & ASIA 2023 Animation Program 3 (Tokyo, June 24, 2023)
Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival International Animation Competition Section (Hokkaido, July 1, 2023)
New York Asian Film Festival Narrative Shorts Showcase – Animation (New York, July 21, 2023)
19th Seoul Indie-AniFest 2023(Seoul, September 14, 2023)

Winter 2023 International Independent Film Awards, Platinum and Gold Award
Asia South East-Short Film Festival 2023, Gold Award
Desertscape International Film Festival 2023 Creative Spirit Award
New Zealand Vision Fest Film Festival 2023 Best Animation
Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival, Best Artistic Award
8th Edition Ciudad De Mexico International Film Festival Best Animation Short Film
PSIAF 2023-Palm Springs Animation Festival Best Stop-motion
22nd New York Asian Film Festival Special Mention
Fotofilm 4th Internatıonal Short Film Festival International Best Stop Motion

You can now find HIDARI official merchandise at the Whatever Shop. We’d love for you to take a look!

Original Plot & Screenplay by
Iku Ogawa (dwarf)
Noriko Matsumoto (dwarf)
Masaaki Oikawa (TECARAT)
Masami Ouchi (TECARAT)
Key Animator / Action Director
Kimimasa Inazumi
Shigeru Okada
Character Design
Iku Ogawa (dwarf)
Sculptor / 3D Character Design
Takeshi Yashiro (TECARAT)
Voice Actors: Jingoro Hidari
Kazuma Mori
Voice Actors: Inumaru
Kenichi Ogata
Puppet Manager
Shuhei Harada (dwarf)
Puppet Production / Armature / Props
Keita Ueno (TECARAT)
Puppet Production / Wardrobe
Nozomi Sakimura (TECARAT)
Puppet Production / Wardrobe
Midoriko Nemoto (TECARAT)
Puppet Production Assistant
Choi Sae Won (dwarf)
Puppet Production Assistant
Honami Konishi (dwarf)
Puppet Production Assistant
Hiroto Murayama (dwarf)
Puppet Production Support
Ikeda Akua (dwarf)
Puppet Production Support
Yagi Tsumugi (dwarf)
Puppet Production Support
Monami Yabe (dwarf)
Original Wardrobe Design (Henchmen)
Maquette 3D Scanner
Masataka Kanematsu (K's DESIGN LAB)
Maquette 3D Printer
Satoru Yoshida
Concept Art
Takeshi Yashiro (TECARAT)
Set Design / Set Production / Props Production
Yoshihiro Nose (TECARAT)
Set Production / Props Production
Izumi Nakane (TECARAT)
Puppet / Set Design: Production Management
Yoshimi Kakurai (TECARAT)
Special Effects
Isao Takeuchi (Bugsonic Design)
Supporting Animator
Shota Ogawa
Animator Assistant + Props for Animation Effect
Gen Kobayashi
Animator Assistant + Junior Animator
Asuka Kato
Animator Assistant + Junior Animator
Misaki Yamanaka
Animator Assistant + Junior Animator
Rikuto Konagaya (Qualia)
DOP + Motion Controller
Kan Sugiki (dwarf)
Lighting Director
Yuichi Kato
Camera Assistant
Hidehiko Kato (dwarf)
Lighting Assistant
Hiroto Suzuki
Sawdust Manipulation Advisor
Ayumi Ishikawa
Sawdust Manipulation Assistant
Yusuke Miyazaki
Studio Assistant
Yoshino Kosaka (dwarf)
Studio Assistant
Mayu Tanada (dwarf)
Makoto Hoashi
Kazunari Kodaira
Sound Effects
Sakura Katsumata (FOOTPRINTS)
Nijiho Hara (FOOTPRINTS)
Foley Operator
Kozue Matsuzawa (FOOTPRINTS)
Foley Operator
Akari Tatsumi (TAIYO KIKAKU)
Mixer Assistant
Nanami Kubo (TAIYO KIKAKU)
Zero / 是路 SPIN MASTER A-1
Japache feat. Taichi Hikida(from RASHINBAN) SPIN MASTER A-1
Low High / 狼徘 (from 246911) Shing02 & SPIN MASTER A-1
Production Manager
Ayame Uchida (dwarf)
Production Assistant
Emi Satomura (dwarf)
Production Support
Takana Goda (dwarf)
Production Support
Daisuke Horikawa (dwarf)
Production Support
Junko Negishi (dwarf)
Production Support
Haruhiko Shinkai
Misuzu Kamiya
Takayo Imahashi
Art Director / Logo Design
Avant-title Calligrapher
Nagashima Kyouka
Behind the Scenes
Satoshi Oda
Ayano Kinashi (dwarf)
Kanako Nishiyama (dwarf)
Yoshimi Kakurai (TECARAT)
Website Production
Eri Matsutake (DRIVESHAFT)
Website Production
Project Manager
Noriko Matsumoto (dwarf)
Project Manager
Project Manager
Project Manager
Masaaki Oikawa (TECARAT)