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Shiseido’s Beautifully Ghoulish Romance from Japan Takes a Twist

17/10/2018
Publication
London, UK
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Lush production design and intricate animation make Show Yanagisawa’s new spot a Halloween delight, writes LBB’s Laura Swinton
Director Show Yanagisawa is back with another gorgeous film for cosmetics brand Shiseido – this time a romantic tale that takes place on a ghoulish – but very stylish - party bus. 

The film showcases Shiseido cosmetics via the unusual medium of animation. As the main character is torn apart from her crush by an unsympathetic boyfriend, time stops and the girl’s makeup comes to life, dancing across her face. As the story unfolds, the protagonist finds herself drawn to a mysterious zombie samurai and compelled to escape her domineering boyfriend. The short ends with a sweet twist.

As with all of Show’s work, the level of craft and in-camera wizardry is eye-popping.  The stunning animated makeup was created using a clever blend of CG, mapped onto the actor’s face, and time-lapse photography, which gives the segment a stop motion feel. The creative director was Shiseido’s Masoto Kosakawa and the film was produced by Tower Film – with companies Digital Eggs and My working on post production.

The film is not the first that Show has created for Shiseido. 2015’s High School Girl? was an awards circuit hit. He is also the director behind the reality-warping PS4 ad Gravity Cat, an ambitious spot that used a huge, spinning set to play with gravity in-camera.

However, the spot has not been without controversy – with some in the local Japanese industry highlighting the racial politics of the casting. According to some Westerners living in Japan, the casting of a black actor as the controlling boyfriend is problematic in a country where xenophobic attitudes are prevalent. 

Show Yanagisawa is represented by Blink in the UK and Prettybird in the US - LBB caught up with him last year for an in-depth chat.

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