Who is Tochka

19 Mar 2008 Posted by Jonathan Wells in Who is...

Tochka jumping

  • Name: Tochka
  • Created on: 1998-Aug, Kyoto, Japan. Takeshi: 1978-Feb-02 / Kazue: 1978-Aug-24
  • Record last updated on: 2008-Mar-17
  • Homepage: www.tochka.jp
  • Domain: Animation, Graphics, Comics
  • Location: Kyoto, Japan

 

Osaka-based duo Tochka is pretty much responsible for the worldwide interest in flashlight animation aka Lightning Doodle Project aka the inspiration for the latest Sprint commercials. Nagata Takeshi and Monno Kazue met while both were students at Kyoto University of Art and Design and have been making animated films, graphics and comics since 1998. In the Summer of 2006, our friends kozyndan invited us to meet them in Venice beach to participate in making an animated flashlight movie with their friends from Japan. That is when we first met Tochka and were introduced to their Pika Pika project. We caught up with them after the completion of their latest film, PiKAPiKA THE MOVIE ~GO! GO! PiKAPiKA!!~

Tochka name

What does Tochka mean?

Tochka means point in Russian and it means gun post/pillbox in Japanese. However only people who know about World War 2 or war buffs know about this term. We wanted our name to have an avant-garde and underground feeling, and the combination of the two words, Tokyo and Chika (means underground in Japanese). Actually we couldn’t decide why we named ourselves Tochka for a long time, so we asked Miwa Yanagi and she had an answer. But the reason is a secret.

How did the two of you meet and why did you decide to form Tochka together?

Kazue was studying painting, and Takeshi was studying experimental film at Kyoto University of Art and Design. We met in a film club, and we kind of started making films together. That’s how we started Tochka.

You are best known for your Pika Pika project, yet people may not know that Tochka has made award-winning animation, art and illustrations for years. What is the connecting thread through the various types of work you create?

We experimented a lot with low budgets, thus we made work with very different styles. Our studio space was very limited because we worked in our small apartment, we couldn’t make crazy sets and this made us think a lot. For example, we made a miniature set on a chair, we made a studio with green screen in our bedroom, we experimented as much as we wanted. There is not that much connection between the work we have created because we just started creating whatever we wanted. But our focus throughout our work is the mysterious world of stop motion animation.

Please tell us about some of your other creations like Box Boy?

We made Boxboy because we wanted to push the possibility of CG. We had 30 high school and college students to work on this project, and it only took us one week to complete.

On your web site it lists the Projects: “CARxSEX=LIFE”, “Paradise Gate” and “Nadir Girl” There are no descriptions or photos, though, can you tell us more about what these projects are?

CARxSEX=LIFE is about a car who is really into money and is controlled by money and he wants to have car sex. Paradise Gate is about a penis-shaped penguin traveling to a vagina. Nadir Girl is a bloody horror love comedy about social class. We pitched these project ideas to film producers for short animation films. All the ideas are pretty hentai (sexually perverse), so none of them got picked. When we have more time and money, we want to make them happen. We put the titles on the website, so we wouldn’t forget about them.

You have popularized flashlight animation around the world with your Pika Pika Project. Can you tell us what Pika Pika means and why you started it?

Pika Pika is our tool to spread this exercise and communication. We started this project to go over the language barrier and to make friends with artists, designers, and photographers all over the world.

Pika Pika LA Photo by Sean Marc Lee Pika Pika in Los Angeles - participants included kozyndan, Souther Salazar, Saelee Oh, Lana Kim, John Pham, Frosty and more - July 2006

I love the community aspect that Pika Pika brings. Why do you like to draw participants from different disciplines (not just animators) and what types of interesting people have you met through this experience?

If we have only animators, we only talk about what projects we are working on and gossip about animation industry. When we have people from different disciplines, it is fresher and more fun. We have a person studying medicine, an English teacher, someone who works for a cell phone company, and lots of people from the fashion industry these days.

2007 was a big year for Pika Pika. You toured to many events and festivals around the world. What were some of the highlights of your tours?

At the Platform International Animation Festival in Portland, we blocked off one street corner, did Pika Pika and showed the animation on a huge screen on the street. They had street vendors out, everyone had glow sticks and it was a lot of fun! It became a street festival.

Last year the advertising campaign for Sprint featured flashlight animation that was so similar to Pika Pika-style that many people assumed Tochka was involved.

Many friends of ours told us “I just saw Sprint commercial!” They were confused. We were very disappointed that we couldn’t be part of that project. Many of the people in the commercial have done Pika Pika with us in previous years though.

Your latest movie GO! GO! PiKAPiKA!! introduces more of a narrative. What was the inspiration behind this film?

This project is collaboration with So-Net (Sony Network). Story was written by director from the ad agency.

PIKAPiKA THE MOVIE ~GO! GO! PiKAPiKA!!~, a PiKAPiKA X So-net Project (March 2008)

What is your ultimate dream project, given that you have no budget, time or talent restrictions?

We would like to film under the sea. We also want to film with a car’s headlights.

3 Comments

I saw this last night at the screening at the Hammer. SO COOL! I would love to know how to find the song used in the video….I’m a DJ and want to add it to my repertoire. Thanks!

Cody, glad you enjoyed the Flux Screening last night.

The song in the video is:
“Take Me to the Time” by Bremen
http://www.myspace.com/bremenms

Jonathan

THANK YOU very much Jonathan! Looking forward to the cute party tonight

Leave a Comment