The worst days will end. The best days will end. Remember that. From 6/25/2020 – 7/12/2020, there is a special MOTHER exhibit featuring works by Americart and 35 different manga artists on the 8th floor of the Shibuya Parco building. As an avid fan of the series, I had to go the very first day the gallery opened up. It’s completely free so if you live in Tokyo you have no excuse not to check it out. You won’t be disappointed!
Though I wasn’t initially familiar with the artists, the artwork on display has a tasteful style that fits the theme of the games. You will see familiar characters from all of the series and be lost in nostalgia as familiar music from the series is plays overhead. Seeing this really made me want to go back and play all of the games again:
There are photo spots where you can pose with Ness’s hat and various characters from the series. I love how the hand sanitizer was creatively incorporated into this exhibit too. It definitely gave me a laugh! There is a monitor where you can see the speed paint process of Americart’s work too. There was a ton of effort put into this and it really shows:
In addition to the Pollyanna art book and comic anthologies, there are T-shirts, bags, pixel charms, jewelry, and plushies for sale. Unfortunately the giant Mr. Saturn plushies on display are not for sale, but you can purchase a miniature one that comes with a house for 2500 yen. I picked up the Mr. Saturn bag for a mere 600 yen. It has amazing quality and is super stylish. I can’t wait to wear it out! I am so happy I had the chance to experience yet another nostalgic videogame exhibit.
While traveling on my spontaneous two week trip to Australia, I decided to peruse the National Gallery of Victory (NGV) in central Melbourne to see some aesthetic works of art. Needless to say with their large collection of traditional paintings, sculptures, stained glass, and pottery, I was not disappointed by their selection. Most of the exhibitions here are completely free to enter. Only the rotating featured exhibit has an entrance fee. Since it was one related to Asia (where I currently reside), I decided to skip it and see the other permanent parts of gallery instead. Most of them were pretty awe-inspiring with pieces of art from all around the world:
The first room we entered had European oil canvas paintings that I found to be quite thought-provoking. Some of the art were beautiful portraits of woman and landscapes, but others depicted quite sad themes like war and death. I really liked how the portraits were juxtaposed on the bright red wall–I had to walk around this room several times so I could fully let the context of it all set in.
In the connecting hallways were displays of pottery from various centuries (I was especially fond of the vase with booty painted on it), sculptures, a rocking chair, and other interesting works; like a horse with a lamp on its head. On the top floor is a beautiful stained glass window that illuminates the performance hall. They also had some really derpy paintings of animals, and one wall of art depicted a hint of bestiality, but it was discrete and as tasteful as possible.
My favorite exhibit was definitely the neon upside-down kanji room. It only exemplifies the difficulty of learning kanji as a westerner:
The final room we entered had shapes made completely out of pages from books which gave them a unique texture. There was also the “Ship of Time” exhibit you could walk through to find the inner peace depicted in Zhuangzi’s parable. Once again it was a lot to take in at once, but I managed to successfully cross over:
Overall this was probably the best free museum I have stumbled upon in my travels. I was impressed with all of the diversity it had to offer, and despite my initial jetlag I had a lot of fun reading about the exhibits. Be sure to check out the NGV if you ever are in Melbourne! There is also the Eureka Skydeck nearby where you can see a beautiful view of the the city.
If you have any interest in animation, please stop by the Shinjuku Ophthalmologist Gallery and check out this amazing exhibition by Austrian artist Bahi JD, who has worked as a key animator for various Japanese companies and has created many original designs. Not only has he drawn covers for Carpainter albums (“Returning” and “Digital Harakiri”), but he’s also drawn his own original manga (“地球のマグノリア”) and has worked intricately animating scenes of Blade Runner, Fate/Apocrypha, SSSS.GRIDMAN, and more, as well as his own original GIFs that went viral. I’m really lucky I had the opportunity to meet him here, as I have cherished his art for a while!
For those who would like to see the in-depth animation process behind his works; a room of the gallery is covered with stills and a looping video so you can see each individual frame of his original animation up close:
Most recently Bahi has created the storyboard for and directed the beautiful opening for the anime “Carole and Tuesday” which premiered April 10, 2019:
The dynamic colors and physics he uses in his animations are quite unique and highly entertaining to watch! I hope people who are interested in working in animation can see this, as he is a major inspiration as a foreign artist that is very successful now in Japan.
For more information on his work, please see his online portfolio, and stop by this gallery which will be available until July 3rd, 2019. There will likely be more of his works display in the future, which I will be sure to visit and write about!