The picture below is from the home page of Mitsuki Ishinokami, a modern-day Giappetto bringing little-girl puppets to life. Although clearly geared to Japanese pedophilic fantasies, Ishinokami's pictures are amazing in their craftsmanship and ability to inspire paternal affection (I don't want to sleep with these girls, I just want to take them out for a Slurpee!). While Takashi Murakami's SUPERFLAT exhibition at LA MOCA dispenses early 21st Century, Modernist-friendly japonisme (the worst kind of patronizing colonialism, when you think about it), the work of Ishinokami and his fellow doll-makers falls squarely in the Western, Renaissance tradition of 3-D modeling and perspective; in fact, I'd go so far as to say it's kicking the collective ass of Pixar, ILM and other so-called state-of-the-art Hollywood shops. Think of the human kid in Toy Story--whose skin looks like pink felt and whose face is largely kept out of the frame--compared to the lifelike skin tones and expressive range of Ishinokami's creations. While still strangely robotic, the Japanese 3-D anime princesses (seen in Japanese magazines such as Virtual Beauty and websites such as Ishinokami's) are much more intriguing and "real" than Annanova, Lara Croft, and other cut-and-paste Western cyber-babes.

- Tom Moody 4-24-2001 6:42 pm

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