Instep Today

The Glassworker prelude is still getting strong reviews

Wed, 03, 18

Having made its first appearance more than a month ago, The Glassworker (Sheeshahgar) prelude from Mano Animation Studios, is still wowing the international community and anime fans around the globe.

The prelude, nearly four minutes long, contains the opening of the full feature as well as a behind-the-scene documentary that looks into journey of the studio and the film. As for the narrative, it traces the story of Vincent, who “learns the art of glassblowing at his father’s shop and his friendship with a young violin virtuoso named Alliz” while exploring the effects of war on children in subtle fashion. Their relationship lies at the heart of the film.

Apart from being Pakistan’s first fully hand-drawn animated film, slated to release at the end of 2020, it is written and directed by Usman Riaz, who is also the founder of Mano Animation Studios and is inspired by Japan’s Studio Ghibli and its legendary co-founder Hayao Miyazaki.

Since this prelude’s arrival, it’s gotten favourable reviews from nearly everyone who has covered it. And that is no small feat.

Megan Peters, writing for this month noted, “If you head over to Youtube, you will find a new short that is called The Glassmaker. The reel gives a small glimpse at a feature-length movie that Mano Animation Studios is working on. Its smooth design and hand-drawn artwork will make any Ghibli fan think back to Miyazaki’s work, and that kind of praise would make Usman Riaz blush.”

Adding to the piece, she observed further, “Along with a team of artists, Riaz studied the animation techniques which Miyazaki is famous for using. The group put them into action for The Glassmaker, and the touching film would surely make the team at Studio Ghibli proud.”

“The Glassworker,’ the debut film from Mano Animation Studios, looks incredible,” noted Vice in its headline for a piece on the film.

A Japanese blog called SoraNews24, while covering the film recently, noted, “One of the most charming aspects of any Ghibli film is the exquisite hand-drawn animation, which creates a sense of intimacy and magic that computer-animated movies have a hard time replicating, and it’s this human element that’s now inspiring a group of animators in Pakistan to take out their sketchbooks to create a brand new anime that takes its styling cues from the world of Japanese animation.”

The piece noted further: “Called The Glassmaker, this new film is attracting attention amongst anime fans around the world with its beautiful stills, heartwarming storyline, and its groundbreaking ambition.”

Though the full film is years away from release, it is good to know that the hard work of Usman Riaz and his team, which includes co-founder and assistant director Mariam Riaz, producer Khizer Riaz and a group of artists and animators, is getting acknowledged overseas for their enormous and beautiful effort.