An Excessively Brief History of Estonian Animation – 12 Days of Anime(tion)

The first known animated cartoon from Estonia is Juku the Dog. Voldemar Pats directed the short in 1931. Juku the Dog was a forgotten film until it was partially rediscovered in a national archive in 1987.

While the film itself is charming but not particularly memorable it serves as an important reminder of the history that did exist prior to nationalization.

The state owned film company in Estonia was Tallinnfilm. The Estonian Ministry of Culture founded Tallinnfilm in 1931. During this period the studio largely served as a film distributor.

In 1940 Estonia was forced into the Soviet Union and the Studio was nationalized. This takeover kicked off a period of increased production for the Estonian film industry.

Animation for Everyone – 12 Days of Anime(tion)

I’ve been an anime fan for just about all of my life.

The first anime I can remember seeing that was presented “as anime” was Ranma ½. One day when I was 6 or 7 my older sister let me watch fansubbed copies of the first few episodes as long as I promised to not tell our mom and it was pretty much all downhill from there.

So why the personal history lesson?

Around 2011 or so I found myself losing interest in anime for the first time and ended up taking a break that lasted several years. For me personally, digging through various shorts from Minna no Uta played a major part in giving me a new window into appreciating animation.

Mahoutsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto: Natsu no Sora

Before talking about the show with any depth I think two disclaimers are probably in order, one major and one minor. The minor disclaimer is that I am not familiar with Osamu Kobayashi’s work as a whole and with how personal this project is I’m certain a more complete look would include his history as an artist.

The major disclaimer is that I watched this series in Japanese, a language I am far from fluent in. While I am confident I picked up the major beats of the story I doubtlessly missed a fair bit of nuance and I think people should take that into account and decide for themselves what my opinion is worth.

I honestly didn’t expect to even watch this show when I hit play. I certainly didn’t expect to end up loving it.