Studio 4ºC, Kung Fu Love

Top image: The World vs Kung Fu School Girl

“What if your loved one becomes the enemy of the world?” This question could be easily addressed to anyone, regardless of upbringing, race, gender, or ethnicity. The most successful forms of design are ones that are best able to engage society.

Studio 4ºC, a Japanese animation studio founded in 1986, uses its imagination to answer this tough question in Kung Fu Love. Kung Fu Love is a 10-minute clip directed by Yasuhiro Aoki from a series of short films called Amazing Nuts!. What sets apart Kung Fu Love from other animations is the array of colored gradients used in the character and background designs. Simple character design is balanced with complex colors, transforming something basic into something aesthetic. Romance, comedy, colors, and music are implemented effectively into the film, showing the films acute attention to pleasing audiences of all types.
Music and image work heavily together in the design setting for this short animation. Kung Fu Love seeks to teach a lesson by bringing about an emotional response from the audience. The last half of the animation is a music video featuring the song, “Twinkle” by renowned Japanese singer Koda Kumi. “Twinkle” is a very appropriate song for this animation because the chorus repeatedly chirps “twinkle, twinkle, can’t you see?” Many of us are familiar with the song Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” Twinkle by Koda Kumi also shares that longing and connection for something that is unattainable. When we listen to “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, we know the song is about communicating fondly with something that is distant.  Similarly, in Kung Fu Love fighting princess Hanako is shunned by the world and cast away by her lover, but she continues to reflect back on good old times. As if to further accentuate this bond with her past, each verse of “Twinkle” is carefully synced with the animation.

Another secular theme that Kung Fu Love focuses on is development. It is undeniable that Hanako goes through a distinct growth as she journeys around the world, fending off deadly bounty hunters. There is an emphasis on facial expressions to indicate maturity. Consider the first two images on the left column of pictures from the film that I have displayed. In the top image, you see Hanako destroying a pillow that is thrown at her; her face is innocent and full of surprise, similar to that of an innocent child. The picture below that one shows a completely different portrayal of Hanako: her eyes now show determination and toughness as she is floating amongst pieces of a broken table.

Kung Fu Love is a wonderful piece to study for those who are interested in design because it is both aesthetically appealing and has an enjoyable storyline. It addresses secular issues that people of all regions can relate to. This is important, as design is utopian. Here’s to the hopes that this sweet, little piece is extended into a movie!

clockswitch

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