supreme master moomin vision and the muumibuumi
Not everyone will find the “funky little moomin” clip I posted a link the other day entertaining–or even explicable, so I would like to offer a little background to those deprived souls not familiar with the stories that inspired the Moomin funk-phenomenon worldwide.
Saving me hours of typing is this 16 minute program from a series called A Journey through Aesthetic Realms, an episode entitled: “Moomin Stories, the World Seen through the Eyes of a Child.” Presented by a large-nostriled, Finnish-speaking host and captioned in 12(!) languages, the program heavily features the Japanese-Finnish animation but also includes some of the original artwork by their Finnish creator/author/illustrator Tove Jansson.
The show is a production of “Supreme Master Television,” which turns out to be a spiritually motivated channel that supports peace, the environment and vegetarianism, not some Orwellian master race propaganda (whew!).
The two styles of illustration–print and animation–are quite different, which is understandable given the different intended media. I was hoping for some commentary on these differences, but they don’t go to that particular aesthetic realm. The Jansson drawings (top – click to enlarge) are very precise with lots of quirky details. In contrast, the ones for television (2nd and 3rd) are simpler and more cuddly-looking, from what I’ve seen at least, which admittedly isn’t much actually voiced and animated as a real cartoon.
I grew up on the books and I study and buy select products from Europe and Japan. Most recently I’ve started collecting the bound volumes of the Moomin comic strip that are coming out, they are lovely! The old-school illustrations are the BEST! But I’m not the only one with my collection of Moomin goods.
“The Moomin Boom (muumibuumi in Finnish) started in the 1990s, when Dennis Livson and Lars Jansson produced a 104-part animation series in Japan. . . .
“The Moomin Boom has been criticized for commercializing the Moomins. Friends of Tove Jansson and many old Moomin enthusiasts have stressed that the animations banalize the original and philosophical Moomin world to harmless family entertainment.” [Source]
I’m not sure the Moomins were ever more than harmless (mostly harmless?) but over the years, I’ve learned to appreciate both styles. The Japanese one is sometimes too saccharine for my tastes, but I do get a thrill out of the many, many Moomin products and collectibles manufactured for that market (tho maybe not-so-much the Moomin mayo).
The grumpy purists have a point tho. Even this Aesthetic Realms show gets it wrong. Moomins and their friends are not just happy-go-lucky all the time. Some are, but they can also be puzzlingly eccentric, rude or just dissatisfied with life.
For the tv illustrators to put a smile on the Groke (the big grey thing in the middle of the second illustration) is pretty much absurd considering she’s a creature that skulks around so gloomily she freezes the plants and ground (and water and fire) underneath her.
It’s strange that our oddball childhood friends the Moomins are now known around the world. But are they understood? I wonder…