Now Reading:

Thesis series ‘Manila Memories’ is the soft, nostalgic show we need

When the protagonist in a story says they need to “find themselves,” what do you imagine as their place of catharsis? 

First, it should definitely be idyllic. It could be a deserted island to escape the pressures of social media. Or an old house in a distant land where you could possibly meet your found family. Or the quiet seaside, calling on the sunset to ease your worries. 

These places typically serve as a place for healing, an escape from a noisy, bustling city—but what if it’s the opposite?

Going around Manila as a form of “healing” is a brave Choice. But in a world where we could freely go out, Renti Bautista of Mapúa University pulls it off.

For his thesis project as a fourth year multimedia arts and sciences major, Renti created a Manila borne out of his inkling on anime-style drawing and comfy Iyashikei anime (genre that evokes a “feel-good” feeling). The story, art and animation were done by Renti himself, while most of the backgrounds were pulled from Google Maps. 

Set in a soft, slice-of-life backdrop in anime style, “Manila Memories” is the nostalgic YouTube series we can get behind. The five-episode series follows two friends Maya and Jana, who visit Manila’s iconic places in the hopes of bringing back Maya’s memories. Quite a shot in the dark versus amnesia, but why not?

The warmth of the series lies in the smallest of details: when Maya takes a bite of the banana cue on Carriedo street, poses for photos in Fort Santiago, and attempts to take a perfect snapshot of Rizal’s statue in Luneta. “We rarely see Filipino media with feel-good stories. That’s what I want to be able to give people: a ‘healing’ type of animation.”

Knowing Manila’s infamous reputation, the student-artist wanted to change people’s perspective of the place. “I tried to present Manila as a beautiful and loveable city through the use of animation.” 

Before you book a free ticket, here are fast facts about “Manila Memories” straight from its creator. 

How did the idea for “Manila Memories” start?
Back in 2018, I was heavily inspired by “Yuru Camp,” a comfy anime about travel, good memories and of course, camping. This show promotes local tourism in Japan in a way that makes you want to visit the featured locations because of how beautifully painted they are in each of the episodes.

I made a thesis study on how these kinds of anime could impact its viewers to visit the locations featured in it and maybe somehow change people’s perspective of Manila through the “Manila Memories” series.

People have traveled to Japan to visit the locations in the show (including me) and that sparked that passion inside me to try and do a similar concept. “Yuru Camp” also falls under the category of “iyashikei” anime, a sub-genre of slice-of-life anime that usually shows the everyday peaceful lives of characters and intends to give a “healing” effect to its audience. 

I made a thesis study on how these kinds of anime could impact its viewers to visit the locations featured in it and maybe somehow change people’s perspective of Manila through the “Manila Memories” series.

Can you tell us about your headspace while creating Maya and Jana? Were they inspired by real people, characters you saw on TV or anything?
The idea behind their story came to mind on a random day: What if I make the main character forget her memories and make her regain memories as she goes around Manila? That would probably make people nostalgic since people can’t go out of their homes nowadays.

Since it’s originally a thesis, are you thinking of continuing the story in the future or add a second season?
It’s very possible! Seeing the response from people makes me even more motivated to do more of these kinds of animations in the future. Since I had limited time doing this series and I was the only animator, the production was really low and I had to sacrifice on quality. I was overwhelmed to receive this much praise for a low production series, so I’m very curious as to what a full-blown production can do. 

With the support of fellow Filipinos and passionate animators, we can make the Philippines rise through the ranks in the animation industry. Maybe I could also promote other places besides Manila?

It really hits differently whenever you see the animated characters in locations that are reminiscent of where you live.

What’s your favorite thing about Filipino animated shows?
For me, what I enjoy most about Filipino animations is the setting. It really hits differently whenever you see the animated characters in locations that are reminiscent of where you live. The jeepneys, the sari-sari stores, the houses, all of these are really refreshing to see whenever you watch Filipino animated shows. 

I really hope that these kinds of Filipino animated shows grow in number and I’m glad that I’ve inspired some aspiring animators to turn their burning passion into animations that we can be proud of.

Read more:

Thanks to these 5 anime shows, I believe in the power of friendship

This digital artist sees Manila through bitmaps and pixels

‘Spoliarium 2K20’ mirrors the horrors of our political landscape

This story is part of our #SeenOnScout series, which puts the spotlight on young creatives and their body of work. Join the Scout Family & Friends Facebook group right here, and share your work with us in the group or through using #SeenOnScout on Twitter and Instagram.

Comments

Jelou Galang
Written by

Input your search keywords and press Enter.