Dark Japanese Animation On The Stress Of Being A Child In School

by Sophie McAdam

‘Children’ takes a critical look at the education system’s obsession with perfection

‘Children’ is a short animation exploring the dark side of schooling. Created by Japanese illustrator Okada Takuya, it portrays a gray world, a gray neighbourhood, a gray school with gray classrooms. In it sit rows of gray children, indistinguishable from each other except for the numbers stamped on their heads.

It is a thought-provoking film in many ways, looking at the way in which children are not treated as individuals within the education system and how it invariably molds them into sheep. It also forces us to consider the enormous pressure children are under from the minute they start school, and how dull their studies can be. Where is the time for play with all the classes and homework and studying for exams? How does the pressure to get straight As affect them mentally?

The gray children sit in silence day after day, working hard to win the best grades and their teacher’s approval. One boy feels the pressure to achieve building up inside of him as he queues up to receive his test scores. He explodes in a reaction against the constant pressure, inspiring the rest of his class to do the same…

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