A Kiss From Tokyo (2009)

A Kiss From Tokyo is an animated short which acts as a trailer for the book Yuki 7, written by Ada Cole and Kevin Dart about a woman known for her spy skillset and espionage. The animated short embodies this atmosphere of secrecy, sex, and mystery right away with its use of the word “dangerous” in a typeface that is bold, tall, and authoritative. The typographic animation of this word adds to the sense of urgency of danger in the way it quickly switches from using black and red inversely between the text and the background.


And the use of single words, such as “dangerous”, are used to further characterize Yuki, the protagonist spy in question. While the word “dangerous” could be interpreted as both the tone of the film and the characterization of Yuki, the next title sequence is based around the word, “seductive.” The word is immediately associated with Yuki as “seductive” in all its bold, typographic glory as it begins fully opaque and then fades in opacity as the figure of Yuki in lingerie and in a red robe takes prominence. It should also be noted that the colors aren’t as harsh as they were with “dangerous.” The red still remains as a primary element, but that is because red is versatile as a color that can be associated with many connotations. The use of a tan and beige in the background matches the connotation of the word seductive and creates a sense of femininity and violence that coincides with Yuki’s persona. Additionally, since this is an animation, it creates a different light setting as black conveys more formality and fear, while beige conveys a sense of peace and neutrality, even if it is a false sense. That is why the color beige’s pairing with red is pertinent to establishing Yuki’s character as a spy because she is able to move through various situations and circumstances undetected and with ease as an agent of espionage.

The last thing that must be discussed is the art style of the animation itself coupled with the typography. The stills below show how the animation style relies on the brush texture of the forms and characters to show a more sinister edge. Seeing as that both the protagonist, Yuki, and her arch rival, Diamond Eve, are both women, it can be easy to write them off as fragile and pretty things, incapable of committing espionage or inciting violence. But incorporating a visual representation of their ruggedness and their capabilities into their physical form reminds viewers that these women aren’t ordinary, and people to be feared. Coupling that with the cleanliness of the typography plays into the audiences expected stereotypes of women being concerned with order and cleanliness, but adds its twist with the use of red again, to show their more dark, and dangerous nature. 

Kiss From Tokyo Still

Discussion — One Response

  • Maddy Kelly 03/25/2021 on 10:57 AM

    Wow, this was a fantastic post and such a cool example of screen-based design. I really appreciate the reference photos you’ve provided to show the contrast between the brush-stroke animation style and bold, digital typography. Femininity and womanhood are too often portrayed as one-dimensional, and this opening credit seems like a wonderful, complex juxtaposition that immediately characterizes Yuki and Diamond Eve. Even the colors convey different tones! You’ve definitely got me interested in watching A Kiss From Tokyo!

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