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You’d think the art of flip book animation had seen its apex by now. The medium’s emotional limits have already been pushed by the works of Japanese comedian and surprisingly talented artist Tekken, and others have recreated famous anime almost perfectly, but it seems there isn’t much else to do with the medium of flicking pieces of paper to create a moving image.

Or so we thought, until witnessing a line of flip books by Japanese company Another Laboratory (Mohitotsu no Kenkyujo). These brief but beautiful works not only breathe life into the format but make it superior to film or computer animations through clever use of the book itself as part of the imagery.

The following is a video showing a few of the books in action. It’s very brief at under 30 seconds but you’ll have felt like you’ve just seen an entire film after experiencing all the gorgeous detail and surprises inside them.

The video was taken by blogger Francesca at Travelry who found the books at a convention in London and posted them in action on YouTube. Enjoy!

As we can see in the video, rather than simply drawing on the pages, the artists animate by cutting into them for a stunning 3-D effect. The combination of this and the quirky but warmly beautiful drawings make the books a truly enjoyable sight.

▼ The Christmas one is especially cute with a real bell at the end.

According to its company profile, Another Laboratory is a pair of rogue researchers named Ikasama and Anirikam who work from Santa’s institute of gifts. After a small mishap, their headquarters became a tower located on a bird’s back.

▼ “President Santa Claus”

Their books have been around for a few years and can be purchased online from stores such as Amazon JP for prices starting at around 1,200 yen (US$10). It might seem a little steep but given the care and effort that clearly went into making these things, that seems more than fair to us.

▼ Little insects swell and explode, leaving tiny craters in the pages.

Since they work on a bird’s back, it might be hard to visit Another Laboratory, but you can learn more about them through their website. Luckily the bird is equipped with Wi-Fi.

Source: Another Laboratory (Japanese) via Demilked, Travelry (English)