Anime Mirai 2013

This might be the time to give some thoughts about Anime Mirai, aka this year’s iteration of the Young Animator Training Project. For those who don’t know, it’s a group of four one-shots funded by the Japanese government and produced by notable studios as training grounds for new animators. They’re always at least watchable, and there’s often a gem hidden among them. (See last year’s Wasurenagumo, for example.)

This year, everyone is looking forward to Studio Trigger’s contribution, Little Witch Academia. (They’re the TTGL/Panty&Stocking/Redline people, hence the hype.) And, well, it isn’t as visually distinctive as those, and certainly isn’t breaking any new ground. It’s just a very well-told and well-animated story made from stock elements, with enough enthusiasm and care to the details to make it very fun indeed.

On the other hand, I’m puzzled by Arve Rezzle. It’s a decent sci-fi premise (dude finds out his comatose sister’s body is now inhabited by another person (who’s amnesiac and can’t explain), and then commandos start attacking. The thing is, this is clearly a pilot for a longer story ; nothing whatsoever is resolved by the end of it. Which kinda defeats the purpose of these shorts, really. It’s okay, just incomplete.

(I’ll comment on the other two when subs surface.)

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2013.

2011 Young Animator Training Project

Hey, remember the Young Animator Training Project ? Basically, it’s the Japanese government funding the training of a new animators over a set of 4 one-shot episodes ; the 2010 edition was apparently a good enough experiment for it to be renewed in 2011 ; the 4 new episodes aired in March and are now slowly trickling down through the usual channels.

The first one, Buta, was mostly forgettable. Anthropomorphized-pig samurai in a very generic story that’s perfectly decent but fails to bring anything fresh to the table. Perfectly skippable.

The second one, Wasurenagumo, on the other hand, is a completely different matter. It’s yet another take on the “cute eldritch abomination” meme that’s been going strong recently with the likes of Nyarko-san, but way better at striking the right balance between charming and –ing creepy. It’s a very effective tale, this, and especially well served by direction and animation that sells the big moments perfectly.

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2012 – Page 21.

2010 Young Animator Training Project

(Four stand-alone episodes)

Government-sponsored shorts to showcase new talent.

Grampa’s Lamp (Ojisan no Lamp) has the titular grandfather tell the story of how he rose from pauper orphan kid to successful lamp seller… and what happened next. It’s a nice little country tale, perfectly making its point in the 24 minutes it’s got. It doesn’t have groundbreaking animation or art, and you can probably see where it’s going from a mile off, but it works.

Kizuna Ichigeki is a very energetic tale of a prodigy kung-fu girl and her family… and that’s pretty much it. The artstyle is very rough, although it works out well in the (numerous) fight sequences. Still, there’s not much substance there, and the comedic tone can only carry it so far.

Wardrobe Dwellers (Tansu Warashi) is a very charming little tale where a young Office Lady receives from her mother a magic wardrobe housing little servants that teach her adult skills she’d never got the hang of before (cooking, make-up, sewing, basic security…). It’s, er, not exactly the most progressive story, but it’s got enough charm to get away with it.

The one I found most enjoyable, though, was Super Veggie Torracman (Bannou Yasai Ninninman). Technically it’s an “Eat your veggies” morality tale, but it’s so full of delirious imagery and bizarre symbolism that I couldn’t help but loving it. It’s got superb voice acting, too (Mami Koyama makes for the scariest mom ever).

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2011 – Page 5.