Anime Tamago 2016: Post-apocalyptic RYB Time-traveling Seiryu

hisui_icon_4040_round I feel it is best to start with a brief introduction of what Anime Tamago is. If you’re a longtime reader of the blog you will have seen our previous reviews of the Young Animator Training Project films. Since 2010 four short animated films are funded by the project in hopes of encouraging new talent in the anime industry. If you have ever heard about the project it was most probably because of either Little Witch Academia or Death Billiards. They were the biggest titles that the project has produced. Both of them have their own TV series and developed a dedicated fan following. Since then due to a number of factors, nothing else has really taken off like those two shows from 2013. For the last four years the entries for the year were known as the Anime Mirai shorts but this year they were re-branded as the Anime Tamago shorts.

While these shorts have fallen off the radar of a sizable amount of the fandom we still think they are worth examining. Most of these titles either come from either relatively fresh-faced crews or people who have been in the industry for a while but have been promoted to higher positions than they might normally have. Not all of these are spectacular or even good. Actually, some of them have been downright awful. But these titles are a good way of seeing who might very well be an up and comer in the anime industry. Today’s random Anime Tamago director or animator might be tomorrow’s superstar.  

One of the major downsides of this project that keeps it from being well-known in the English-speaking world is that fansubbers have an extremely varied interest in the titles. Some shorts from Young Animator Training Project get subbed near instantly. On the other hand, I only recently discovered that someone got around to subbing Parol’s Future Island despite the fact it came out in 2014. It really all depends on the tastes of whoever is still out there doing fansubs. None of these are guaranteed to ever get subbed. Therefore we watched two of the films without subtitles. We had no subtitles for Colorful Ninja Iromaki and Kacchikenee! and were forced to watch them raw.

So far we have yet to have any Young Animator Training Project films that had a super dense narrative and at the same time was not subtitled. I can’t guarantee we caught all the nuance of the shows we watched raw but I am fairly confident we understood the broad strokes thanks to anime being a visual medium and the stories being fairly simple. I do wonder when we will collide with a show like Kuro no Sumika: Chronus where we would miss major parts of the story without the translated dialog. But I suppose we will figure out how to cross that bridge when we get to it.

narutaki_icon_4040_round This project is always full of surprises and that’s what holds my interest year after year. While these shorts aren’t indie projects, they are still a little off the beaten path most of the time. What I really enjoyed from this time around was that three out of four were more in the children and family category. And even the fourth one wasn’t especially far from that.

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The Boy and the Beast: Heart Of Sword

hisui_icon_4040 One of the problems with success can be that it sets a baseline that can be very hard to live up to. That makes sense. When you have a big hit audiences often don’t just want what the liked with a twist. They want your next work to be bigger, better, deeper, broader, and richer. Anything less can be seen as a failure or step backwards. It can also lead to sequels and follow-up works that overreach their bounds trying to outdo their simpler predecessor. It often leads to big bloated affairs that are merely a pale imitation of what worked. J. D. Salinger and The Catcher in the Rye or Dave Chappelle and Chappelle’s Show are prime examples where an artist was so successful that they run away from the spotlight out of fear that they could not follow-up their big profile success.

Mamoru Hosoda has a lot of high-profile successes. I actively have to rack my brain to think of negative reviews for The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Summer Wars and all of his films are practically magnets for awards. He is a name that often get brought up when people ask who the next Hayao Miyazaki will be. Heck, even we brought up that idea on the blog. That means lots of eyes are all over whatever he does comparing it what he has done before, what all the best animators in Japan are doing, as well as just putting up his work against the best animation from around the world. You don’t really get that sort of critical analysis if you’re doing the latest Jewelpet movie. This can put a lot of pressure on a director and a movie.

If anyone can live up to that heavy burden it would be Mamoru Hosoda. The real question is not if Hosoda has the potential to overcome this wall of expectations. It is rather can this particular movie do it?

narutaki_icon_4040 The Boy and the Beast marks a departure from Mamoru Hosoda’s other original theatrical releases. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars, and Wolf Children were written by or co-written with Satoko Okudera in which Mr. Hosoda worked on the concept and helmed the director’s chair. In the Boy and the Beast Mr. Hosoda also became its sole writer.

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Anime Mirai 2015: Music, Mothers, and Mulch

The biggest problem with Anime Mirai is the titles are rarely streaming. What’s the best known short to come out of this project? Little Witch Academia which earned a great deal of critical acclaim, and became an Internet phenomenon and general darling of fandom. It was streaming on Studio Trigger’s YouTube page. And look at how well-known Trigger is now.

Take another project which gained praise and was even turned into a TV series: Death Billiards. Many people had never even seen the original short that turned into the Death Parade TV series.

Exposure for a project like this makes a huge difference and really isn’t that the point of the project?

All the help in the world would not have made Mechanical Fairies or Ryo mega-hits but they might not have slipped into utter obscurity if they had been streaming. And that seems to be the fate of a lot of these shorts. The Anime Mirai 2014 entries were strong enough to be superstars if they only could have been seen by more people.

Sadly, the Anime Mirai 2015 anime are still not streaming anywhere either. Like last years titles we have decided to draw some attention to these anime as they are usually a unique treat for fans looking for self-contained stories, new talent, and experimental ideas.

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