Got something that I haven't done in a little while for tonight. So about a few months ago I decided to go through the entire anime catalogs of crunchyroll and hulu and then organize my to-watch list for the foreseeable future and I came across a number of weird things. Series which most but not all of their episodes online, series split across multiple sites, that kind of odd thing and also I found a few shorts which had been licensed for the US and I neither had ever seen nor heard much buzz about. These two were picked up by Section 23/Sentai Filmworks and I have seen one or two reviews for either these titles or similar ones which left the reviewer mostly unimpressed. Generally this is a pretty good sign I shouldn't bother trying them out but, since it was only going to take an hour to watch both of them, I decided to go for them anyway and see what kind of off-beat, one-off stories Japan is telling these days.
Both of these are going to be free-form instead of structured due to their short runtimes, in this one a high schooler with his class, Shinichi, visits Nara as a school trip in the 26th century and apparently Nara has turned into a bit of a Disney theme park with parades and technology augmenting some of the more traditional attractions (like the ever-present and not exactly explained deer). Shinichi hopes to fall in love on the school trip and, well, that's where the story gets weird about five minutes in. The rest of the story seems to concern a girl whose a reconstruction of a girl from 2700 years ago, couldn't figure out if she was actually an android however, and um, somehow the two fall in love, a deer helps. Honestly this story feels as if the creators thought of a setting/visuals they wanted to use and then tried to string a story together later. The plot and the characters (both our lovers and villains) are thinner than tissue paper, it's paced much too quickly, and sadly I didn't think the CGI was particularly well done (it's from 2010 and I'm confused why it's all CGI yet the promotional pictures are traditionally drawn, same with Five Numbers by the way). With all that said I can't really think of any reason to recommend this to someone unless they want to watch something truly strange and random*.
Five people wake up in a prison, having all done something worthy of getting a life sentence, and try to escape especially when they discover the truth behind their prison. Okay so we've all seen this story before, people trapped in a place with no idea how but must escape, prisoners trying to escape, and this one was actually kind of interesting and well done until the last five or so minutes, then it just got weird. Before that however it was paced well, revealed the character's backstories, set up conflict, resolved it in a way that made sense with the themes previously established, it just had a really weird ending and I want to look the writers/director in the eye and go "you did everything right up to that point and then you blew it? Come on!" Funny enough I wasn't going to bash the CGI here since I thought this was an older title but nope, this is from 2011 and while the characters move a bit better here the level of detail and shading is practically non-existent which, given the kind of CGI I'm used to as someone who sees a lot of American movies, made it look cheap and lazy.
For anyone looking to watch these, Section 23 has had them out on BR/DVD for a while now or you can do what I did and watch them on hulu instead (they're listed on The Anime Network's website but that's just an embedded hulu feed so non-USians/people without a proxy are out of luck there).
*Hell even then I'd probably recommend Kyousogiga instead but that's just me.