Monday, December 1, 2014

Anime Review: Coffee Samurai and Hoshizora Kiseki

I'm not sure how but I have less and less free time these days. On paper it doesn't look like I'm trying to do that many things each day but let me tell you that job hunting is a soulless, long-winded task and between that and that the season is juuuuust about to finish but hasn't yet, I'm scrambling again. Thankfully I have (multiple!) back-up plans for these times so here is plan two: watch all of the shorts that Sentai has licensed over the years that are streaming on Hulu. Like the last time I did this (with Cocient and Five Numbers) I'm doing two at once and once again I am reminded of just how much harder it seems to be to tell a good, short story than a good, longer story.

Coffee SamuraiWow that was bad. I was a bit iffy on the premise to start with (warrior from long ago reincarnated as a coffee vending machine and a girl falls for him) but there's "this sounds like a terrible idea" and "this sounds like a terrible idea and was executed with no idea how bad it was". This is clearly a case where the director/writer/etc had some ideas, thought that there were cool ideas, and simply had no idea how to put them into a story. The phrase "kill your darlings" comes to mind, it's the part of the editing process where you have to be willing to cut anything, even if you really like it, for the good of the larger picture, and that was not practiced here at all. No clue if this was student work but if it was I'd still think it was bad for student work, I'd be giving a pretty stern critique in class. And to top if off, the sound design was also terrible. The voice actors sound flat and not much like actors at all and the sound effects just weren't integrated well into the scenes. I can't even recall if there was even any music, I think there may have been but that's not a good sign! Unless you enjoy watching bad stuff on purpose, avoid this one like the plague.

Hoshizora Kiseki
This short was also not amazing but after CS anything was going to seem better. Like CS, this short also suffered from having too many ideas crammed in, which made for poor pacing and scene transition, but the ideas worked together much better. The story felt more coherent even if the premise was almost as weird, a girl has been fascinated by meteors ever since she found one and there seems to be a government conspiracy behind it. I'm not going to argue that this short is worth watching but I am also going to say it looks pretty, I actually wondered if this was an early Makoto Shinkai work because of some of the art and color schemes (plus, he does like space!) but it's not. According to ANN it's almost a two man production with one person who hasn't made anything else and another who doesn't even have their own page, perhaps this one really was student work.....

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