srijeda, 19. prosinca 2012.

Genius Party Beyond (2007) - 5 anime filmova

Genius Party Beyond

Kolekcija anime-kratkiša, navodno najbolja.






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After watching the first selection of Genius Party shorts a couple of weeks ago it was difficult not to get excited about the second part. Not only because I wanted more of the same, but mostly because the most promising directors were still to come. Genius Party Beyond features work by Tanaka and Morimoto, two personal favorites of mine.
screen cap of Genius Party: Beyond
Since the running time of the entire project clocked in around three hours 4°C made the right decision of splitting the whole anthology in two. The styles and themes of the short are all quite different and three hours of Genius Party would've been a bit much al right. The first part already featured some impressive work, but the best was obviously left for last.
The second part starts of with Gala, a short directed by Mahiro Maeda. One of the most prolific anime directors of today with some interesting titles to his name. Sadly, he is the only one to really disappoint with his short in this second act. The style is a bit bland and boring. Even though the animation is quite good, it looks a little too generic for a 4°C produced short. It picks up about halfway through, when the more psychedelic sequence starts, but even then it fails to really impress. As a whole it reminded me somewhat of the musical woods sequence in Katsuhito Ishii's Funky Forest, only not as cool or crazy by far. 3.0*/5.0*
screen cap of Genius Party: Beyond
Luckily that's about all the disappointment there is to be had in this second series of shorts. Gala is followed by Moondrive, a superb little short directed by Nakazawa. The style of animation is not unlike Dead Leaves, though the pacing and mood are a bit more subdued. The drawing style on the other hand is something else, with very static, card-like drawings. Nakazawa continuously breaks the fourth wall by showing the edges of the drawing cards and showing grid lines outlining the action. Visually Moondrive is extremely dense and detailed, the action quite extreme and the humor somewhat dirty and perverse. A perfect combination of artistic and vulgar, and one awesome little piece of animation. 5.0*/5.0*
Expecting a little drawback from the next entry, I was completely blown away by Ohira's little doggy short. Without a doubt the most original and revolutionary film of the bunch. The style is simply outrageous, mixing children's doodles with chalk-style animation and then some. In some ways, it reminded me of the drawing style used in Windy Tales, though less angular. Wanwa looks like an extremely detailed and lively children's drawing come to life. As a little boy finds its way through a wobbly world of magic you can only wonder what exactly you are looking at, but the overall effect is superb and extremely engaging. Within its short timespan it becomes completely immersive and leaves you with a sense of enormous wonder. 5.0*/5.0*
Up next is Tanaka's short. Tojin Kit is a continuation of a short piece Tanaka once directed for Digital Juice, so it doesn't feel quite as refreshing as the other shorts do. The basic style and movements are still there, but Tanaka's world has expanded and actually found a story to tell. It's a little surprising to see some cuter elements added to Tanaka's typical grey sceneries of wicked machinery, but the creature effects look amazing and the whole short just oozes style. The animation itself seems to lag behind only a little, possibly because there hasn't been too much updating since Digital Juice, but apart from that it's amazing to see Tanaka's trademark style translated to animation. 4.5*/5.0*
screen cap of Genius Party: Beyond
Finally, making sure Genius Party finishes off with a bang is Morimoto's Dimension Bomb. In many ways a sequel to Mix Juice, his entry in the Digital Juice anthology (and also featuring a shot with the same character), Dimension Bomb is an equally disjointed series of settings and characters set to a rather defining musical score. It's hard to tell what Dimension Bomb is about exactly, but the superb designs and terrific animation are simply spectacular to watch. Morimoto's creativity seems infinite, only enhanced by his keen eye, delicate animation and smart use of the soundtrack. His works as a DJ really paid off, always has. Not the best or most surprising short of the bunch, but definitely the most accomplished one. Morimoto proves yet again why he is one of the most important anime directors alive today and delivers a short that begs for a feature film. 5.0*/5.0*
Apart from the somewhat disappointing opening short, Genius Party Beyond is worthy of its title. Not only is it a collection of genius directors, they really go beyond with their collection of shorts. Studio 4°C establishes and confirms its title of best and most interesting animation house out there and dishes out a set of short films that challenges the medium in all sorts of ways. If you have an interest in animation that goes a little beyond the typical American products, you should feel obliged to give these shorts a try. -

From STUDIO4℃, the cutting-edge anime studio that is home to many of the revolutionary animation available today including "the Animatrix" and "Tekkonkinkreet" comes Genius Party Beyond; 5 New features from 5 anime heavyweights.
The concept remains the same: Gather an all-star team of contemporary Anime creators, mixing established legends with the brightest up-and-comers. Give each one free reign to make an entirely original film, providing only a single guiding theme: The Spirit of Creativity.
But more than extension of the original Genius Party, the directors of Genius Party Beyond have pushed the envelope even further and the results, quite simply, are extraordinary.
The Revolution Continues.

When the original Genius Party was first conceived at Studio 4c, a total of twelve animations were created. Of these twelve, seven were ultimately selected and combined to become Genius Party, with the remaining five combining to create Genius Party Beyond. As such, it could easily be mistaken that this package is simply a mix of all the rejected titles not entertaining or good enough to make the original seven. Such a thought couldn't be further from the truth though as Genius Party Beyond manages not only be on par with its predecessor, but at times almost surpasses it.

This 81 minute spectacle opens with Gala, a rather outlandish film about a mysterious object that lands near a village and the villagers quest to find out just what is inside. Directed by veteran Mahiro Maeda, this piece certainly isn't the most spectacular of the bunch, featuring some rather contemporary animation and a story that only picks up about half way through. Despite this though, Gala still manages to be an entertaining film over all certainly does manage to open the proceedings well.
The second film in the line up is Moon Drive, a rather humourous tale directed by Kazuto Nakazawa that tells the story of a group of villains who hear rumours of a great treasure and set out on an all or nothing quest to discover it. With an animation style that is very reminiscent of Dead Leaves and a quite perverse look at humour, there is much to enjoy about this short. Although in saying that, the animation style and its bland colour palette certainly may not be to everyone's tastes.

Coming into the halfway mark is the third film Wanwa. Directed by Shinya Ohira, it's hard not to be intrigued by its strange animation style that seems to be a combination of one part crayon, one part chalk, and ten parts pure wackiness. Either way, this at times mystifying story about a boy's dream whilst his mother is in hospital will almost certainly leave you immersed by its ending. Without a doubt one of the highlights of the package.
Next up is Toujin Kit, a rather less than intriguing tale directed by Tatsuyuki Tanaka that tells the story of a young girl who implants her toys with a bug that allows them to come to life. The authorities however eventually get tipped off about her illegal creations and soon arrive at her residence with their sights set out on destroying the forbidden creatures. Tanaka's choice of a grey colour palette and detailed designs work really well for this piece though, creating the feeling that Toujin Kit actually takes place in a much larger living and breathing city. Whilst certainly not to everyone's taste, this short really oozes more style than it does story.

Rounding out the collection is Dimension Bomb. Directed by Koji Morimoto, this film certainly takes the prize as the most abstract piece of them all. Although it's hard at times to actually make sense of what you see on screen, the rather wonderful animation and defining musical score makes this nothing more than a marvel to watch. That said, this piece will certainly not be to everyone's tastes, especially with its run time coming in at a tad under 20 minutes. Either way you look at it though, Dimension Bomb manages to be a fitting final short that rounds out the collection nicely.
On the extras side of things, the first disc contains only a trailer for the film whilst the second disc holds the bulk of the material in the form of some very lengthy Director Interviews for each of the five films. It would have been nice for some extra clips or trailers to have been included on the second disc like they did with Genius Party, because there's quite an empty feeling as it is. Thankfully for us though, Siren have chosen not to change the unique dvd case they used for Genius Party, which if you've had the chance to see it, is really just as imaginative as the content inside.

Since watching the first Genius Party, I have been itching for the chance to see just what this sequel held in store and whether or not it could actually hold up to its predecessor. I can safely say now though that Genius Party Beyond manages to do that in spades. Although just like the first title, there will be shorts that not everybody will enjoy, however there is certainly enough exceptional and interesting pieces in the collection to make this a title worth checking out if you haven't already done so. -

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