originally posted at https://canmom.tumblr.com/post/621267...
‘I should get some friends to watch me! me! me! and aeon flux’ I said, and somehow we’re now on to the sixth consecutive week of animation festival! fuckin nice imo. I’m gonna keep running these as long as you all enjoy them because there is no shortage of great animation…
We’ll be starting at 7pm UK time as usual at twitch.tv/canmom. That’s four and a half hours from this post!
Tonight we return to anime short film collections, because I just can’t get enough of that sakuga juice! We have Neo Tokyo, Short Peace, and the Animatrix…
Neo Tokyo/Manie-Manie (迷宮物語 Meikyū Monogatari, lit. Labyrinth Tales)
This is one of the earliest anime package films, dating back to 1987. The western title Neo Tokyo is something of a misnomer, since as far as I know none of the segments are actually set in Tokyo. It features three films:
Our framing story, Labyrinth Labyrinthos: a girl plays hide and seek with her cat and stumbles into a mysterious labyrinth…
Then we segue into Running Man: a driver ascends to some sort of higher plane of consciousness during a deadly race. featuring some great 80s anime cyberpunk imagery, which you may have seen sampled in an AMV or two. Given its subject matter, the film is strangely slow-paced - don’t expect Redline here - but it’s still worth seeing for the visuals!
And last my favourite in the collection, which unfortunately I can’t find a gif of - Katsuhiro Otomo’s Construction Cancellation Order. A human employee of a multinational company is sent to a robotic construction project deep in the rainforest, with orders to cancel construction. The robotic foreman has other ideas. Features Otomo’s machine animation at its best!
Short Peace (2013)
The most recent animated package film I have, and one of the first to really make use of modern non-photorealistic CG techniques, to generally great effect! There’s a lot of shorts in this collection (all broadly around the theme of Japan); my favourites are:
Possessions: an travelling craftsman has an encounter with a full shrine’s worth of yokai, but luckily he knows exactly what to do. Absolutely charming short.
Otomo breaking from his usual style to do a gorgeous period piece about the Great Fire of Meiriki in 1657. It’s animated in this unique high-angle orthographic style, and looks really beautiful…
A Farewell To Arms meanwhile is set in a post-apocalyptic future Tokyo, where a group of mercenaries work to clean up unused weapons. Unfortunately, they encounter a powerful robot tank, leading to a tense hard sci-fi mecha battle that’s a more grounded than even the realest of real robots.
The Animatrix 
Lana and Lily Wachowski are many things but one of them is ‘massive weebs’. Following the success of The Matrix, they used some of that $$$ to get a lot of high profile anime directors to make short films set in the Matrix world. Watching today, the Animatrix holds up really well, featuring some absolutely inspired animation. A few highlights (putting in a cut since, this is getting quite long):
Final Flight of the Osiris is one of only two films produced by the short-lived Square Pictures, featuring the closest to photorealistic animation 2003 could do in a very horny sword fight. Square Pictures would go on to make Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, which failed hard at the box office but may be a lot more enjoyable if you have a tasty plasma to view it on…
The Second Renaissance, a two-part sequence by Mahiro Maeda (who made one of our favourite films on Genius Party) establishing all the backstory left out of the Matrix films. Gorgeous imagery, but heads up that this features some potentially very unsettling images of an android girl getting attacked on the street in a way that’s uncomfortably reminiscent of a transmisogynistic attack, so I will take care to warn appropriately.
World Record, featuring direction and key animation by Takeshi Koike of Redline fame: an athlete briefly finds his way out of the Matrix at the height of SPORTS. Shows off the extremely stylish harsh shading, perspective distortion and near-camera work that Koike is known for.
Kid’s Story, directed Shinichiro Watanabe of Bebob and Champloo fame. A kid connects to Neo in a chatroom, attracting the attention of the Agents. This has an incredible chase sequence with key animation by Shinya Ohira.
Beyond, directed Kōji Morimoto, whose work I think we’ve become a big fan of over the course of the animation nights! Kids discover a glitch in the matrix in an abandoned house.
There are a number of other great shorts - we’re going to see more of Peter Chung, bringing us right back to square one! - and I’m dead excited to watch this again.
So yeah: 7pm UK time, twitch.tv/canmom, see you all there!