There are some anime films that I can watch every year. There are some television shows, not many, that I can watch more than once. There are many many more anime that have an interesting concept or look great and then they bore me to tears and I bail out after a few episodes. This 25 minute OVA has caught my attention and I feel like I can watch it over and over and over again.
The story takes place in a mirror world version of Kyoto where humans and spirits are thrown together. An incident causes a young girl named Koto to wander into this world where she meets a mysterious monk, gets chased by tech-obsessed girls and uncovers a mysterious plot.
Kyousogiga is a Toei/Banpresto co-production that is available via YouTube, NicoNico Douga and Bandai Channel. The story comes from Izumi Todo (Toei’s pen name for its production team) the director is Rie Matsumoto who has worked on Marie & Gali, and the music comes from Hiroshi Takaki who has provided the music and opening themes for Sky Girls and Tytania. I’m not familiar with any of their works but just looking at the titles and I know I would instinctively avoid them.
Kyousogiga is brilliant.
The animation is wonderfully exuberant – full of life, movement colour and energy – the stuff I love about anime. It’s like a cross between FLCL and Summer Wars but exaggerated and slightly more surreal. Editing is inventive and camera angles are expressive. It’s visually imaginative in the way that Mawaru Penguindrum is although I doubt much of it is anything more than an exercise in stylishness. Whatever, this is a lovely confection and makes other anime look pedestrian. The music and sound design is atmospheric and lush – the cicadas in the background as a warm soundtrack mixes classical and modern music with an eastern tinge to it. The voice actors sound like they’re having fun too!
Koto was voiced by Rie Kugimiya who nails the manic school-girl role and she has support from Aya Hisakawa who has voiced characters in classics like Fruits Basket, Ah! My Goddess, Azumanga Daioh and Dragonball Z. There’s also Kenichi Suzumura who voiced a character in Noein which I was watching this time last year – time flies.
As far as the lack of subtitles go? I found I was able to understand the characters. I’m used to wading through anime and films and was able to follow the events and action but even without the Japanese lessons behind me I still would have enjoyed the anime.
I just found the whole thing refreshing. It’s the sort of thing I can devour in a few weeks and not feel guilty over wasting time. I hope that Toei commission more episodes of this.