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Past the Checkered Flag

After watching Cencoroll two years ago, I recall feeling cheated. What I saw was completely different from what the two trailers I watched months earlier promised to deliver. These two trailers (here and here–watch them as a reminder) boasted hip and snappy pop music, deceptively simple monster designs, colorful, if a bit rough art and some bits of impressive animation. You know that the film was something to look forward to once you watched the two trailers–that’s how effective they both were. Ho-hum character designs aside, the short anime felt to me like a treat before even watching the whole thing. And the clincher? Cencoroll was apparently another solo animator work. All of that early thrill turned into a massively disappointing heap of bland composition/direction, meager bits of actually interesting animation, and sleepy, lifeless atmosphere. The final product wasn’t anything like the trailers. Even the likable music got removed. The one selling point of the film that I thought couldn’t possibly be tampered with got cut, except for the catchy ED.

As a fair bit of consolation from Anime Innovation Tokyo, the anime is getting a second shot. Whether they actually do put out a remotely likable film this time, I’m not so sure now, but still I appreciate the effort if only because these don’t come around everyday. Though I have to ask: if they were planning to put out two episodes of the anime to begin with, why didn’t they just combine the two into a full-length feature? It would have raised AIT‘s stock even more with the audience, and would have given them more publicity. Hedge your bets into one make-or-break product and see where it goes. Not only would it build confidence in the audience, it would also show that you do trust the actual creator himself. Putting out a disappointingly mediocre pilot episode and hiding behind the reasoning that “at least there’s a part 2” isn’t a very good way of making an impact, at least in this humble blogger’s opinion.

 

pilot episodes, pilot episodes everywhere

 

Tailenders (Anime Innovation Tokyo, Picograph)

Still, you can’t fault me for expecting good things to come from Anime Innovation Tokyo‘s next effort, Tailenders. I mean, just looking at this picture above tells you that it’s hip, stylistically sound, and it’s just oozing cool from everywhere. Even though it’s hardly unique in terms of art and style, I thought it was going to be fun. I didn’t catch a trailer for this one too, so I hadn’t had any expectations as to what it could be. Thinking about it again, I realize that it was a nice way to approach Tailenders, for it wouldn’t have lived up to whatever expectation I could have had of it. Much the same way as with Cencoroll, really–which was too bad.

 

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