Grasshoppa!

Posted by DiGiKerot in One shots at April 9, 2007 on 7:45 pm

The original Grasshoppa! DVDs were a series of four short film collections released way back in 2002. Having been released back in 2002, availability is now somewhat spotty, as I recently discovered when I went ahead and ordered a bunch of them and only ended up with the third.

As far as these things go, the third volume is probably the best to own if you only have one of them – aside from it having what is probably the best of the Studio 4c short film series Sweat Punch, it also has a short live action film of truly epic proportions directed by a little known guest director. A guest director whose fans can probably identify just from the font he uses.


I’ll come back to that later. Well, the obvious side effect of getting just the third volume is that, well, the serial films are really hard to follow – the Madhouse-produced Trava: Fist Planet may be visually striking, but its incredibly surreal at the best of times, Hal and Bones just seems to be a pair of CGI dogs prattling on about nothing in particular (though I’m not sure having seen the rest would make that any more interesting), whilst Frog River just left me lost. That said, I’m not really convinced I’m missing anything.

Trava: Fist Planet


Hal and Bones

Getting back to the stuff what was actually worth watching on here, this volume had the third of Sweat Punch short movies, known as “Comedy”. Being of only 11 minutes of length (and that’s including the ending credits), the story isn’t particularly epic or anything – during Ireland’s War of Independence, a young girl seeks to enlist the aid of an eccentric swordsman who only accepts books of a particular genre as payment.



Comedy

What makes Comedy worth watching is that, well, it’s Studio 4c – not that they actually produce much that is particularly popular amongst the wider anime community, given their short film focus. Whilst they have produced a few movies (including the wonderful Magnetic Rose segment for Memories), and a few of the Animatrix shorts, the only TV anime they’ve done was Mahou Shojo Tai. In any case, as with much of 4c’s output, the animation here is simply gorgeous, and the atmosphere is palpable. It’s a really beautiful piece.



As for the other thing worth watching, well, that one is a whole lot odder. Ryusei-kacho is a short live action piece directed by Hideaki Anno of all people. On Japans busy public transport network, this film informs us, there are two kinds of people – those winners who manage to get a seat, and the losers who have to stand. To avoid being a loser, commuters go to such extreme lengths as flinging their young children into place, or waggling their sexy asses.

Legend tells of a mythical middle manager who, in his whole life, has never once had to go without a seat.

Ryusei-Kacho is about brilliant as it is utterly, utterly weird. The viewer is subjected to a barrage of hilariously bad special effects as our hero faces off against the sexy Maria in a challenge to secure the last seat on the busy, late night train – our hero backflips, flys and, errr, pile drivers his opponents from orbit. Crazy it may be, but it’s epic in it’s hilarity value.



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