The 2nd Dimension

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Viewing Journal: Animation Runner Kuromi (complete)

OAV Overview
DVD Info

Overall= B+
Story = B+
Video = B
Audio = B


After being inspired by the fictional anime, "Luis Monde III", Mikiko "Kuromi" Oguro goes to animation school and and finally lands the job of her dreams at Studio Petit. Upon arriving, she meets the head of production. Unfortunately for her, he dies soon after meeting her and passes his position unto her. Now that she's head of production of "Time Journeys", it's up to her to rally up the lazy animator's and finish the second episode in a week. (Source: ANN)

If anime production is really run like it is in Animation Runner Kuromi, then it would seem that everything just just total stress and chaos all the time. But this 2-episode OAV presents that insanity with a tone of lighthearted fun that makes it easy to enjoy.

For fans of anime, this OAV can be at least somewhat insightful because it shows that animators have to answer to some harsh realities. Not that this is exactly a documentary, and I'm not sure how much of it is technically accurate, but even looking at it as a sort of parody or caricature of the true nature of animation production can be enlightening. If nothing else, it presents what kind of factors can lead to variation in animation quality; such as what artist is working on a particular scene, exporting in-between animation overseas, and especially time constraints.

Another challenge that Kuromi has to conquer is dealing with all the different personalities of the animation staff. For instance, her major issue is getting all of the key animators to complete their work. It seems that most all of them have some excuse for why they can't get the work done, and the one guy who does consistently have everything ready on time is a horrible artist, so the director has to redo all his artwork anyway. Kuromi has to learn how to work around these personalities to keep "Time Journeys" on schedule.

Of course, the educational benefit of the show (if there is any) isn't the only thing that makes it worth watching; it's seeing how Kuromi is going to topple all of these seemingly insurmountable obstacles to complete the production so the series can air on schedule. It's also fun to watch the wide variety of colorful characters with quirky personalities and how they each deal with the stress. I especially liked how the animation director Aoi tried to give up smoking in the second episode and as a result she would unconsciously stick random objects in her mouth to deal with it.

The animation quality is top-notch. The designs are simple and colorful adding to the fun tone. The music also adds to the upbeat tone.

So overall I really loved this show and recommend it for any animation fan who is curious about what life at an animation studio might be like, or anyone who is just in the mood for a lighthearted, short series with a well-rounded and quirky cast that is easy to cheer for.

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