Tentacle-Free Anime: "Shelter" (2016) Review
- by Kazekun, 4 November 2016
We may only have 100 anime reviews behind us, but looking forward there's still thousands of anime left untouched. Obviously I can never go through all of them, but I will now begin focusing on a larger variety of genres and finishing up series reviews I started in the first 100 but never finished. The next stage of TFA is here and it's about new beginnings and tying up loose ends. Let's go!
If you've been anywhere on the internet lately – and not living under a rock – you may have heard about this little known music video that was recently released because it's been everywhere. From the minds and music of American DJ Porter Robinson and French DJ Madeon with animation from the Japanese Studio A-1 Pictures (Sword Art Online; Saint Young Men), Shelter is a 6-minute visual feast with a damn good story to boot.
Anime as music videos is nothing new and it's been around for far longer than many anime fans are probably aware – for reference, and I don't believe this is the first anime music video, Studio Ghibli animated a MV for the band Chage & Aska called On Your Mark in 1995. Someday we'll cover that.
Back to Shelter however, the story begins with a Rin attempting to move forward with her life she's living, as if something bad happened to her in the past, and we get to see her waking up in the morning and using a tablet to create an entire world every day outside her bedroom. Her drawings are crude but using her imagination the world around her is brought to life in stunning detail.
Watching Rin bring these worlds to life is fascinating and a concept that I would love – and I'm sure everyone else – to see be made a reality in our world one day. As the story progresses however things become much clearer as Rin begins to remember her past and the truth behind her world and why she's trapped the way she is.
We get shots of her past inter-played with her present self reacting to this new information. In a Superman style twist (or Dragon Ball Z if we want to keep it anime related) we find out that another planet was put on course to collide with Earth and as the days numbered her father – or at least we can assume it is her father – builds Rin, who's far younger in the flashbacks, a space pod that syncs up with her brain in order to create the visuals of the older present day Rin that is the subject of the video.
It's a great twist. And ironed home at the end when we get a shot of younger Rin still floating in her space pod waiting rescue with the possibility of never escaping her mental prison. This is a sad story tied up in a pretty looking bow and built around a dance song by Robinson and Madeon that connects to the story of Rin and her plight.
While Shelter s a great story with a fun, if not depressing, twist, the unfortunate part is the music itself. For it being a music video the music is a large portion of what makes it an experience so how odd it is that once Shelter is over with I completely forget about the music portion of it all. The story, the animation all stick with me far longer after I'm done watching it but the music... I literally have to go back and re-watch the whole thing just to be reminded of the music.
Overall, this amalgamation of ideas and cultures coming together to make a memorable, in some way, adventure in only 6 minutes is impressive merely on the principle alone and is worth your attention. It is a fun experience and something I recommend people who haven't seen this go and check it out. It's pretty easy to find.
Final Score: 4 Reality Warping Drawing Tablets out of 5
What do you think of the "Shelter" video? Does it deserve all the attention it's getting? Let us know in the comments!