The great thing about one-off anime stories is that they allow creators to experiment with story and art, and we often get beautiful little stories like “Voices of a Distant Star.” Sentai Filmworks recently released a nice little science fiction double feature. While it doesn’t quite hit “Voices” heights, it’s not a bad way to spend an hour, especially with the first story.
“Coicent” is a colorful, beautifully animated version of the old boy-meets-genetically-engineered-robot-girl story. In the 26th century, Shinichi’s class is headed to a celebration in the rebuilt 21st century city of Nara. There, he’s basically kidnapped from a shrine by an exceedingly aggressive white deer.
As they leap through the city, they encounter HRF12, an escaped genetic experiment based on centuries-old DNA. She prefers to be called Toto. She’s being chased by her creator and the woman’s two bumbling sons.
So it’s a bit of a chase story with some young love and humor thrown in for good measure. It leaves lots of questions unanswered, but gives enough for a satisfying story in the confines of its time limit. The animation is quite lovely with unobtrusive CGI and spectacular vistas.
“Five Numbers” tries to be a bit more of a thriller. Four criminals wake up in a vast, deserted prison. There’s no power, and computers are out. Then there’s the weird old guy and his cat.
Why were they chosen? Where, exactly, are they? Who knows what about their situation and what are they hiding from the rest?
It’s a nifty little story with a twist ending, though nothing special. The animation, unfortunately, brings it down. The CGI people move awkwardly. One character in particular lurches around like a zombie, more than you’d expect even though he walks with a cane.
Overall, I’d say the pair is certainly worth a rental. The price ($30 for DVD, $40 for Blu-ray) is a bit steep for two half hours. But don’t miss out.