Daru, a stuffed toy, is dropped by her owner when her mother grabs her in a frantic pace to catch their flight. As the toy comes to life, it sets out on an amazing journey to reunite with its owner.
Short stories are often the most difficult to review, because their messages -- if they have one -- are over almost as fast as they begin. Traveling Daru's story lasts for ten minutes, but its span goes on for a lot longer than that. Then again, there are some shows out there who has managed with even less. I've already gone through On Your Mark, who earned its accolades with around seven and a half minutes and a song. But as stories go, maybe that's an apt comparison.
Because much like On Your Mark, Traveling Daru wants you to recollect a feeling. But in lieu of On Your Mark's more even unveiling of its payload, Traveling Daru's entire first half feels more like a travelogue.
It's with this the animation company really gets to show its chops. Its character visuals does come across as curiously simple -- Daru himself looks like one of those stumpy, odd little creatures you'd encounter in Ghibli's movies as some kind of spirit, and he literally brings the world to life as he (I'm assuming Daru is a male here) encounters animals, toys and souvenirs, and literally have conversations with them in his efforts to find and reunite with its owner. Said conversations can't really be heard, though, because aside from two spoken lines at the very end of the short, Traveling Daru has no dialogue and barely any sound effects. The audio is being supplied by a lot of musical shorts, all of them instrumental.
The thing that will most likely blow you away, though, is the downright astounding background art. Daru's journey literally takes him all over the world -- from various cities, to the countryside, to... heck, even Antarctica, among the penguins and the coiling northern light. A lot of the landmarks in this short should be familiar to a lot of people, regardless of whether they've actually been there. It's actually almost criminal in that you'll be too busy gawking at the pretty scenery porn to remember Daru's plight. I mean... just look at this. And then try to imagine how awesome it might look in motion.
Of course, Daru's story will probably be too simple for some people. It's got a sentimental streak a mile wide, so that's something you need to be able to appreciate as well. If you do, however, prepare to be delighted, and maybe even a little bit surprised, by this lovable little short. It's the perfect, sugary little treat for when you're feeling down.
Short, but cute. Add one star if you really love scenery porn. Detract one if you're not one for sentimental stuff. — Stig Høgset
Recommended Audience: This show have absolutely nothing objectionable in it. Nothing.
Version(s) Viewed: Digital stream from Crunchyroll.
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Traveling Daru © 2012 CoMix Wave
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