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[Short Peace]
AKA: ショート・ピース
Genre: Drama/Comedy/SciFi/Horror
Length: Movie, 69 minutes
Distributor: Licensed by Sentai Filmworks; HiDive for video streaming.
Content Rating: TTV-MA (Strong violence.)
Related Series: N/A
Also Recommended: Memories; Genius Party
Notes: See Synopsis

Short Peace


Anthology of four short films by different directors; 3 are set in past Japan, and a final one set in the future


Following a very short, dreamlike opening, we get into the four tales featured here:

In "Possessions", a wanderer takes refuge in an apparently abandoned temple, but it's only sans humans; it is, in fact, inhabited by tsukumogami, items once owned by humans that have acquired souls of their own. The tsukumogami have requests/demands to make of their human guest, but fortunately he may be up to the tasks they give him. This one has an hallucinatory feel, but it was nevertheless my favorite segment by far, as much for its charming ending as anything else. Directed by Shuhei Morita, of Tokyo Ghoul, of all things.

The second story, "Combustible", isn't so cheerful; but its sadness is compensated for by its unique style. I've never seen anything quite like this. Basically, the idea is to make the backgrounds look like old Japanese prints. Scenes are often done at a distance, which makes this very much look like little hand-drawn figures scurrying over the surface of an old tapestry. (Something I was wondering about here: I was always told that the Japanese aversion to tattoos was because of their association with the Yakuza, but do the Yakuza go back as far as the era depicted here?). Directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, from his own manga. (I can only assume the manga story ran a bit longer...)

Story #3, "Gambo", features a white bear/god being implored by a little girl to defeat a red troll/ogre that's been kidnapping village women for a purpose that trolls/ogres sometimes DO in exploitation manga. (WARNING: STRONG SEXUAL HORROR IN THIS ONE!) The monster's pretty tough, but some soldiers might lend a hand as well. My least favorite of the four. Directed by Hiroaki Ando.

Story #4, "A Farewell to Weapons" (NOT A Farewell to Arms?) features guys with high-tech arms fighting robots in an abandoned city set in a desiccated landscape. This is another one of those stories of a sort that tends to indulge the conventions of its genre (or its viewers) on the one hand, while sharply critiquing the same genre (or its conventions) on the other. I've found my own reactions to this sort of thing inconsistent, but I think it partly depends on whether the approach taken is a loving one (poking fun at the genre, but nevertheless showing it some respect), or condescending (the writer seeing themselves as above such "drivel", but having an attitude of, "Hey, you fools, here it IS!") The approach HERE is one of yes, we're delivering the visceral thrills of the genre, but the aim is NOT to insult the audience, but to merely demonstrate the futility of the thing, at least under these circumstances. (I kept thinking of Country Joe and the Fish's "And it's one, two, three, four, what are we fighting for?"). The ending of this one DRIPS with irony. Directed by Hajime Katoki, from another of Otomo's manga.

(Well, I DID say I was inconsistent; I've long been an admirer of Richard Corben's "Den" segment in the original Heavy Metal movie, even though that one deconstructed the whole Isekai genre before anime adopted it as a major thing, and it sort of DID insult the audience, depicting its fans (or at least Den himself) as dweeby teenagers who are into fantasy wish-fulfillment: "I could never have a girl like this in real life!". The fourth segment of Short Peace could, in fact, have fit seamlessly into Heavy Metal.)

The Recs are a couple of other anime anthology films.Allen Moody

Recommended Audience: Sentai says TV-MA, and with good reason. Mainly for the extreme violence of "Gambo", but "A Farewell to Weapons", despite its title, gives us plenty of continuing death from just that source.

Version(s) Viewed: HiDive video stream
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Short Peace © 2013 Katsuhiro Otomo/Mash-Room/Short Peace Committee
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