Posted by psgels on 27 July 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews, Genius Party


Call me crazy, but Baby Blue has been the best of the short movies from Genius Party for me so far, but then again, with such a stellar storyteller behind the direction (Shinichiro Watanabe, who directed Samurai Champloo and Cowboy Bebop; the guy really should release another series), this was to be expected. Watanabe also directed Detective Story and Kid’s Story in the Animatrix, so he knows what it takes to make a good short story, which he shows in these fifteen minutes.

Baby Blue is very much away from all of his other works, and it’s basically like Doorbell a tale about high-schoolers. This one went right where Doorbell failed, though, by providing adequate background for the two central characters, and at the same time there’s this continuous down-to-earth atmosphere. All movies of Genius Party have a message, and the message of this one works out really well when it gets revealed.

The characters really shine, despite the very quiet mood, backed up by some lovely guitar-solos. There is a small hint of romance, I guess, but it smartly stays away from being a Makoto Shinkai rip-off/wannabe with its daring storytelling, but the thing that really shines in this series is its characters.

Storytelling: 8/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 8/10

7 Responses

  1. mai says:

    We agree on this one, this is my favorite out of them :) I was quite touched with the characters, especially the last few minutes of the animation.

  2. Adrastea says:

    I third that.
    I watched the 7 episodes at the fantasia film festival and like this on the best.
    I like the music, and as mai said the last few minutes where very beautiful.

  3. Daniel says:

    Having also seen the film at the Fantasia film festival, I may have to be the lone dissenter and state that “Happy Machine” was, by far, the best short film in Genius Party by far and I am puzzled by those who think otherwise, but…in the end, it’s just my opinion.

  4. Ilsa says:

    the best story. i’m amazed how by such simple story and with limited time it is possible to create something that amazing. maybe because i have experience of leaving, i got so much overwhelmed by the amazingness of parting depicted here- perfect amount of bittersweetness.

  5. Windspirit says:

    Call you crazy ? Why ?
    Shinichiro Watanabe + Yoko Kanno + Studio 4C = WIN.

  6. Loba says:

    Caught it at animation nation 2008, really really good.

  7. Josh says:

    The soundtrack to this short was pretty phenomenal. As to be expected from Yoko Kanno, I guess!

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  • Bam
    (Monday, May 25. 2015 05:54 AM)
    The episode was alright and felt dense as I watched it, but in hindsight only really moved the plot forward incrementally. Lancer not untying Tohsaka as soon as he killed Kirei and then not killing Shinji when he clearly had the chance left a bad taste in my mouth. That and Shirou’s heavy plot armor at this point is becoming reminiscent of another famous anime dual-wielder. Not a compliment.
  • Bam
    (Monday, May 25. 2015 05:46 AM)
    UBW 20 felt like another rendition of Eva 26 (Take care of yourself), complete with character analysis, battle with one’s Jungian Shadow, and loosely Buddhist ideas of self-actualization. It even featured the repetitive monologue shots that fade to black (with “I saw Hell” instead of Rei’s “Sky. Red, red sky”). It never went as far as Eva with “which way is up?” type of Soliloquy, but that’s probably a good thing.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:48 AM)
    Ashura was an excellent example of how to through anime illicit and emotional response in an honest, non-melodramatic way.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:46 AM)
    @Bam: I’d be more than happy to take a look at some of those shorts anytime.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:44 AM)
    @Emma: there’s a lot of European animators that got active in the last 10 years or so that are really reinvigorating their animation scene, and every now and then I get introduced to some fabulous shorts.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:40 AM)
    @Emma: no I don’t really mind gory ‘for the fuck of it’ violence, I even like it in some grindhouse type of works, but I just don’t think it’s always effective as a shock factor. Live-action is the most sympathetic for obvious reasons, but there are animated works that do elicit a deep response. Probably because of circumstances but also the details of the in-between animation, which can induce certain feelings of disgust.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:39 AM)
    *here and there
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:35 AM)
    @Bam: I really wish there was more arthouse anime now to give some kind of a balance to everything thats out these days.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:33 AM)
    Now I like my exploitation every so often, but yes Bam I really do wish that adult and mature storytelling could be better associated with truly, more pure mature themes.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:25 AM)
    I get choked up over Bergmans cries and whisper and Autumn sonata, I look back on a work by Key and Jun Maeda and wonder, think of how silly it looks to me now.

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