Posted by psgels on 14 July 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews, Genius Party



Genius Party gathers many different people with many different talents to create shorts. With Limit Cycle, this is monologues. It’s basically 20 minutes of monologue about religious and philosophical topics. Its director is Hideki Futamura, who isn’t really a big name. He worked on a bunch of the Animatrix shorts, did key animation for movies as Junkers Come Here, Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust and Perfect Blue, and he directed Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. He’s definitely someone with talent, and here he finally gets to prove again what he can do.

In these twenty minutes of nothing but talking however, he makes the classic mistake that you can do with these kinds of shorts: he forgets to put anything into context. What we have right now is some random guy who rambles on about life, death, immortality, religion, et cetera. I just had one question on my mind, though: “what’s the point?” Why is this guy delving into philosophy? What does he want to achieve?

You see, the thing is that right now you have a string of dialogue of a level that even I could have come up with. Just give me enough time to quote a bunch of famous philosophers who talked about life, immortality and religion, and voila! This isn’t intelligent, this is just plain random. I think that what the director should have done is that he should have looked more at good examples, in which endless strings of dialogues and monologues do work. Most notably, if he watched Mamoru Oshii’s short on Twillight Q, or Mouryou no Hako, he would have gotten a good idea of what he needed to do to put some meaning behind these words. And give them impact.

Still, a complete waste of time this isn’t, because thankfully the visuals are utterly gorgeous. Along with Dimension Bomb, Limit Cycle definitely has the best aesthetics of all the shorts of Genius Party, and that has to say something. The compositions, character-designs, use of colours, and filters, all come together wonderfully along with great character-designs. If anything, the images were much more thought-provoking than the dialogue!

Anyway, to wrap up Genius Party: it really was a great opportunity to see so many different talents and styles, together in one package. These compilation movies of different short stories have been there before, but never in this scale, with so many different movies and I can only hope that Studio 4C (or any other studio for that matter) is going to continue making more of these, because I really enjoyed sitting through even the lesser ones.

As for my favourite ones, my top three consists of Dimension Bomb, Toujin Kit and Baby Blue. These three are definite works of art and really succeeded in what they set out to do. The other shorts also all have their own merits in their own single way.

Storytelling: 7/10
Characters: 6/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 7/10

3 Responses

  1. PL says:

    What bothered me about this one, as a trained philosopher and literary critic, is that there was no argument to his dialogue, just literally rambling on several topics loosely tied together. Sometimes he even contradicted himself, and not in a meaningful way, like Derrida or Heidegger, who use contradictions to point to something else. At the end, I was so confused by what he was even trying to convey that any power the imagery had was wasted because I had to focus so hard on the monologue in order to not just drift off. It might actually be an improvement to rip the audio from this one, lay some techno on top of it, and just watch the pretty colors.

  2. Sheepdude says:

    I think the short deals more with limit cycles and deterministic chaos than the philosophic and religious talk. Not that I claim to understand the context.

  3. Dan Yellow says:

    After reaching the half way mark, my threshold, and reaching the conclusion that there undoubtably is no cohesive logic, I assumed there had to be logic in reflection.

    my interpretations started as a reflection on the hierarchy of content where god claimed prominence. I thought that the aimless stream of consciousness was a communication method allowing for viewers to formulate the presented patchwork logic into something they could understand and believe much like religion or the idea of god – connecting dots/ideas or things without meaning and forming meaning.

    My other interpretation was that this stream of consciousness is a mode of reflection before suicide. Presenting the minds thoughts as encrypted unstable logic as affirmation to conclude the characters life. There were scenes that could support this idea and perhaps the title.

    Perhaps schizophrenia is another option ( wouldn’t it be awful if your vision to communicate a complex series of logic was dismissed as trying to communicate schizophrenia :)

    Ever interpretable perhaps? sounds like reality and varying ideas of life and truth. – poetry snaps –
    Or perhaps an attempt at something intellectual for intellectual’s sake.

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  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 07:21 AM)
    All thats left now is macross 7.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 07:20 AM)
    However this one begged to go on for more than just five episodes, come on now and it had the franchises penchant for weak villains. It doesn’t get me as emotional as do you remember love does, the characters of Macross plus were more likeable. Still its a step above Macross II and I at least had fun with it on an action level.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 07:17 AM)
    Thats Macross zero completed then, it was great to see the background arc/plot for this franchise, the pace is tight and the action is arguably the most immersive, well done of the Macross universe along with Frontier.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:33 AM)
    While Tatami Galaxy and Ping Pong were definitely sharp I felt that Kemonozume and Kaiba were more inventive.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:30 AM)
    Aye,it was the visual style of the film being so different from the norm that drew me in. Still out of Yuaasa’s stuff I found myself more taken with tatami galaxy.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:22 AM)
    I think creatively the anime industry has plateaued a bit by now, where we see more derivative stuff and there has a formed an almost universal “anime style” which hinders non-traditional voyeurism.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:18 AM)
    I love the tonal whiplash that the story goes thru and the then-impressive-and-new visuals. Both 4°C and Hifana take queues from the Kansai art and the underground graffiti styles that prospered in Japan after the 70’s. Parallel to the postmodern movement in the Western world, the new wave was more expressive than fine and you see its heavy influence on the manga and anime industry.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:14 AM)
    @Bam: It is at the last stretch on the film where it is at its strongest visually in my opinion.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:10 AM)
    @Bam: For only 100 minutes it did a decent enough job on its protaganist in any case.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:02 AM)
    Mindgame is amazing. It is as unorthodox as they come but not really pretentious. It’s pretty humble and does have an actual message and proper story arc, so it’s definitely not just random for random’s sake. The industry needs more Yuasa.

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