Posted by psgels on 23 August 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews




I’m a fan of the small and relatively unknown company APPP. Nowadays, they’re just busy doing (pretty excellent) inbetween animation for all sorts of series, but ten years ago they actually made their own array of series. Those series stood out because of their simple, yet very imaginative and original premises. Premises that include a runaway hospital bed, an angel and a devil caught in the same body, and yes. They were also the ones who went with the premise of a show focusing on a middle aged guy saving the universe with hard rock. They showed that you can create so many interesting stories without relay trying hard, if you’re just willing to just ignore conventions.

Kurogane Communication is the same: it’s premise is so deceptively simple: we have a girl who is the last living human on earth. There’s so much interesting stuff you can get out of that. The animation is simple, the budget is small, the story moves slowly and it doesn’t try to build up an overly complicated plot. We never really know exactly why humanity nearly died out beyond a few hints here and there. It’s really trying to be simple, yet engaging. And to me, it succeeded.

This series takes an in-depth look at loneliness. Haruka, the lead character, may live together with a bunch of robots, and while this is a series where robots can act just like humans, there still is something missing. The relationship she develops with them as she tries to live her daily life is the highlight of the series, especially with the robot who eventually takes up the position of a mother figure in her life. This show really takes a look at the nature of robots, even if they were to get enough artificial intelligence to become as smart as humans, and what it means to be alive. It’s definitely a unique little series (the episodes are also just 12 minutes long each).

Also helping are a top notch portrayal of the lead character, Haruka: she’s well acted and is a great lead character to follow. As for the rest of the cast, there is a bit of a catch here: they’re nearly all robots with various levels of artificial intelligence. The dumber ones can get on your nerves, but the creators did this intentionally, and over time their purpose in the series will become more than clear. The smart robots by the way are all great to follow.

It’s overall a heart-warming series that makes great use of its bleak themes. The storyline that pops up in the second half does come across as forced here and there, but it has good points that it wants to make, and it ends with a satisfying conclusion. The production values behind this one are low, so there are quite a number of distorted frames and the animation certainly does not look as good as APPP’s other series, but this is a series with its heart at the right place. If you want to watch a calming series that’s something different from usual, then this is an interesting recommendation.

Storytelling: 8/10 – At times it does get a bit forced, but it’s well paced, quiet, and interesting.
Characters: 9/10 – The strength of the characters lies in their simplicity, and how it still can create memorable relationships between them.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Simple and low-budget, but the great art and soundtrack are enough to not make this one a major flaw.
Setting: 8/10 – The premise of this show is pure gold. Simple, but so effective, and it shows that creativity is far from ran out. It’s deliberately vague on its details, and that gives it a very interesting effect.

Suggestions:
Uninhabited Planet Survive
Black Heaven
Omoshi Magical Theatre Risky Safety

4 Responses

  1. whoperson says:

    It’s been a few years since I made a list of my “top 10″ anime series, but this series always made the cut. When I saw the grade you gave it, I was wondering what you didn’t like about the series. After reading the review, I can’t really argue with the way you graded it, but I think this shows a weakness of grading by the numbers. This show has its flaws, but it somehow really connected with me. That’s what really counts in my book.

  2. ultama121 says:

    Err, wait… so I’m a bit confused, whoperson. You disagree with psgels’ rating citing this review as an example of how grading by numbers is a flawed concept because it doesn’t take into account personal connection. Er, what? I’m pretty sure that’s one of the points of writing a review (numbered score or not) to begin with–to illustrate how a work connected with a person or not at all. Psgels certainly incorporates his own personal connection and so does everyone else I know who reviews things. Plus, its not like the rating psgels gave was a shocker or anything. Go ahead and look at this anime’s page on MAL. The three reviews present are either 7s or 8s. And then go ahead and look at the average which happens to be a 6.75. It may have really really personally resonated with you, but that doesn’t seem to be the case for most people. You can hardly call that a flaw in the number rating system. >_>

  3. gandalf8 says:

    When you stated Kurogane Communication as the next old series you were gonna watch, I decided to follow suit as I also haven’t seen it yet. The first thing that strikes me upon watching this series is how they took a different take on the whole post-apocalyptic world type of story. Instead of showing the ugly side of the surviving humans as they fight for supremacy amidst the limited resources, this series instead takes a slice-of-life approach on the life of the (supposedly) only surviving human in the whole world with her 5 robot friends. Although the plot is decidedly simple, yet I was somehow completely sucked in as I watch the unfolding events surrounding Haruka, as she starts to come to grips with her status as the (supposedly) sole human on earth, and her 5 robot friends cum guardians.

    Nevertheless, there are quite a few weaknesses that bogged down this series. My major sore point was the aforementioned vague details on the setting of the post-apocalyptic earth. To you it might have given an interesting effect, but it really annoyed me no end as each episode goes by with no explanation in sight. The number one plot point that I wanted the most to be given an explanation of was why the robots around Haruka were so convinced at first that Haruka was the only human alive in the world. I mean, how can they know that for certain? Its a big planet, its not like they had any means of confirming it. The other major unexplained plot point was concerning the Flyers. When the robots first stumbled on Flyer, they seemed to be afraid that if its AI woke up, it would kill Haruka just because she was human, but the cockpit showed that it is piloted by human beings. At first I thought it was some alien machine that was programmed to kill humans, but then the AI told Haruka that it didn’t trust humans anymore, because its former human masters were arrogant b***tards who treated machines as only tools for war. So, I’m just left scratching my head as the story shifts direction with no explanation forthcoming.

    My other sore point was during the action sequences. I understand that this show isn’t about action, so I can forgive the average and unexciting animation. The problem is that during the so called “action sequences”, the characters act so pedestrian, as if their not running or fighting for their lives. Numerous times the robots, especially two of them, act like idiots during the most dangerous situations. In one scene, while they were being chased by a troop of hostile robots, a particular robot had the time to look at something that piqued his interest, and actually slowed down to look at it. In another, when the villain was trying to kill Haruka, she ran away, and the villain gave chase by “walking” slowly after her. While in the final confrontation between the 2 Flyers, why the heck did the “good” Flyer just stood motionlessly while the “bad” Flyer who was controlled by the villain shot hit after hit at it? Can’t it do any evasive maneuvers?

    In the end though, even if it had a few problems, overall I’m glad that I watched this series.

  4. sywen says:

    for me asell, it was a little to simple. but i can understand it as this show was aimed for children i believe :)

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  • Emma
    (Sunday, Feb 1. 2015 10:48 AM)
    This is a fairly minor complaint but in some older anime I always noticed “flashing light syndrome” and “Epilepsy visuals” , “Animes equivalent to flash photography”, it can sometimes bother me alot/hurt my eyes watching old shows, then again I am susceptible to epilepsy…
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Feb 1. 2015 09:14 AM)
    @Bam: Emotional involvement and rewatch value are very important to me in a film, which is my preference for synecdoche over birdman.
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Feb 1. 2015 04:05 AM)
    “Firechick, answer: Hell no. And don’t impersonate Bam. You suck at it.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Feb 1. 2015 03:05 AM)
    Yeah guys! Why aren’t you reviewing Go! Princess Precure?
  • Firechick
    (Sunday, Feb 1. 2015 02:51 AM)
    Is anyone gonna review Go! Princess Precure? I hear it just aired.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 11:14 PM)
    Synecdoche is incredibly rich in detail, and keen return viewers can find a lot of things they missed the first time thru. Kaufman didn’t have a single teacup in a shot that didn’t mean something. Pacing is a bit of an issue, but if you notice the passage of time you can see that was deliberate as well. The movie could’ve been livelier, but for a movie about death and decay that would’ve been a bit of a sell-out.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 11:01 PM)
    @Emma: Birdman and Synecdoche have a lot of thematic elements in common, and given that Synecdoche was released in 08 makes me realize that Alejandro González borrowed quite a bit from it; although in the end they are different enough to justify Birdman’s existence. Where Synecdiche was a better written movie, I feel that Birdman was the better directed one.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 04:15 PM)
    And I’d go as far to say this beats out birdman for me by miles.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 04:14 PM)
    The film is a solid mood piece thanks to the in tone cinematography, a great performance from Hoffman that along with his characters drama makes for an emotionally investing film. And before it gets TOO sad theres all those bits of dark humour fitted in there that work out pretty well. This is probably my favourite work by Kaufman currently.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 04:14 PM)
    Well Bam, I had a go of synecdoche there. A bit of a slow burner, near the end slightly drawn out, however that last stretch was forgiven by that bonkers ending.

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