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.