Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Jul 28, 2009
Duration: 26 min. per episode
Rating: PG-13 - Teens 13 or olderL represents licensing company
Score: 7.471 (scored by 17135 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top anime page.
Oct 30, 2009
With Cencoroll though, the winds of creative change that were long thought becalmed, may have started blowing once more.
The anime is simply about a boy named Tetsu, a girl named Yuki, a mysterious amorphous blob with a transformation ability and eyes in odd places named Cenco, and a fight (kind of).
It sounds completely uninteresting right? That's what I thought too before I watched it, and to say I was extremely surprised by Cencoroll would be an understatement.
The anime is based on a one shot manga called Amon Game by Uki Atsuya, and it deviates from standard anime practices in almost every aspect, from plot to production. The story itself is laced with a large number of metaphors and symbols, some of which are easy to spot while others are far more subtle. While this can sometimes be a bad thing if used too much, in the case of Cencoroll it can, more often than not, promote discussion about the various references or symbolisms present in the anime, and more importantly, their usage within the context of the story. An example of this is the scene with the giant pudding that carries Tetsu for a while, which made me think "I wonder what King Kong would be like if it was made by Salvador Dali?". This is merely one of a large number of "I wonder.." thoughts that popped into my during the 27 minutes of this anime.
The entire show has a large dose of surrealness about it which is reinforced by the presence of Cenco and other "creatures" like "him". The symbols and metaphors present within the show also lend themselves to the overall sense of wierdness, and while the show can sometimes feel like it's overdosing on odd, it always manages to reel itself back to the main plot. That's not to say that the story is great though. It's too short to do any serious development in terms of plot or characters, which some people may find unfulfilling, however the show has a lot to offer if you approach it with an open mind.
Aside from the ED, which was produced by Supercell (an 11 piece doujin music group), the anime has almost no thematic music whatsoever. This lends the show a strange, almost eerie, feeling of calm (bordering on apathy). Unlike most anime that are reliant on music to heighten the impact of a scene, Cencoroll studiously avoids using such techniques for the most part. The impact of this is most apparent when one considers the characters in the show, and while some may find the lack of music a little disconcerting, leaving the major part of the anime free of music enhances the characters in a big way (more on this in a bit).
The one area where Cencoroll really separates itself from the crowd though, is in it's art and animation. While the character designs are a little on the plain side, they are extremely expressive, and their actions are well animated throughout the show. This, in particular, goes for Cenco's transformations which, although surreal, are extremely fluid. The backgrounds are very well rendered from start to finish, with some scenes reminding me of the stunning artwork from Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto ~Natsu no Sora~, and it came as a real shock to find that this level of quality was the work of one man.
That's right. You didn't misread me. Cencoroll is, aside from some bits of music, the work of Uki Atsuya, who wrote the screenplay, designed the backgrounds and characters, directed the show, and animated everything. In that respect it has a great deal in common with Hoshi no Koe, yet even this can't keep the show static for any length of time. Unlike Shinkai, Uki actually received the backing of Aniplex for the production of the film, something which made his job easier. This marks one of the first occasions where an established production company has backed a single person in this way, and while producing an anime alone may not be a rarity nowadays (there are hobbyist animators after all, who regularly publish their work on the internet), the ripples from Aniplex's decision will be felt in anime for years to come.
In terms of characters there is very little in the way of characterisation or development, which is due to the running time of 27 minutes. That said, there are those who would argue that the apathetic nature of the characters signifies that they are not believable in any way, which is a fair assessment for the most part. There is an argument in favour of the characters though, and that is the fact that they are teenagers. Consider, for a moment, that the majority of teenagers actually do display a degree of apathy, uninterest, boredom, etc, and one begins to understand the character's reactions in the show. While all three characters display a certain amount of boredom, Yuki also shows a good deal of curiosity during the first part of the show. In the case of Tetsu though, the strange occurences and wierd creatures are everyday occurences, so much so that they are no longer astonished by events, and this "boredom" with his daily routine is what is most emphasised by the lack of music.
Cencoroll is a surprisingly well designed show, so much so in fact that it managed to catch me completely off guard. There are a number of aspects to the show that deviate greatly from normal anime practices, with many of those deviations occuring as part of the story. There are also several scenes which are simply moments of creative genius, the giant pudding being one such moment, however the scenes that occur inside Cenco's stomach are also memorable for their oddness. Granted the story and the characters lack a good degree of development, but given that this is only one episode, and is mainly the work of one man, I believe such failings can be forgiven.
After all, many forgave those same failings in Hoshi no Koe, and while Cencoroll is decidely wierder than, well, most other anime out there, it also challenges the medium in a way that, in recent years, no other show has done.
Dec 18, 2009
For fans of Furi Kuri, Atsuya Uki has created the whimsical, slightly insane yet delicate short film Cencoroll. Uki certainly did an impressive job adapting his manga background for the big screen. While the 30 minute length leaves little time to fully develop a complex plot, Uki rose to the challenge with remarkable grace. Cencoroll never felt rushed and while none of my initial questions were answered, I found myself utterly satisfied with the ending. With a little bit for every watcher--action for the boys, two nonchalant semi-bishies (wink wink) for the girls and poetic storytelling for anime-snobs like myself--Cencoroll is a roller coaster that won't make you dizzy.
Moreover, in true stroke-of-genius fashion, Uki is able to capture a stylized art form and sound to give Cencoroll a voice of its own. The movements are of choppy but fluid quality and the sound blends perfectly into the production's texture. As expected for OVAs and the budget they normally receive, the drawings never seem half-assed. But unlike others, Uki is able to capture his manga roots within each snapshot, transition and moving scene. The result? A short film that lulls viewers into its sci-fi core with an unnatural serenity for its genre.
With such a short duration, it is well worth your time to see this lovely anime, which reassured anime-lovers that cartoons are not just for kids!
written for Minitokyo's Newsletter: MT-Maigetsu read more
Feb 21, 2013
Both works were original creations by Atsuya Aki, who created, wrote, directed, and animated (Yes, animated) this film alone.
The only help he had were the Seiyuu, Music, and production by Aniplex. I must say this first before I begin... Thank you Aniplex!
A giant alien shows up on top of a skyscraper, "A boy and his blob" watch over it, "There's another one, are you hungry? You're lazy today, huh?"
The boy's name is Tetsu Amamiya, he owns a blobby alien life form he named Cenco. Cenco can transform into any object imaginable.
There are many more people with the possession of aliens with similar, if not, more unique powers. You have to always be on your toes. Just like the mystery alien that formed on the skyscraper, what is it?
It's a simple story. But the execution, animation, and creativity make this film feel fresh and surprisingly original.
I have not seen artwork like this in an anime, except for maybe Tsuritama (Atsuya Uki was the character designer of Tsuritama).
The animation, character designs, and backgrounds bring out an atmosphere that is full of unique emotions.
The whole development has a feel like it is a piece of art.
There's no musical score in Cencoroll, just an ending theme. It was a good idea, and it fit the production very well.
The Seiyuu all did a great job voicing their respective rolls.
Same in the Sound effects department.
All the characters have that bored teenage mentality to them, but it is never to the point of annoyance.
It's almost like they are all at that stage between childhood and adulthood, there's just no emotion.
It's directed in such a way where it feels realistic and fits the production.
I knew that I was going to enjoy this show, but I enjoyed it even more than that. The atmosphere alone is worth it, and the artwork is just beautiful.
This man Atsuya Uki, really has talent.
This is a production I would purchase if it was possible.
It's very well thought out, and executed.
Keep on the look out for this one, it's a very original production worthy of the 30 minutes of your time. read more
Jan 12, 2011
Visually, Cencoroll is very pleasing. Everything feels like it was painted with watercolors and oil paints and even the outlines of the characters are not clear outlines. This gave to the feature an artistic feeling most suit for fluid animation. The setting of the story is a generic Japanese city and a typical school yet the colors made them feel special. Plus, half of the duration is battles between transforming critters. The action is very well done with lots of vitality and attention given to physics. Also, the monsters have a plethora of attacks that are not just laser beams that blow things up (a cheap way to show big explosions without actually animating anything) but grabbing and throwing objects, jumping, transforming and running. The same thing can be said about the characters, who although don’t do anything extreme still have a very pleasing body language most titles sacrifice in order to save money by making still images.
Acoustically, Cencoroll remains at the basics. There is almost no background music heard in the entire duration with an average pop song during the ending titles reminding you what you were not listening to all this time. I feel like the producers decided to leave out the music just to make the viewers focus solely on the characters and their talking. It is a neat trick but it takes more than that. The dialogues and the story were never anything special so the absence of music does help you to sympathize with the characters more while at the same time making you feel bored in case you want atmosphere. Beyond that, the voice acting was decent although as I said, the context of the dialogues was pretty standard stuff you see in stories with teenagers pairing with monsters, so it still feels blunt.
In the same manner, the story in Cencoroll is a fast forward summary of an average children-paired-with-monsters story. If you have seen Pokemon or Narutaru you know what to expect. Two kids control monsters and decide to have a showdown. How they found them or why they fight is almost not mentioned so all you are left to see is them fighting before the feature ends in an almost tie. Yes, it is an open ending, leaving room for a sequel. What must be made clear is that there are no other people present besides the main characters. The city feels empty even when the army stars bombarding the area. There are no bystanders running around in panic amongst all the destruction the monsters do. Well, there is one who just closes the window so big deal. Just like the music, the world in the feature seems to be given no attention so that the viewers will focus solely on the characters.
Speaking of characters, the cast in Cencoroll is pleasing to watch albeit generic. It is very interesting to see them moving and talking to each other with the lack of music or even a background story not distracting you from what they are doing. Still, their motivation is very blunt as is the reason they fight or acting so cynical all the time. This feature is so esoteric, you are supposed to do nothing other than looking at their mentality but not at their reasoning for being as such. The whole deal is basically four people, two males controlling and fighting, one female that keeps interfering for no given reason and her schoolmate female friend who is essentially not doing anything. So I say this feature wins in terms of portraying its cast in a wonderful way but does a messy job at actually explaining why they act the way they act. Maybe it is a pilot to a future series, maybe it didn’t matter for the producers. No matter the reason, the cast is nothing more than pleasing archetypes.
In all, Cencoroll is pleasing to watch but quite a bother to actually rewatch. It is so short and simple that you have little to gain by watching it again. Still, the first time will most likely please you to the most part with its artistic depiction and esoteric approach to its characters.
Narutaru read more
Jan 7, 2011
But I liked it.
Story: So... the story... is about alien transformer thingys and people who can talk to them with their hair? I'm not even 100% sure. But it was interesting.
Art: The art style was really cool. Detailed, interesting.
Sound: I liked the voice actors, the sound effects were great.
Characters: I liked all of the characters. Cenco is so cute X3
Enjoyment and Overall: I reccomend this, even if it's not your type of thing. I mean, come on, it's only 25 minutes, what's the harm? I overall really liked it.
Thanks for reading!
May 11, 2013
Feb 17, 2013