Ryo is about the son of a samurai who lost his parents during the attack of English ships on a Japanese town who is given the name Ryo and becomes the bodyguard of Ryoma Sakamoto, a man who has his own plan to fight for the country.
Ryo is a 2013 short that's a part of a project known as Anime Mirai (Young animator training project). These shorts are essentially sponsored platforms that are used to help up and coming animators by providing funding and are usually produced by various studios.
Now being an animated short doesn't imply that it can't tell a coherent story, or atleast execute a premise properly enough in order to draw intrigue into wanting to see more. You don't even have to look far, as two successes that emerged from this same program were Little Witch Academia and Death Billiards. With Academia garnering enough acclaim to have
a 2nd installment and Death Billiards giving rise to the popular Death Parade. They both manage to establish their setting, gave us an interesting premise and piqued the viewer's curiosity for more.
Unfortunately this is where Ryo failed. Not to say it didn't have the making for a good show but rather the execution of it is what caused it to dig its own grave. Set in Edo period Japan and giving off a strong traditional aura, Ryo had many avenues it could of taken. With themes of war, revenge, trust and betrayal, the formula for a great period piece samurai flick was there. With such a limited runtime the show made the biggest mistake by trying to incorporate all these themes in one swoop. This led to a unengaging disjointed story riddled with timeskips. It isn't hard to piece together what they were going for but the time restraint worked against it. In the end it felt like a long messy trailer for a period piece drama. If it took a more simplified approach and set a clear focus on one theme is wouldn't have been a problem. Having multifaceted themes is only good if it doesn't spread the show's potency too thin.
To put it as simple as possible, this was a short that bit off more than it could chew.
Ryo is one of the four anime from Anime Mirai 2013 (Young animator training project).
I'm going ahead and say that this short is probably one of the worst of the Anime Mirai’s shorts, but lest start with the actual review.
The story itself is a little strange and quite difficult to understand, from what I read and from the title the story should focus around a boy, who lost his parents, who is given the name Ryo by Ryoma Sakamoto.
He then follows Sakamoto as his bodyguard during his journey to revolutionize Japan.
As for what I saw the story put Ryo on the side and take Ryoma
Sakamoto as the main character and managed to never explicitly tell what he did.
After the first time I’ve watched Ryo I searched for Ryoma Sakamoto and read everything I could, then I’ve rewatched it and I have to say that I enjoyed it a little bit more than the first time.
I see this anime as recap of a 13 episode series, if you watched the entire episode you have an idea of what is going on otherwise you can’t understand anything, and since the series doesn’t exist you are screw.
The characters are practically non-existent, the “main character” Ryo does not have a personality after seeing the anime you know nothing about him.
Ryoma Sakamoto and his wife really existed and I think they are portrait really nicely in the anime, there are some touches that made you recollect their actual life, and they are probably the only comedy elements in all of the anime.
The only other character that I should mention is Ryo’s brother that is introduced in the start of the anime and then forgot until the end.
The sounds are nice, the music is nothing spectacular but it is good, the only issue that I had was that, in some points, the voice of the character that was talking was covered by the background sounds, but I hope that that was a problem on my end and not on the anime itself.
The animation is good but absolutely not on par with “Little Witch Academia” or “Death Billiard”, the backgrounds are particularly well done even if they don’t have a lot of details.
Overall this is an average anime, it’s only one episode so you can probably watch it anyway, I strongly recommend reading about Ryoma Sakamoto before watching Ryo, and this should mitigate the negative aspects of the story.
On a side note I'm not really good when I have to write a review so if you have any advices feel free to contact me. I'm always open to criticism.
Being a single episode anime obviously has its limits, and this anime was no exception to the rule. However, when compared the the other three anime in Anime Mirai 2013, I definitely feel that this one fell short.
My biggest problem with this anime stemmed from the story itself. Personally, I felt it was very disjointed. Although I get that there was a large time skip in between scenes, it just seemed too abrupt and not as connected as it should. Another problem I had with the story is that I just didn't comprehend it as well as I think I should have. This probably
stems from the fact that I know nothing about Japanese history, however, I believe this should have been put in mind when this anime was being created. There are many non-Japanese viewers, and I could barely follow the storyline.
The characters were something else. There wasn't much characterization, and Ryo's character felt a bit flat to me. By the end of it, I felt short changed.
Art and Sound were alright. This whole anime wasn't bad, but it wasn't anything special. It was simply mediocre.
Ryo was one of the four films of Anime Mirai 2013 (Young Animator Training Project), a project funded by the Japanese government's Agency of Cultural Affairs in order to support training animators.
I stumbled upon a lot of sci-fi shorts following the same program, but this is a first for me, feudal Japan was always a great plot setting for me, I just love the mythologies and even the core culture itself, but with this short, I got more than I bargained for...
The story follows a young samurai boy who goes through a very warm yet unfamiliar experience after he lost his parent due to
war that was caused because of the shaky relationship between Japan and England, the event all happen during feudal Japan, somewhere briefly the modern way of life has begun to expand throughout the world.
You really get to see the emotional state of the children that have no choice about their future but to become a literal killing machine, our Protagonist, who is named Ryo by this guy he idols, gets to experience the kind life that his master and father figure provides him with until of course, yet another time, a tragedy brings his newly formed family to the bedrocks.
- Art (7.5/10):
I'm found of this gloomy like atmosphere of a tone, it environment tend to lack the bright colorizations, but that really helps the morality of the story get some reveal, so no wonder, the characters anatomies are pretty realistic for such a stereotypical feudal Japan-centered show, it already reminds me of a great deal of other similar shows.
- Sound (8/10);
The ambient soundtrack really does shine on this one, I can't help but feel to the characters when I hear those gentle yet cruel symphonies patting my ears, and the ending song is no difference, I miçght aswell download that work of art and have a listen to it daily, without shifting our focus to the voice acting, that aspect is really well done too, no overkill of any sorts, and of course, no complaints from me as well.
- Character (7/10):
The sole problem for me was that most of the characters looked very similar to one another, I had a hard time distinguishing them apart, which really left me pausing the movie every now and then, which is, in fact, annoying and very distracting from the flow of the story, which is fast-paced.
For such a short animation, there was a great noticeable character development, the shy and silent boy you get to start the movie with is no longer the same by the end, one other cool thing is the unique character treats, remember how I nagged about how similar the main cast is? well, it was life-saving having to tell them apart by seeing how they act and speak.
- Enjoyment (8/10):
I'm a sucked for a good historical show, was it historically accurate or not, the opportunity to compare the current presentation with that of the past is just a lot of thoughts and wonders, and I'm all for that.
I completely liked the flow of the story, it made me really wanna invest more time into a more episodic adaptation of this source material.
- Overall (7.5/10):
I most definitely not going to bring this one movie on my daily anime discussion, but if I had to pick a fast, easy to follow feudal Japan show, this one will probably slip unconsciously from my mouth, It's still a decent show, very short, no emphasis or anything, but if you had some spare time for another refreshing story, here's one for you.