After being inspired by the fictional anime, "Luis Monde III", Mikiko "Kuromi" Oguro goes to animation school and and finally lands the job of her dreams at Studio Petit. Upon arriving, she meets the head of production. Unfortunately for her, he dies soon after meeting her and passes his position unto her. Now that she's head of production of "Time Journeys", it's up to her to rally up the lazy animator's and finish the second episode in a week.
I came into this curious about the animation process, and seeing the overall production depicted in a visual format helps with the impression even if parts can be dramatized. Yes, I have seen this OVA after watching my beloved Shirobako, and after finishing I can say that Animation Runner Kuromi does enough to stand on its own, even leaving me with a smile on my face.
The first thing I noticed was how over-the-top the show is, first in its rather dark humor depicting the harshness of the anime industry from the perspective of the production manager Kuromi. We see her coming in as a newbie, being dismayed by the comically impossible deadlines due to key animators not doing their jobs. Through learning the ins and outs of the process itself, her interactions with other strange, exaggerated personalities to get them to work is rather charming. The exaggeration serves in good effect both to convey that production managers have to cater to the artists as they are individuals, and also to just simply entertain as it is a comedy. The jokes hit where they needed to, and although I didn't laugh out loud or anything, I still enjoyed it. I'm glad the OVA didn't simply boil down to a sort of a wiki description that only happens to follow a story.
Moving on to art and animation, I do have some comments. Animation is very wild and energetic, which helped give off that impression I got of the OVA. Characters motions are overtly exaggerated to help characterize them and get us to care, as there are only 40 minutes in the episode to work with. If I had to compare it to a certain show, I'd say I got around the same vibe as FLCL in not the fight scenes. Now on the art, it's pretty standard for a 2001 show, although it is digitally colored. The styling is also a little dated, but characters are funky looking enough for them to stand out from the hundreds of other really generic spiky hair characters out there.
Sound, I haven't got much to say. In terms of OST, it felt like there were only three tracks played throughout the thing and on repeat. However, I didn't get sick of them, so that's fine. Voice acting, as far as the dub is concerned, is well done. The VAs effectively conveyed each character's wackiness, so no complaints there.
Overall, I didn't feel like I wasted my time on this and I even got some laughs all throughout. If you're at all curious about the animation process, I recommend that you take some time off your day and watch this thing. Even if you've already watched Shirobako.
Animation Runner Kuromi is cute, fun, and pretty hilarious too! The story begins when Kuromi starts her first day at work. Unfortunately for her, after her production manager faints from being overworked, she's forced to take his job and become the next production manager. This might not have been that bad if the animators weren't so lazy that they couldn't even be bothered to work at the studio most of the time. With a fast approaching deadline and barely any of the show animated, can Kuromi get it done in time?!?
The story itself is pretty basic. What really makes it shine are the jokes and references (look out for Lupin III *cough cough* I mean Luis Monde III) along with it's unique setting. Be careful, because you might actually learn a thing or two about the animation industry!
The art is very cute and chibi-esque. This often adds to the shows comedy via exaggerated movement. It's not particularly unique in any way besides being chibi, but all of the characters have interesting designs and don't all look the same.
The characters all have different personalities, and part of the story is about Kuromi trying to understand each one of them so that she can get the animators to do their jobs. The only characters who undergo any development are Kuromi and Hamako, but considering this is a 40 minute ova there doesn't really need to be much.
I watched the dub, which seemed to be pretty well done. The music never stands out, but it does it's job. Sound effects are pretty good too.
So basically, you really don't have a reason not to watch this. It's only 40 minutes long and extremely easy to find (wink wink, nudge nudge youtube.) Check it out if you get the chance!read more