Dec 29, 2021
(TLDR below, thanks for reading in advance)
The year is 1961.
Yōji Kuri publishes Acchi wa Kocchi (あっちはこっち).
Kuri, said to be an "influential figure in Japanese independent animation", known for his adult, experimental, dark and surreal style. Gave the world another very interesting piece of art to admire.
Acchi wa Kocchi is true Avant-Garde.
You have your typical avant-garde, the shitpost, the nonsense, the psychedelic trip, the cursed. Then there's a special find within Acchi wa Kocchi. It's all of the above but in its own nostalgic surreal way. What we find ourselves with is no ordinary thing that is simply shared amongst the crowd, but something that comes
across as this real experiment thought out, trying to mix and match and make do with nonsensical, illogical and unearthly ideas in the form of the origins of animation. Acchi wa Kocchi truly had no means to simply stick to its ground, literally. We find ourselves in for multiple moments of live-action and animation equally. Translating the title of the anime, you will find that the translation follows "Here and There", which in my eyes, felt as if it was referring to here, the anime, and there, the reality (which is actually confirmed in the description). Both sides of which offer something truly thought-provoking to deep for a minute or two. I'm not one to want to explode nonsense into some philosophical debate but to say that Acchi wa Kocchi had no artistic comments on some debatable topics would be equally as silly. There are clear indications of random garble as there are clear indications of the seemingly "meaningless" moments. The latter follows with content like people going to work (perhaps a social commentary), maybe even the sexual undertones that appear more frequently than I thought it would (but hey, welcome to avant-garde). It comes across as something to take as not just an experiment it makes itself to be, but an additional message to reflect on. As said, this anime doesn't stick to its ground. It goes everywhere trying to accomplish many many things. It is loveable in such a sense, and it is animation as such that really makes the medium more interesting compared to the traditional sense.
Obviously, this is a fossil compared to today's works in the production element. Though, for its time, the style is actually very unique. Just scrolling through the anime works of the 60s and it becomes transparent to see that this hasn't adapted the cute/moe features that were starting to make an appearance. The aesthetic here is blocky and far from a real human, yet also close to the idea of one. It is an intentionally cartoony distortion of reality that complements everything this work had going for itself in the beginning; it brings a lot more out of the surreal logic present. The same is with the audio here. Very real and everyday sounds that are just that, as if someone were trying out a soundboard for the first time. This of course has a majority disparity in effect with what present-day people are used to, but this works well as a product of its time and as a product of its experimental nature. So both ways go for praise. All in all, it's something I would indeed call a good piece of art in the production.
TLDR: A good experimental movie with the ideal amount of random and meaningful messages. A good piece of art of its time.
What was thought to be lost media ended up just being something of a rare source that was just waiting to resurface again. Was it worth the unintentional wait? Honestly, that is not for me to decide for everyone. I quite like old works as I do new ones and just to slip it in in this paragraph, this is enjoyable stuff if you love shorts that make you go "wtf" or if you just like unorthodox obscurity. However, with it gaining the status of "lost media", it suddenly became dependent on an individual as to whether they wanted to forget this and pursue the older stuff that is still available or if they'd wait until the end of time trying to grasp this one movie. Regardless, I'd recommend this movie for the completionists or those who want a spark in their anime viewing life. It is very good stuff here when all is said and done, and one thing is for sure.
Acchi wa Kocchi, is indeed, true Avant-Garde.
(Moral of the story: don't trust Reddit posts, I guess.)
What did you think of this review?