Aug 4, 2022
If I were rating solely based on the animation, I'd give this a bit higher. It has some roughness in a manner characteristic of independent net animation, but the character motions, the rain, etc., are depicted in a very pleasing manner, and any amount of rawness just makes it feel more... soulful; it's certainly better than stiff, poorly animated TV series. No serious complaints there. The deity's sparkler scene and hopping through the water are especially nice in terms of movement and camera, as well as the bike/rain scene.
The character art is kind of generic, but works fine to generate motion. The deity looks
like some kind of loli pokemon with green skin and pink dimples; I'm not sure if the main stumbled upon her at random, or if she was playing Pokemon Go in the rain. Backdrops are probably the weakest visual element, and certain scenes have CGI.
There's no sound and this is a silent film, but there is a song that's kind of fitting, yet it also feels a little odd, sounding like multiple songs layered together and sometimes even a bit amateurish, but it carries a certain energy that melds nicely with the animation, becoming more intense, as is needed, while other times it's a fuzzy ambient piece. Glitchy vocals accompany the parts that are supposed to be sad. Not a bad song, but I don't entirely feel like it hits all of the right notes for the short.
Thematically and emotionally, I don't see much of an appeal. It's simple enough. The deity grows weak and dies as the shrine is destroyed, and in typical fantasy fashion, she was probably becoming weaker before the shrine was being demolished, as the modern age is one lacking in religiosity or spirituality.
The main kidnaps the deity and takes her home, does fun things with her like play baseball and, uh, run around with sparklers. They bond, but I don't really feel it. Actually, it might be because the deity looks like a wind-up doll. Like, I don't think there's anything in that noggin. There's no there there. The brain already died, I guess. Only the main character really reacts to anything. It's like a grown adult pretending to bond with a wind-up doll, trying to create the imaginary friend she always wanted, to no avail. The only time the deity feels alive is during the aforementioned INTENSE animation scenes, which have nothing to do with the main.
If anything, they don't so much as bond, as the main becomes dependent on the deity for meaning. The deity is just a symbol, and she is used up by the main character, relied on, and becomes the center of the main's existence to distract from a meaningless life. She forces her to play with sparklers and it's like a metaphor for the deity burning out of existence. She apparently even chucks her across a body of water like a stone. Is this part of the point? Maybe, but we still have the problem of the deity being a predictable symbol above and beyond a character. Most pets in anime—symbolic or otherwise—have more personality.
Amusingly, I think some people were theorizing about whether or not some of the activities of the main were having an impact on the deity (beyond speculation above), and that led me to think of how maybe the deity doesn't like yuri, and so the main forcing CPR on her and spitting into her mouth killed her. I don't personally think the themes work very well in tandem with anything remotely sexual or romantic, yuri or otherwise—yeah, yeah, fine, do Ah! My Goddess! if you want to, but it feels poorly integrated considering these are just thin character sketches with no personality whatsoever. It's a little crass, and the toilet scene is, too—imagine depicting a deity on your toilet...
Who knows if any specific action mattered. Does polluting your body with cigarettes and affecting your health impact your connection when it comes to faith? Stress? Modern living? Perhaps so. Ultimately, though, if the nation gives up on an idea, it becomes harder for the individual to believe in the idea, and so while she cherished the idea of the deity, she stopped believing in it, but ideas can be reborn. Or MAYBE it was just a wind-up (sex) doll (she treated it like one), the gears broke down, so she buried it, then someone else planted a banana tree, and the last frame wasn't related to anything else. I don't know.
But what I do know is that the short lacked any real emotional impact. There is the semblance of sadness, but it is a shoddy mimesis. I felt the same during the sad moments as any other part, as I didn't feel there was any real connection between the two, and everything about it felt forced. The main staring off into space, puffing cigarettes, her Pokemon getting sick, and cry.gif. Is this supposed to evoke sadness? You could say that's part of the point, and maybe it is: that she's trying her hardest to force a connection that's not even really there, but that doesn't seem to be what the film is conveying at all, especially considering the final frame's obvious meaning. It's another rumination on meaning and nihilism. There's nothing new to see here and very little is said. Bonus points for the rawness and unusual charm that independent net animations can provide. This is likely an independent animator to keep an eye on.
What did you think of this review?