Apr 14, 2013
In the world of show business, music videos are normally treated as mere tools for increasing band's popularity & sales. However, this clip is nowhere near that kind of banality since the creators are Kouji Morimoto and Studio 4°C, famous for their experimental animation & generally uncommon approach to anime. The result of their work is simultaneously a very positive piece of entertainment and a rather psychological story with some right ideas inside.
The story is pretty simple at the core. Basically, it tells about an ordinary girl who leads a very carefree life, hanging out with other girls like her and paying no respect to
the people around. One day she harms a boy with her arrogance and feels very serious stress due to guilty conscience. Eventually, that experience completely changes her personality.
In a nutshell, that's the whole story but the actual presentation is not so plain & straightforward. The story is told as if there're TWO girls in the video (the one staying in her room and the other wandering around the city) who are factually the same person's ego and alter-ego. That kind of presentation is very interesting from the psychological point of view but it may also confuse the viewer at first since the whole thing reminds of Serial Experiments Lain.
Thankfully, the plot is nowhere near as intricate as in Lain or any other real mindf*ck because it would've made the video too complicated for its format and, consequently, much less enjoyable. In fact, it utilizes just about the right amount of complexity so that the show could convey its main idea and yet remain creative & thought-provoking, leaving some aspects to the viewer's interpretation.
In general, it's a simple story presented in an interesting, unconventional way. Also, it delivers a clear & very positive message that I really liked.
Kouji Morimoto has his own distinctive artstyle: sketchy lines, simple character designs with small facial features and some cool visual effects that create great animation fluency. Also, the show employs some interesting surreal imagery (for example, in the scenes where the girl roams around the city). So, the animation's originality is out of question - the question is whether you like the style or not. I personally enjoy how simple yet unusual it is, but that is also the reason why some of you may consider it primitive & ugly.
Besides that entirely subjective matter the animation also has two objective flaws you should know about:
- first, it didn't age particularly well. Kouji Morimoto mixed hand-drawn animation and CGI in this video, and while the former is still artistic, the latter looks rather outdated;
- second, for some unknown reason Morimoto utilized lots of grey, brown and other dirty colors in this and other anime he directed at the end of the 90's (Four Day Weekend, Noiseman Sound Insect, Tobira wo Akete etc.). It always seemed a very strange artistic decision to me because it isn't really appealing to the eye and makes the video look even more worn-out.
Overall, I think the animation is still good for its fluency and originality despite a couple of issues it has. As for the style, again, it's an entirely love-or-hate matter.
The soundtrack is only one song, which is "Survival" by Glay. I've never heard the band before as I'm generally not into J-rock. However, I liked that piece: it's rather simple yet melodic, upbeat & with nice vocal. Perhaps, it's not the kind of song to become one's lifelong favourite yet the quality is clearly there, and now I understand pretty well why these guys are among the top-10 best-selling artists of all time in Japan.
To start with, there's only one character of interest in this video, and that's the female lead - the other people are used mostly for backgrounds. Besides, she's just an ordinary girl, and we don't even learn her name.
However, the girl turns out to be more than just a nameless cardboard as she goes through some really intense character development, reaching a very emotional catharsis at the end. Unsurprisingly, this makes her engaging and easy to sympathize with even though we know almost nothing about her.
Survival is a very unusual anime that will certainly make a different impression on every viewer. In my case, I really liked the experimental animation, the song, the thought-provoking presentation, the message of the story and the whole positive feeling about it. In fact, I watched this video several times and each viewing was like a great boost of positive energy. However, I'm a person who's generally into unusual stuff and doesn't mind a little outdated visuals. If you happen to prefer more traditional forms of entertainment (which is not bad at all), you will probably enjoy this video less than I did.
What did you think of this review?