The Old Crocodile feels like an anime version of one of Aesop's fables. However, as the credits rolled, I was struggling to sort out what the moral was supposed to be.
The English voicing is excellent, and Peter Barakan's voice brings to mind narration of Madeline or Curious George from my childhood. This anime short would stand in good stead in that company, with a very similar tone and feel. One is left with the vague idea that they are watching children's PBS broadcasting.
The characters are strange, and as I initially wondered why anyone would create this, as it clearly seems aimed
at children but is so baffling and strange. However, a child's notion of what is strange and too fantastical is far less fixed than an adult's, and I don't think its story or the character's motivations and actions would seem unbelievable to the intended audience.
As it is, without giving any spoilers, Octopus's reactions to Crocodile seem surreal and incredulous. The ending was stranger still, but by then I had learned to just roll with it and enjoy the journey The Old Crocodile was taking me on.
As a short anime work, it pails in comparison to Tsumike no Ie, the work most similar in length and tone that I can think of, but is still worth your time as a curiosity and as a short children's story stands on its own merit.