The Old Crocodile is a wonderful parable about nothing. It's a kids story without a moral. It has the inevitable twist, the fairy tale like linear plot with numerical points. It's easily remembered, visually pleasing, has a nice narration, indeed we could hardly ask anything more of it.
A warning to Sudanese viewers, the representation of your countrymen can be perceived as less than flattering, but rest assured this was a most innocent plot device used for an ingenious twist.
As a short narrative animated piece The Old Crocodile is a masterpiece, begetting the true fact that life has no real approachable set of ideals that we
can simply attune to particular circumstances. The crocodile within this story finds himself drawn into a situation he can do little to prevent, it is his own weakness of actuality, of being a crocodile, that leads to his demise and rebirth from the ashes of the situation. As is the octopus'. The only moral per se, would be that we should embrace and understand our own human attributes and behaviours. Perhaps that sounds cryptic, but as per the length of this short, I wouldn't want to reveal the beauty of certain plot points.
The animation is a rather hand drawn style, which works perfectly in subjunction with blocked in ink the characters mostly are represented in. This is on a sepia background, so we have black and sepia, yet this colour scheme is used knowingly and is deviously diverted as we move through the short animation. The art could not be faulted, it is perfect for the form.
Sound features little admittedly, but the sound effects and the soundtrack to a key scene, are well chosen. The narration by Peter Barakan is excellent (I guess it should be noted this is the original dialogue, in English, for the short; there is a Japanese and French version that I cannot vouch the value for) he manages to have indelible tones and emotions expressed within a short monologue, a truly captivating and well enacted performance.
It's extremely enjoyable, if I don't say so myself, and its short length means you should have a watch anyway. It's easily accessable at youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97-j1nCSUQA&feature=relmfu
So jump in and have a ball! Truly a great anime and a masterpiece- a worthy adversary of Cencoroll, of Coffee Break, of Le Petite Cubes- lesser to none.
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.