The story is set in present day Seoul and involves a college student named Hemi who falls in love with a coffee vending machine named Jin. Jin is actually a samurai from the Sengoku period who wished to be re-born with an invincible steel body when he fell to assassins, hence the vending machine body.
Coffee Samurai is a 30 minute short film about a samurai who ends up being re-incarnated as a coffee vending machine. Sounds weird? Well, it is, but that's part of it's charm, and there were some other things I liked about it as well.
The story is fairly decent, despite it's basic structure. Things move at an appropriately slow pace, and it ends up feeling somewhat longer than 30 minutes by the end. The narrative is also presented fairly well, with some nice moments sprinkled throughout. It starts off as just being weird, but quickly changes into a love story, which I thought worked really well,
despite the relatively odd nature of everything. The story also has a few original takes on romance tropes in it, but they didn't stick out to me, and fit in fairly well. I guess I could say that the story didn't surprise me or anything, but I don't think it was trying to. It was basic, but well done throughout.
The characters are much along the same lines. The two main characters, the Coffee Samurai, and the waitress, named Hemi, are both pretty simple character archetypes when you break down their personalities. Yet, they're also given all of these little quirks that make them both stand out from other similar characters. It makes them feel more original, despite having any actual depth to them.
I think the visual designs on both the main characters and the villains are really nice as well. It brings a certain charm to the art style, and makes me forgive some of the poorly animated scenes and the generous use of limited animation that stood out like a sore thumb, especially during the action-packed parts. Still, I thought the use of color and the backgrounds were all well done. This short film isn't going to wow you on the visuals, but it's got a basic kind of appeal to it.
I can't say the same for the audio, however. The soundtrack is almost un-noticeable throughout the entire thing, and doesn't really seem to compliment much, and when it is noticeable, it's a poppy Japanese ballad that fits the scene it's in, but doesn't really stick in your mind. The whole soundtrack just feels unambitious. The quality of the voice recording is somewhat poor, as well, making the sound feel like it was made on a really low budget. Especially during a few action scenes, where there's lots of yelling and the audio is noticeably clipping. Still, the sound quality being as poor as it was, I was still able to enjoy the actor's performances. They weren't outstanding by any means, but I thought they did a decent enough job portraying their characters.
Overall, I liked Coffee Samurai, but I'm not sure it would be the first thing I'd recommend if somebody asked me for something bizarre and crazy to watch. It definitely has shades of both of those things, but I feel it succeeds more on being a charming little tale with some fantastical elements thrown in. However, all of that is buried beneath the relatively low quality of the audiovisual experience, which manages to be pretty lackluster. There are some moments that definitely make it interesting, but if you are going to watch it, I'd definitely recommend going in with managed expectations.
Coffee Samurai is a 30-minute short with a truly unique idea. A Sengoku-era samurai wishes for an invincible steel body after he falls in battle, and in a bit of a cruel trick, he is reborn as a vending machine. Hemi, a college student, discovers that this vending machine is actually alive, and befriends him in her fascination. This eventually progresses to a bizarre love, and remains that way. The pacing is slow, but the idea is unique, and definitely charming. If you aren't interested in the story, then this anime doesn't have much to
offer for you, however.
I was surprised to see this was from 2009. With it's simple and cute art style, I wouldn't have flinched if it was made thirty years earlier. I'm not sure if this was a stylistic choice or not, but the general assumption that all old anime have poor animation is reflected here a bit too much, and takes away from the experience in several scenes.
While the art and animation are up for interpretation, the sound in particular was very obviously poor. While dialogue is sparse compared to most anime, voices are never quite clear. The quality becomes painfully obvious during the first action sequence. During the loud yells of battle, you could assume they were recorded on a $30 microphone in somebody's basement. Aside from the terrible quality issues, the voice acting never stood out, though there were no particular problems.
The bizarre relationship between Jin and Hemi is the only real character we see beyond their introductions, but in the 30-minute time frame of this special, Hemi becomes sweet, and a bit of an airhead, and Jin becomes protective, and clearly suited to his role as a samurai. These traits, while not original, are in very soft tones, and becomes almost endearing. Other characters we see throughout are forgettable besides their own weirdness, and add very little to the series.
My personal enjoyment for this series was a solid five. I watched it for it's strange concept, and saw exactly a strange concept. There is no real enjoyment to be found beyond your own curiosity, and without it, you're left with a sweet romance with a very lackluster production.
Averaging out the scores brings a 4.6, though you may disagree and rate lower if you had expected more. Perhaps you may even rate it higher, as regardless of quality, as it's a nice short break from the torrential downpour of rom-coms and dramas in anime.
This anime is about a samurai, who becomes a coffee machine in his next life, but he still wants to fight, and one day he founds a girl and falls in love with her.
The story is really hard to understand, and it's full of meaningless scenes. For example, a coffe machine shouldn't be flying... I was like 'what the hell?'
The art was okay, but the closer scenes were drawn pretty ugly somewhere. I have to admit, the characters were cute and ingenious.
I think the most horrible thing about this anime was the sound. The way the samurais shouted was truly annoying. The
music under the scenes were imperceptible. To be honest, I don't even remember them...
In total, it wasn't worth seeing this 30 minutes long anime. It was horrible and unpalatable. I don't recommend it to anyone.