That GENUINELY was the fucking stupidest shit I've ever seen.
Story: 1/10. There isn't one. You could say it's about how societal norms devolve ordinary humans into zoo animals, but it isn't and if you think it is you are pants-on-head retarded.
Art: 1/10. I could draw three watercolors with a paintbrush up my asshole and that would've been roughly equivalent to the artistic skill involved in this. White backgrounds, same stuff in every shot, only like fifteen different images all in all.
Sound: 1/10. Basically, there isn't shit for sound here. No music, even. Just some twonks going "AGH!" and some other guys going "AGH!" at
the same time.
Character: 10/10. Midget-In-A-Birdcage-Being-Poked-With-A-Stick is mah nigga! Total waifu material right there.
Enjoyment: 2/10. There's one bit where a woman suddenly starts riding a cop like a little horsie around the "zoo" (a bunch of cages on a white background). I laughed my ass off there, but other than that there is nothing to enjoy.
Overall: 1/10. Don't even bother. You will feel worse about yourself if you watch this. It will ruin your day.
Ningen Doubutsuen, also known as Clap Vocalism or Human Zoo, is truly the most influential anime of the twentieth century. Uneducated viewers new to the anime medium may find it jarring or confusing. It requires an inquisitive and analytical mind to peer into the rich imagery and deep symbolism of Ningen Doubutsuen. Allow me to show you.
The title cards for the introduction and conclusion are minimalistic in nature. It seems to mock television programmes and movies which use overly-edited footage and effects to have a bombastic opening and closure. Ningen Doubutsuen says, "No, I don't need any complicated effects to make the movie good." And
this is resoundingly true. The content of the movie is so good, so solid, so FRESH that it doesn't need any extra fluff to make it as good as it is.
Again, the avant-garde animation follows the theme of minimalism as I mentioned earlier. Ningen Doubutsuen doesn't need fancy animation or a unique artstyle to make itself shine. It is fantastic on its own already. The inclusion of drawings instead of just words seems to be a mocking gesture by director Kuri Yoji. He seems to say, "Okay, I'll add this stuff on top so that it qualifies as an 'anime', even though it is amazing already."
Ningen Doubutsuen goes straight to the point. It draws important parallels between animal abuse and domestic violence in twentieth century Japan. In the feministic society, men trapped in loveless marriages and "caged in" and tortured by their wives, similar to how animals are trapped in zoo cages and abused. The Man is expected to be the breadwinner of the family while the Woman sits at home and does nothing, just like how animals are made to perform for the entertainment of humans. The fantastic voice acting echoes Kuri's sentiments. Sharp, high-pitched voices mimicking animals which sound almost sarcastic in nature. Mocking, showing derision towards marriages, gender roles, society, the very nature of humanity itself... Brilliant. Simply brilliant I must say.
Ningen Doubutsuen is by far one of the most important works of the twentieth century, and is one of the best films Japan has ever put out. Its vibrant symbolism and detailed historical context give an insight into Japanese married life in the sixties. One simply cannot call himself a so-called 'anime' fan if he has not seen this masterpiece. Truly, it is director Kuri Yoji's magnum opus.
Kuri Yoji is a genius at experimental works. Granted, a ton of people will be turned off by the lack of story, bizarre art, but his genius lies at using minimalist art to convey sick and twisted themes. Thus, he is more interested in seeing our reactions and emotions to the work.
It is a pity that Human Zoo has so much potential, but it is almost wasted.
Like other Kuri Yoji works, the emphasis on provoking emotions is there in Human Zoo through twisted minimalist imagery. The art looks like a five year old's drawing, though I may be giving too much credit to the art.
What is more important however is his usage of the drawings.
Human Zoo explores animal abuse, power, and marriages. We see repeated viewings of the wife abusing the husband; for example, a wife will sit on the husband.
And that's about it.
Compare Human Zoo to his other works like Ai and there is more substance; Ai is about exploring the dark side of love and Kuri Yoji uses the drawings and sound to create an eerie atmosphere. Human Zoo has nothing of that sort.
I feel that the idea of Human Zoo is noble and witty, but the execution is sloppy and lazy. How does 2 minutes of seeing wives sit on husbands be either entertaining or thought-provoking?
That said, I did not entirely hate the work nor did I like it. I prefer other Kuri Yoji works and for those starting to watch his works, I suggest Ai as a better starter. People who already have seen his other works can give this a watch.
I wished Human Zoo didn't disappoint me. I really do.
Let me begin by expressing my utmost disgust at how terrible and horrid many reviewers are at understanding and rating timeless classics, one example being the widely acclaimed "World of Golden Eggs", scoring only a 6.3 in MAL, despite its high sales. Ningen Doubutsuen, or Human Zoo in english, is no exception. It is truly the pinnacle of animu in the 20th century, it's influence was indeed paramount in animation, inspiring countless classics, in one way or another, that we have all come to enjoy, such as the great "Nyanpire the animation" and "World of Golden Eggs". Anime has flourished and this sole clip is
one the few forebearers. Still, some insolent fools disregard the seed that birthed the tree of modern anime, unable to analyse and understand the heavy hand of deep symbolism in this short clip. Let me explain how this anime, is superior amongst all.
This short film's plot is not a convoluted one, yet it holds great meaning. At first glance, the movie just seems to be about people locked in cages, and behaving like animals, as can be implied from the title "Human Zoo". However, the story actually tells of the misogyny in our society and an ideal dystopian women-dominating society. In the clip, a man and a woman are stuck in a cage and are forced to mimic animals. In this case, the cage is a metaphor for a life restricted to only our basic and, I use this word to all of its extent, animalistic characteristics. It shows that, when humans are not affected by external stress or pressure, such as jobs, societal stature, it is the women who dominate men. Watch as the woman in the video whips the man to make him squeal, or how she squeezes him to convulsion with her erect mammaries. This dark symbolism depicts how gender inequality, especially regarding the females, can be greatly adverse if the situation is reversed. Men will be treated no different from animals, forced to moan and squawk, living their lives in zoos, an eternal prison.
Personally, Kuri's art and animation in this particular clip may not be the best, some feel that its choppy cuts are ridiculous and others find the figure drawings out of proportion. However, let me remind these viewers, that such, is a prime example of minimalism. Furthermore, Ningen Doubutsuen holds an extremely unique artstyle. Its features are experimental, and Kuri, doing what he does best, manages to capture the essence of a dystopian women-dominated society. Furthermore, its brilliant opening sequence thrills me even more. Each word on the black screen is like a large eye, staring at the viewer, compelling him/her to further his experience in this marvelous film by watching over and over again. Truly spectacular!
Ningen Doubtsuen is an incredible jewel in the 20th century, the magnum opus, the cream of the crop. Coupled with stylistic art, deep plot and amazing sounds, it thrills the viewer through a ride of emotions that end with him/her wanting more. Even as many do not fully understand the significance and greatness of this brilliantly animated gem, I urge the community to look at the larger picture and think. I suggest reading cumsussertod's review, as his insightful comments may help to shed light upon the situation. Ningen Doubtsuen won the Special Jury Prize at Annecy in 1963 and the bronze award for animation at the 1963 Biennale in Venice, it has touched the hearts of many, let it touch you too.