May 28, 2017
Tucked into an inconveniently located corner of the Shibuya district lies The Village Of Marchen. It's not an actual village, but instead an stop-motion animation studio crossed with a Flash-based animation studio that is further crossed with a music recording studio. Offering classes in the various stop-motion skills to anyone who wishes to learn such a relatively obscure skill, as well as classes in Flash animation for those who for some obscure reason desperately want to learn how to become big on the internet's ancient dinosaur of a platform, The Village Of Marchen sits quietly and dreams of the day that it might once again
become relevant to the rest of the world. The studio has put out some rather impressive animation pieces such as Worku that strive to, if not push beyond, then at least try to find the boundaries of the medium in a way that artists like Nagao Takena never will.
Without the little (for lack of a better word to describe it) plot synopsis on the MAL page, this would be confusing as all hell. The Wash Bird flies around looking for laundry to do, then brings it back to The Wash Island for it to be cleaned. Unfortunately there is no actual indication as to what is being done for the first third of the piece, leaving the audience confused as to what that bird is doing flying up to a seemingly random... thing... beast... contraption... boat... whatever. After receiving a shirt from something that was inside the whatever, the bird flies back to the island. And that's when they turn the absurdity dial up to eleven and break off the knob.
With no dialogue and only an attempt at basic sound effects (which is even more odd given that they have a recording studio on site), you have to rely more and more on the animation to carry the story. That problem becomes worse when the animation flies about as well as a lump of clay pushed off the edge of a table. Between poorly-designed models, horrifyingly basic stop-motion, and hacked-together footage, it is just horrendous all the way around. And that problem becomes even more worse when you realize that the story that all of the above was meant to convey had less impact and than watching someone mow a lawn. Which is saying something, as I've seen animation about lawn mowing that made it look absolutely fascinating in comparison to the real thing.
And when you put all of those failures into the whole of the piece, it becomes worse than a failure. It becomes a mistake.
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