The film takes a simple idea—creating a picture using a simple thread—and transforms it into an engaging flow of animated images. From East Asian folklore, Okushita takes the symbol of the red string of fate. There are many variations of this ancient tale, but the main idea is that the gods tie men and women together who are destined as each other's soul mates together with a red thread.
An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet,
regardless of time, place, or circumstance.
The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break.
-ancient Chinese belief
According to Eastern legend, destined lovers are bound by a red string of fate -- "Akai Ito" in Japanese. In this animated short, director Kazuhiko Okushita cleverly uses a single red string to illustrate the life of a man and the woman to whom his string leads him.
MAL's rubric, split into categories like "Story" and "Character," is useless for an animation like this. It's four minutes long, with no named characters, no voice acting, and exactly one color: red. Two, if you count the white background. This minimalism is the anime's greatest strength, for it allows no distractions from the message:
that life is beautiful. Unpredictably, painfully, miraculously beautiful.
Flawless in its simplicity and a genuine pleasure to watch, Okushita's "Akai Ito" is a work of art I cannot recommend highly enough to anyone with a human soul.
As Chinese legend tells it, every individual has an invisible red string tied to their pinky that will lead them to a future soulmate. This film places a creative spin on that proverb, using a single red thread to animate a love story.
In just four minutes Akai Ito manages to work through the romantic ups and downs of a couple. There is a confession, dating, separation and finally a resolution. There are no words or color variety, just an unbreakable string with a life of its own telling the story of the people it connects together.
This is minimalism art at its finest telling
a full story with few resources, and it deserves to be viewed by more people for it's beautiful simplicity.
As other people say, this isn't some random string used for the animation. The red string was picked specifically because, based on Eastern culture, a red string is tied around the two people that are destined to meet. It originated from Chinese culture where it is said that Yuè Xià Lǎorén, the lunar god of marriages, ties a string of destiny around two people that are considered soulmates. Akai Ito should be praised for bringing attention to a cultural belief that I think is incredibly fascinating and romantic.
Though, however strong Akai Ito is in that respect, this anime was bound to have its inevitable pitfalls.
See, this anime paints you a picture with only a white backdrop and a single red string. Which can be quite impressive when you see the sheer detail put into this project, but with this amount of detail, you'll find that some images don't exactly sync in your mind. I had to re-watch a couple of times because my eyes were not telling me what was on screen. This was no fault to Akai Ito, given the inherent design of the project itself, but it was a bit confusing when I first watched.
It also shows a story that has no characters, but only silhouettes that give the animation an almost lacking personality. I'll always think back to this as, "The anime with the red string," but I couldn't give much more of a description for it, given that there really isn't anything else to grab onto character-wise. In other words, you'll come for the art and not the story that's given to you through the anime itself.
All-in-all, it was fair. Like I said, without any characters or tangible story, Akai Ito can be easily forgotten. However, this is something that comes naturally to the anime given that there's only so much you can do with a single string. In that respect, it's very impressive. In any other department, it's something to be watched once, enjoyed, then left for someone else.