Gotham Knight is the best North American and Japanese collaboration in the production of an animation. It is neither an anime nor a cartoon, but a perfect blend of the two. After watching this it created even more anticipation for The Dark Knight live action film that will soon continue the story. The DVD has Japanese directors, American writers, Japanese and American Artists (who are also writers and directors, but also do animation and character design), and American Producers. One cool note that I found was that Emma Thomas one of the producers is Christopher Nolan's wife, and she produces most of the films that he directs. It is surprising that he did not direct at least one of the short stories. I guess he was too busy with The Dark Knight. My skin feels alive just thinking about the upcoming film, since Nolan happens to be my favorite director. Maybe animation is not his style, since he is so good at directing live action.
The story is not really a bunch of short stories, but instead they are actually just different chapters for the entire story that covers the span of chronological events between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. But each story has it own style of direction, since each story was done by a different Japanese director and worked on by different American writers. Here is a break down of the short stories or "chapters" or episodes:
Have I Got a Story for You
Four youths describe their perspective of what they see as Batman. Each set of eyes see a different side to the being behind the mask. They each tell of their encounters with Batman, and argue over their observations, and each encounter happens to be contiguous with the next story told so it provided an interesting dynamic for the direction of the short story.
The perspective of two detectives under the command of James Gordon which is directed in third person. Local gang wars put some of Gotham's finest in danger, which is something the Bat does not like. One of the detectives was recruited from another city by Gordon, and he has his doubts about whether he can trust Batman, while the other detective grew up in Gotham, so she has a polar perspective to that of her partner. It situates excellent conflict between the opinion of the partners, and even with the superior officer.
An excellent depiction of the good or "light" side of Batman. Normally his dark side is the one portrayed, but this story shows the truth of the man behind the masks and his kind heart. It also has some insane progressive technology!
In Darkness Dwells
The story features Croc and Scarcrow. Not as much depth as the other stories, but it has excellent action sequences.
Working Through Pain
The best of all six short stories. It is a flash back of Batman's past where he travels the world and seeks out some Hindu philosophy or Psychology to learn how to bend his pain to his own will. It is an excellent illustration and articulation of the inner conflict within Batman.
Another super villain, Deadshot, is assassinating the commissioners in Gotham. In the episode, Batman protects his social and judicial defender, and link to society, Commissioner Gordon. There is an amazing transition from the previous short story into this one, where Batman comes to a realization about his life as a superhero and the deeper meaning behind his surface motives for defending Gotham city.
A really cool comment on the show is that Kevin Conroy came on to do the voice of Batman. For those who do not know him, he was the voice actor for the original Batman in Batman: The Animated Series. He is a legend among North American voice actors, and his voice is the perfect match to the archetype that is Batman.
Overall the DVD or OVA or "whatever" is one of the finest animations I have watched. The very first scene blew me away with its phenomenal animation and artwork. It starts with a pan across a fog sodden bridge somewhere in Gotham to the top of a building where Batman awaits. Some of the best creators in the world came together for an avant garde production. Avant garde literally means the group of soldiers who would lead an army into battle. It is normally lead by the army's finest battalion. The figurative connotation of my use of the word, means to push boundaries. The perfection that is Gotham Knight is the result of some of the best production in the world. The task to bring all these brilliant minds together is arduous and costly, but with the perfect hierarchy that is their entire production team, they have been able to produce a taste of perfection in this Anime, Cartoon, Animation, whatever. The whole time as I watched I had inner conflict turmoil inside of me as to whether or not I consider this show to be an anime. But after watching the show, I came to the conclusion that is is neither an anime nor a cartoon and instead is a neoanimation. Whether or not that is actually a word, I could care less. I simply used a modifier on a noun and the semantics work to describe my meaning. All I really know is that this show deserves a place here on MyAnimeList along side of some of the greatest animation of our time.