There are plenty of short anime on offer this season, but Kowabon may be the one most worth checking out. It’s classed as ‘horror’ but it’s not scary in the slightest, however, it is interesting. I suppose someone out there could find this scary, but I’m not one of those people (it takes a lot for a horror movie to scare me nowadays – most of the time I just giggle my way through the cheesy dialogue and lame jump scares). That being said, I don’t think it really matters whether or not you found this scary. I say that because there aren’t many anime out there like Kowabon – shorts even less so – and a bit of something different is always a good thing.
Aku no Hana is probably the first rotoscoping anime you’d think about, for better or worse. Personally, I was a fan of the manga, which I blitzed through in one reading and thoroughly enjoyed, however I made a point of avoiding the anime adaptation when it aired back in 2012. Interestingly enough, if it aired now I’d probably give it a shot and enjoy it for what it is. The rotoscoping might be ‘ugly’ (like you could say with Kowabon) but I so have some respect for that particular method of animation.
As an animation graduate, I studied the history and practice of rotoscoping, and let me just say that I hated doing it. I found it repetitive and tedious and not near creative enough for my liking, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have appreciation for those who do use it. I think it makes for an interesting final result, even if in Kowabon’s case the frame-rate is criminally low and the lip syncing doesn’t exactly fit… it actually works given the characters are speaking over Skype. I’m going to assume the clunkiness of the whole thing was intentional, even if it results in a disappointing (albeit interesting) final product. Rotoscoping is at its best when it’s not noticeable, but that takes time, money, and dedication, and I suspect Kowabon is lacking in the first two.
Overview – First Impressions:
It may be horror, but like most horrors it’s not scary in the slightest. But it’s not laughable either – unless you detest rotoscoping, of course. But if that’s your view on that particular technique, there probably isn’t much point in watching this in the first place, is there? Proper rotoscoping looks much better than this, but this is a short and its budget reflects that; yet it still has style and it provides variety in a season that is plagued with rehashed LN adaptation and tired tropes that that we’ve seen done to death. I’ll definitely be sticking around to see how this turns out. I suspect each episode will focus on a different scenario with different actors and actresses playing the characters, so maybe one of those stories will actually like up to the ‘horror’ tag. Time shall tell.
Note: There are currently no plans to blog Kowabon on a weekly basis.
In other news: I posted an Anime Summer 2015 Review on my personal blog. Feel free to check it out and see what I thought of the past season – I even ranked all 24 shows I watched in order from worst to best.
ED: 「I, Screaming.」 (アイ、スクリーミン。) by LinQ