Animation Runner Kuromi

June 7, 2004 on 12:59 pm | In Animation Runner Kuromi | Comments Off on Animation Runner Kuromi

After graduating Animation School, Oguru Mikiko is hired to work at Studio Petit. For perfectly good reasons, the head of production rechristens her “Kuromi-chan” and then transfers his job to her just in time to be admitted to hospital for a bleeding stomach ulcer.
With only one week left before Time Journeys 2 has to be shipped out for in-betweens by the overseas contract, Kuromi has to whip her lazy team of five workers (only two of which actually workin the studio) into shape to meet the deadline.

Animation Runner Kuromi is an admiring peek at the animation industry; in this digital age, they don’t need to worry about painting cels, but it’s still a tough job. It’s not clear just how accurate this account is, but it’s funny nonetheless. 312 cuts in one week … why, an animator would have to work himself to the bone!
Through sheer determination, Kuromi races towards the goal.
This anime is very much a product of director Daichi Akitaro. On the Daichi-ness scale (where Jubei-chan is 100, Fruits Basket is 50 and Now and Then, Here and There is roughly 1), Kuromi rates about a 75. It’s not quite so full of squiggly things, but the squid that pops up from time to time to explain things or make pithy remarks … yeah, he’s there.
There’s some great work of homage here – Luis Monde III is quite obvious alone, but just look at his driver! Yet, oddly, there’s not much in the way of reference for the rest of the time.

Naturally, any anime about an animation studio is going to produce a lot of in jokes and lovable characters. Every animator, it would seem, has to have some sort of personality quirk. Kuromi is hard done by, and despite flirting with resignation (as I’m sure all first timers have at one point. Cough), she is still fired up and ready to go. There’s an old timer (also a woman – it’s unclear about the gender ratio in the anime industry, but the 3:4 women to men given here doesn’t seem quite right) who knows exactly how it all works … and everything is set in to place for the premiere of Time Journeys 2.
The only bizarre thing about Kuromi’s character is that she’s not a big fan of anime. In high school, there was only one title that she actually liked – and her reason for becoming an animator is to create something that could inspire someone like that. The fact that she had closed the door to the rest of the scene was of some concern; but then, directors like Miyazaki aren’t much for modern anime (and the general theatre going public don’t consider his films anime). It’s one thorn that takes away some of the project’s sympathy (like those people who only like Cowboy Bebop and nothing else).

Miyuki-chan in Wonderland made me hate a continuous soundtrack. Masuda Toshio’s music almost went that way, but fortunately it swerved off that course and changed into something more reasonable once past the set up.
The characters are cute, and sometimes they do go squiggly. Everyone is essentially a caricature. The flexibility of Daichi’s characters is something that endears them to the audience.

Animation Runner Kuromi is a fun short OVA that is full of hilarities but a couple of stumbling blocks that you wouldn’t expect from an “animation story” make it strike a few odd notes here and there.
And we never can tell who animated Time Journeys 3-5.

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