The Japanator review process is very elaborate. We basically jump on stuff that we are really psyched to watch and save the rest for later. To some, this method might seem neglectful and self-serving, we like to call it “prioritizing”. This title comes straight from the Japanator vault, by which I mean from Hiroko’s dirty laundry basket.
Big-name titles and seasonal hit series are great, but every so often it’s fun to take a break to take a look at other lesser known works. I’ve always had a soft spot for stand-alone OVAs, but sadly they are often hard to find; a lot of them never even make it to North America --that is unless they are bundled up or made by big-shot directors.
Sentai Filmworks had the brilliant idea to bundle up Coicent and Five Numbers, two small-time OVAs put together by relatively unknown artists. I have a feeling that a lot of us would have never heard of them otherwise. Each of the films is about 25-minutes long and produced by Sunrise. Who doesn’t love science fiction double features?
Coicent/Five Numbers, DVD
Licensed by Sentai Filmworks
Release date: April 07, 2011
Coicent was written and directed by Shuhei Morita, the guy behind Freedom, a promotional animation released in 2006 to commemorate the 35th anniversary of Nissin Cup Noodles. The film is your typical boy-meet-girl, girl-happens-to-be-an-android story. The two protagonist meet by chance in a futuristic city filled with trippy surprises.
The film takes place in the year 2710. The male protagonist, a school boy named Shinichi, ends up wandering the colorful streets of Nara after a mysterious white deer steals his backpack --Nara is deer country. Meanwhile, somewhere in the vicinity, an android girl named Toto is trying to escape from the clutches of her evil master.
After a little running around, the two teenagers bump into each other and it’s love at first sight. Their encounter is very by-the-book but it doesn’t disappoint. I thought that their story was very sweet. It reminded of something out of Robot Carnival --it was just a classic anime love story. The setting also made watching the film worthwhile.
I won’t spoil the rest for you, but I will say that although the resolution of the story is pretty predictable, Morita did a good job at creating a visually-interesting world. While the story-telling was a little bit murky and sometimes hard to follow, I think that the director also managed to explore a reasonable amount of content in just 25 minutes.
The protagonists of the story were simple yet charming, but all secondary characters --with the exception of the awesome deer, were far less memorable. The villainess, in particular, looked like something out of a Studio Ghibli bootleg. But overall, Coicent was a pretty solid effort and I definitely enjoyed watching it. It wasn’t half bad.
Five Numbers has a slightly better pedigree than Coicent. It was written by Dai Sato (Cowboy Bebop, Wolf’s Rain, Ergo Proxy) and directed by Hiroaki Ando; and artist best known for his CGI work in the film Steamboy. The story takes place in an isolated penitentiary, where five very cynical prisoners team up to sneak their way out.
The animation in this one is a little more experimental, it almost looks like a less bizarre and more fluidly-animated, crayony Fantastic Planet. It definitely gives off an European vibe. The story, in turn, feels like something out of an old science fiction paperback or an old-school radio drama, which was a really pleasant surprise.
Five Numbers follows a far more elaborate narrative than Coicent: there’s suspense, intrigue, and a pretty unexpected ending. There’s actually a pretty impressive amount of character development as well, in just 25 minutes we learn quite a bit about each member of the cast. The film’s setting, however, left much to be desired.
In some ways, Five Numbers was the complete opposite from Coicent. While Coicent was a bit weak in its story-telling but featured a great setting, Five Numbers was very well-written but really struggled in setting the mood. It almost felt as if coming up with the setting was an afterthought. The OVA just didn't feel cohesive enough.
Out of the two OVAs, I would say that Coicent was the better one; but Five Numbers was pretty good too --albeit a little slow. I think that both are ideal to watch back-to-back late at night while eating chinese leftovers. The combination of the two definitely captured that science fiction double feature vibe, so kudos to Sentai for that.
7.0 – Good. 7s are good, but not great. These series often have a stereotypical plot or are great movies that have a few minor, yet obvious flaws. Fans of the genre might still love it.
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