Premise "Among the high rises of steel pipes, meshed power lines, and faded neon lights, exists a game that children dare to play within the ruins of the old city.
"Otokoyo," a secret game of hide-and-seek, one where all who play wear fox masks and only begins when seven have gathered. But it is no normal game, as all who have played it have gone missing. Many whisper it is the work of demons, but that is just a rumor... or is it?
Kakurenbo follows the story of seven children as they play Otokoyo for the first time and discover why if you play, you never return." - MyAnimeList
Background "Kakurenbo: Hide & Seek is a Japanese cel-shaded anime short film written and directed by Shuhei Morita. It premiered in March 2005 at the Tokyo International Anime Fair, where it won the award for Notable Entry in the General Category. In Korea, it received a Best Film Nomination at the Seoul Comics and Animation Festival. It then went on to win Best Short film at the Fantasia Festival in Montreal.
It was shown on Adult Swim on Halloween 2005." - Wikipedia
Review Children being thrust into horror stories isn't a very comfortable idea for many mainstream filmmakers. Not for Japan.
Kakurenbo is a short film mixing the classic hide & seek children's game with the Japanese folklore of demons by Yamatoworks. It works pretty well as watching innocent children fight against nightmares and terrors can be an inspiring experience... if they do emerge with victory anyway. But instead of being something akin to the likes of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, where we witness the unimaginable horror of children being slaughtered in a bloody fashion, Kakurenbo is more subtle, utilizing an intense mix of background sounds and tight framing to produce a suspenseful atmosphere.
Within the 25 minutes runtime, the movie still manages to incorporate information about the children's personality through an excellent use of "show, don't tell". Aside from the obvious bully of the show, Noshiga (and his posse), the most notable use of such storytelling are the twin brothers, Inmu and Yanku. They do not speak throughout the entire movie, and we are not fed expositions about them, but rather, from the way they try to survive against the demons, you could tell they are fast runners, that they seemed to be more capable of handling such intense situations than the others, and from their creepy masks (creepier than the ones the other children are wearing anyway), there's something disturbing about them. All of these are great examples of visual storytelling that don't rely on dialogue expositions.
Unfortunately, the weak point of the movie comes in the form of the demons - they just aren't that terrifying-looking. In fact, their mechanical movements made them seemed more like animatronics than demonic beasts haunting your nightmares. Part of the reason for this, I feel, is the cel-shading that gave them a sort of "high tech" texture. Their skin is smooth and very clean, not like the gnarling, drooling and blood-soaked demons you would usually imagine. That being said, I could understand why they look like that. These are demons from the Japanese folklore, and they do look historically accurate. But as someone who's used to more obvious depictions of demon spawns from hell in American movies, I just had a difficult time associating these beasts with anything nightmarish.
But thanks to the good cinematography, the movie does have its fill of tension and suspense, particularly when you learn the true nature of the lost children at the end. While not graphic in nature compared to Higurashi, Kakurenbo does have its own way of shocking you with a disturbing plot-twist - and it is deliciously horrifying. It makes for a very unique concept that highlights the creative nature of short films. Usually, shorts have the potential to input very creative little concepts that wouldn't work as effectively in a full-length movie, and this is one of the best examples.
Taka: I see. A global release will benefit it. Gundam did pretty good. The only few franchises that are only popular in Japan but not popular in the west - Yokai Watch comes to mind.
Apr 10, 2021 1:55:16 GMT
Master Menos: F for Respects. DMX did all his work while suffering from a drug addiction, and I almost never knew until a point. I hope his next life treats him far better.
Apr 10, 2021 15:30:45 GMT
HungryWorld: Sorry for taking so long for the things i have to do, have been suffering from some health issues (including mental health deterioration). Anyways hope i can be a bit more active here soon enough once i am properly patched up again.
Apr 27, 2021 17:45:38 GMT
Taka: No worries, health, family, school, and work take priorities first.
Apr 28, 2021 7:41:52 GMT