Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Best of Anime 2004


There is a yearly animation festival in Chicago, and this is the DVD of the winners and honorable mentions. There are 23 of them, and I’m not going to review them individually. None are longer than 20 minutes, some as short as 30 seconds, and they are all over the place. There is some whimsy. One of the better ones was written by an 8-year-old and narrated by a 5-year-old.
What I’m struck by is the mind-shattering progress being made in computer animation. Most of these shorts are done by film students, and they don’t need a Cray to accomplish things that would have been absolutely impossible 20 years ago, and 10 years ago would have taken four years and $100 million dollars. Now you can do it on simply hook-ups, with commercially available programs. Many look like class assignments: do reflective surfaces, move the lights around, thicken the atmosphere. Stunning, technically, though most of them leave a lot to be desired story-wise.