How do I describe Robot Carnival? The word "different" springs to mind. To say it's unlike anything I've ever seen would be stretching it, but it's certainly unlike any anime I've seen.
Robot Carnival contains seven animated films which range in quality from downright boring to incredibly compelling. The one common link is they all feature robots of some sort. The animation styles were all varied, but generally pretty good. Only two of the films actually contained any dialog, and the rest were set to music. Give Streamline some credit because the dubbing is very good. The music was also generally pleasant to listen to.
The films I didn't enjoy happened to be the first three on the tape. Starlight Angel is a bit of a romance story with a giant mecha thrown in for good measure. It, like most of the films, is set to music, some of which sounded exactly like the theme from the Final Fantasy games. The next film, Cloud, went waaaaaaay over my head. Like its title suggests, it's all about clouds. Except that's all it was; images of clouds. If there was any deeper meaning, it missed me by a country mile. The third film I didn't like, Deprive, was a basic "girl gets kidnapped, guy goes and saves her" theme set to music. It was like any other "guy rescues girl" story I've ever seen.
Now let's move to the films I actually liked. Franken's Gears begins this group. Like its name suggests, it is similar in concept to Frankenstein's Monster. It was a tad short, didn't make a whole lot of sense, but was kind of interesting nonetheless. Then there's Presence. Wow. The art and animation were simply beautiful. It was one of the two films which contained dialog, and the voice acting was excellent. While I probably spent too much time admiring the visuals to look for any deeper meanings, it was still rather interesting to watch. Next is my favorite film of the bunch, entitled A Tale of Two Robots, Chapter 3: Foreign Invasion. And no, there are no chapters one and two (at least, not to my knowledge ^_^). This film features a 19th century mecha battle, horrible dubbing done on purpose to sound like a cheesy kung-fu movie, and lots of humor. Finally there's Nightmare. In a way it reminded me of Night on Bald Mountain from Fantasia. It's weird, creepy, yet very neat.
If you wanted to, you could probably make a case for an eighth film in the collection. The introduction and ending were rather entertaining to watch, with good animation and touches of humor.
Overall, Robot Carnival is a unique anime experience. If you're tired of all the conventional anime out there, grab a copy of this video for something different.
The Verdict: * * * 1/2 (above average)
|last modified: 05-26-03||The Anime Critic and associated content © 1999-2003 Pete Harcoff. All rights reserved.|