Before watching Cencoroll it is important to keep in mind this 27 minute movie (based off a one short manga titled Amon Game) was written, directed, designed, and animated by one man- Atsuya Uki. Now, a 27 minutes anime leaves little room for plot and character development, but this does not take away from the overall enjoyment of the film.
When Yuki discovers one of her classmate, Tetsu, has been keeping a shape shifting monster, Cenco, as a pet she becomes instantly curious and begins to follow the two around. When another boy, Shu (who controls a monster like Cenco), shows up literally out of nowhere conflict ensues.
As mentioned above, there is not much time for the plot to properly unfold and that is one of the few drawbacks of Cencoroll. The viewer is introduced to an extraordinary world but is not given enough time to truly get a taste of it, which can leave some unsatisfied.
If surrealness is not your cup of tea then I cannot with a good conscious suggest Cencoroll to you. This anime is odd, but in the best possible way. Cencoroll is not one of those animes that tries too hard to be different, resulting in a total rejection of the show. You are always given a moment to take in what has occured and sort it out.
The film gave the impresstion you were watching a long preview for a new anime series.
One of the redeeming qualities in this short film is the art and animation. Some argue that the character design is too plain, but I completely disagree. The character style is very fluent, crisp, and refreshing. The facial expressions are outstanding.
The beautiful and detailed landscapes/cityscapes are presented brilliantly and a highlight of the film. As are the fighting scenes and the transformations done by Cenco. It is astounding that such amazing animation was done by one man.
There is very little background music in this anime. While many animes use music to intensify scenes Cencoroll does not, adding to it's overall surrealness. You can though hear the sounds of crickets, leaves rustling, and whatever else you would expect to hear in Japan. All is very realistic.
The ending theme, titled Love & Roll by Supercell, is a upbeat and fun song.
I can understand characters getting a lower rating. With no character development it leaves the viewer with a very one-dimensional feel for the cast.
I found the characters lovable despite this. Tetsu seemed indifferent to everything going on around him and was not surprised by much. His somewhat dull (but still lovable!) personality was evened out by Yuki. Kana Hanazawa, who is known for her moe roles, voiced Yuki. She does a wonderful job of showing Yuki's curiousness. Cenco, whose only motivation is to feed himself is funny, even though he says nothing. The three together make a comical team who are a pleasure to watch. Shu, our antagonist of the film, is very cocky and holds an air of mystery around him. He added a good flare to the show.
Even with the lack of character development I am giving characters a high rating because I enjoyed watching them so much.
Cencoroll is a diamond in the rough. Its biggest drawback is its length, and if given more run time could be exceptional. I suggest this anime to anyone who does not mind a bit of weirdness or has 30 minutes to spare.
I spend a lot of time with webcomics, I used to blog about them, and submit them to various collective sites. A lot of webcomics were fond of using, what I've coined "Lie-cons", when their icon or banner has the most polished work and it makes the comic look amazing, and then you find out the image was just a character peice and the actual comic is drawn like crap.
Cencoroll's trailer was like that.
Cencoroll is the story of ...a kid...who has a pet monster for some reason, named Cenco. He can control Cenco with his mind. Another boy with another monster comes along and they fight because the other monster wants to eat Cenco to become stronger.
So they do.
I didn't feel anything for any of the characters, and the monsters, in their true form weren't even cute. They looked like something shat out for an Invader Zim stock character.
Motivation was lame, Cenco only did things if his boy told him to, and he barely even did anything. I can't remember any of the music and the voice actors were passable.
Wow, what a disappointment that was.
Not bad actualy. I realy enjoyed this strange, a bit melancholick story and the whole... well, whole. So the story is a about a boy and a girl (not a love one though) So the boy have a strange creature that came from god knows where, and that creature can transform into anything. Oh, and the boy can alsow control it, in a way... if the creaure wants it ^^ One day The Girl finds The Boy and his creature, and comes into strange fighting (as a viewer/contestan) over these creatures.
And thats prety much all of the story.
So i recomend this somehow beautiful story to everyone, from ecchi lovers to Narutards to watch. And alsow especialy for those who liked "5 centimeters per second" cus i dont know why but think that they are somehow similar (dont ask why)
This short 25 minute feature feels more like an artistic summary of an average children’s adventure series than an actual full story. You get to see things a normal series would spend 12 episodes depicting. And no, that doesn’t mean it has a good pacing because it skips a lot of events and explanations to the point it feels hollow.
The funny part is how this short feature is part of a project to aid upcoming new artists and not some major funded mainstream anime aiming to sell like crazy. If that is the case, then please do not give a second chance to the guys who made this. If the project is meant to find new talents with fresh ideas and uncommon ways to tell a story, these here followed the formula as tightly as possible.
Visually, Cencoroll is very pleasing. Everything feels like it was painted with watercolors and oil paints and even the outlines of the characters are not clear outlines. This gave to the feature an artistic feeling most suited for fluid animation. The setting of the story is a generic Japanese city and a typical school yet the colors made them feel special. Plus, half of the duration is battles between transforming critters. The action is very well done with lots of vitality and attention given to physics. Also, the monsters have a plethora of attacks that are not just laser beams that blow things up (a cheap way to show big explosions without actually animating anything) but grabbing and throwing objects, jumping, transforming and running. The same thing can be said about the characters, who although don’t do anything extreme still have a very pleasing body language most titles sacrifice in order to save money by making still images.
Acoustically, Cencoroll remains at the basics. There is almost no background music heard in the entire duration with an average pop song during the ending titles reminding you what you were not listening to all this time. I feel like the producers decided to leave out the music just to make the viewers focus solely on the characters and their talking. It is a neat trick but it takes more than that. The dialogues and the story were never anything special so the absence of music does help you to sympathize with the characters more while at the same time making you feel bored in case you want atmosphere. Beyond that, the voice acting was decent although as I said, the context of the dialogues was pretty standard stuff you see in stories with teenagers pairing with monsters, so it still feels blunt.
In the same manner, the story in Cencoroll is a fast forward summary of an average children-paired-with-monsters story. If you have seen Pokemon or Narutaru you know what to expect. Two kids control monsters and decide to have a showdown. How they found them or why they fight is almost not mentioned so all you are left to see is them fighting before the feature ends in an almost tie. Yes, it is an open ending, leaving room for a sequel.
The cast in Cencoroll is pleasing to watch albeit generic. It is very interesting to see them moving and talking to each other with the lack of music or even a background story not distracting you from what they are doing. Still, their motivation is very blunt as is the reason they fight or acting so cynical all the time. This feature is so esoteric, you are supposed to do nothing other than looking at their mentality but not at their reasoning for being as such. The whole deal is basically four people, two males controlling and fighting, one female that keeps interfering for no given reason and her schoolmate female friend who is essentially not doing anything. So I say this feature wins in terms of portraying its cast in a wonderful way but does a messy job at actually explaining why they act the way they act. Maybe it is a pilot to a future series, maybe it didn’t matter for the producers. No matter the reason, the cast is nothing more than pleasing archetypes. As for all the rest, there are no other people present besides the main characters. The city feels empty even when the army stars bombarding the area. There are no bystanders running around in panic amongst all the destruction the monsters do. Well, there is one who just closes the window so big deal. Just like the music, the world in the feature seems to be given no attention so that the viewers will focus solely on the characters.
In all, Cencoroll is pleasing to watch but quite a bother to actually rewatch. It is so short and simple that you have little to gain by watching it again. Still, the first time will most likely please you to the most part with its artistic depiction and esoteric approach to its characters.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 8/10
General Artwork 2/2 (looks nice)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 1/2 (basic)
Animation 2/2 (fluent)
Visual Effects 2/2 (lots of explosions)
SOUND SECTION: 5/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (corny but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 1/4 (barely there)
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)
STORY SECTION: 3/10
Premise 1/2 (typical)
Pacing 0/2 (rushed)
Complexity 1/2 (not much)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 1/2 (cheesy)
CHARACTER SECTION: 3/10
Presence 1/2 (generic)
Personality 1/2 (cheesy)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there)
Development 0/2 (overblown because of the rushed plot)
Catharsis 0/2 (overblown because of the rushed plot)
VALUE SECTION: 1/10
Historical Value 0/3 (none)
Rewatchability 0/3 (too simple to rewatch)
Memorability 1/4 (too typical to remember)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 4/10
Fun plot but ends in a rushed and typical way.
Cencoroll is some simple fun that goes nowhere. That is all it is, and all it strives to be. That isn't a bad thing, but actually is rather nice. The monsters are kinda cool I suppose. The characters manage to be a mixed bag even in such short a time. Still, there is some charm to it. Is it worth twenty seven minutes of your time?
It doesn't merit any more talk that that.