Alt titles: Kigeki, Sweat Punch: Comedy

OVA (1 ep x 10 min)
3.822 out of 5 from 4,990 votes
Rank #2,055

Legend tells of a lone swordsman who lives in the Demon's Castle, the ruins near the Black Forest. This mysterious stranger only accepts rare books for his services, books from the ancient past. Comedy tells the story of a young girl who desperately wishes for her family and village to be saved from the coming English soldiers' wrath, and is willing to trade a precious book in exchange for the deed. With only her legs beneath her, she runs towards the Black Forest, hoping to get there in time...

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StoryThe only humour this short engenders is unintentional. Essentially a rather serious mood piece, Comedy depicts fighting during the early twentieth century Irish War for Independence as one between swordsmen and knights. This is about as ridiculous as depicting the Pacfic War as a confrontation between cowboys and samurai. As the entire piece otherwise feels quite medieval and the sole identifying factor is a throaway line at the end, this seems rather unnecessary. Also, the plot is slightly obtuse - to understand the title requires either familiarity with the source material or to make one or two indirect inferences. All that said, the narrative is effective, lingering in its mood yet never overstaying its welcome. Plot points are established unhastily yet are also resolved satisfyingly. What complaints I've made are very minor and doubtless will not occur to or interest most viewers -this is more smartly constructed than I may appear to give it credit for. Overall, Comedy is more story driven and posesses more depth than the average short.AnimationThe world of Comedy is a dark, densely forested Ireland that existed only in the minds of Gothic authors - and is utterly breathtaking. Vividly composed and superbly animated, the short would be worth watching for the visuals alone. Mostly drenched in soft blacks and whites with a mixture of grey, other colours may rear their head for excellent contrasts - particularly, and most strikingly, red. It's langurously gloomy in a very elegant sort of way.SoundThe whisper-like voice of the girl narrator is memorable, as is the swordsman's detached tone, the use of classical music is also appropriate. The excellent sense of aesthetics shown in the animation carries over to the audio.CharactersThere are only two persons of import; a young girl and the mysterious Black Swordsman. In this case, less is certainly more - so much understated personality is given to them through movements and some choice lines of dialogue that each makes an impression. Both have more presence than many characters in full length anime.OverallGorgeously grim, Comedy promises a gothic mood and some action, and delivers both. While not my personal favourite of the Studio 4C shorts, its popularity is certainly justified - it should, and does, appeal to many who do not normally watch anime shorts. By all means give it a try.

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