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...
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.
I've recently taken to watching short anime and this is the shortest i've seen so far. I thought maybe 10 minutes isn't enough for an anime but i thought i should have a look anyway. I really liked the story, the characters and the animation despite how short it is. The animation really adds to the story. It like watching a black and white movie but with brief flashes of colour mostly red. As far as character development goes i thought 10 minutes was enough. I didn't think the anime needed to be longer because it would take away from the mystery of the story. The story was so vague we aren't even told about the names of the characters but this gives the story the eerie effect. The story is almost haunting and so its almost as if the title is the joke. Its called comedy but there's little or no humour just a great story. I know i like an anime when i watch to watch it again as soon as i've finished watching it and thats how i felt about Comedy. I think everyone should see this anime because its only 10 minutes and the story is really good.
Comedy (2002) - Production I.G., Studio 4C (?)Not every anime can make me fall back in my chair, stare at the screen, and say “Wow.” Especially not in just ten minutes. Comedy managed. I can’t think of a word to better describe this short than Beautiful. The art has a dark, fuzzy quality, with stark blacks and whites jumping out of gorgeous gray and blue watercolor backgrounds. The only real color is the red of blood, which seems like a trite concept until you notice the haunting effect of bright red on pale white skin. Although some of the animation is a little stiff, particularly the ending battle scene, the stills completely make up for it. If nothing else, Comedy is a visual masterpiece. But there aren’t any “if nothing else”s applicable here. The art is definitely Comedy’s strongest point, but the short doesn’t slack on the other details. Ten minutes doesn’t allow much room for character development, but the little characterization that Comedy does manage to squeeze in enchanted me. The mysterious Swordsman is the sort of character that wriggles into the back of your mind and stays there. The plot appears simple, but it leaves a deep impression. All of the beauty and mystery and the slow, contemplative pace leaves the viewer thinking that there’s far more to the story than the simple framework of a girl asking a monster swordsman to save her village. I really can’t describe the effect the show had on me. It just had me falling back and saying “Wow.” The music is repetitive but fitting. If I’m not mistaken Ave Maria constituted the entire soundtrack, but the song does enhance the mysterious and somewhat melancholy feel of the film. It’s especially powerful during the aforementioned battle scene. My favorite aspect of the sound, however, is the voice acting. Whoever played the Swordsman did an excellent job. From the warped, creepy monologue at the beginning of the short to a laugh that will forever haunt my dreams, the sound effects were golden. Go watch this one, guys. It’s only ten minutes. It’s on Youtube probably. Even if it doesn’t take your breath away like it did mine, it’s not like you have anything to lose. It’s another excuse to procrastinate. Partake!
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