OVA (1 ep x 17 min)
2.844 out of 5 from 268 votes
Rank #16,192

A young woman awakens in a desolate town with no inhabitants. She’s unable to read signposts or remember anything about who she is or what she’s doing there. All she can do is recognize the symbols that appear on her hands, identifying her as Agarta, devourer of dragons. Alone and in an unfamiliar place, Agarta must remember the reason she is there and defeat the evils within.

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StoryWhat do you get when you cross an artist skilled at calligraphy, a decent yet oft-clichéd story and lack of budget? The weak and disappointing G-9. G-9's story alone is satisfactory enough; though short, it succeeds at becoming a pleasant sci fi story with a bit of a twist. There are monsters with hidden origins, a woman who can't remember who she is, and inner monologues galore - all of which add up to an acceptable viewing experience. Yet beyond the generic aspects lie a number of problems: the ‘twist' is one that won't be new to sci fi fans; there's an exceptionally long fighting sequence; and above all, there's an unsatisfying conclusion. Each of these problems on their own could be dismissible, but combined they bring down enjoyment considerably.AnimationG-9's animation is reminiscent of both the Okami video game and a picture book. Each scene consists of one calligraphy-styled static image. True animation rarely - if ever - occurs; a stroke of wind or non-animated zoom effect is the closest G-9 comes to anything digital. Even more offensive than the barrage of still shots is a heavily drawn-out fighting sequence with incomprehensible, always-morphing ink blots as the main characters. I can only guess that the already bottomed-out budget took a nosedive into the world of epic fail. That's not to say that the imagery is hopeless - each frame, especially those with the leading lady, is skillfully drawn and detailed. But these individual parts fail to comprise a comprehensive whole given the lack of in-between animation.SoundAs if seventeen minutes of still shots isn't bad enough, G-9 also includes a set of cheesy and flat sound effects with each scene - presumably to validate the dialogue which describes what the characters should be doing on screen. Unfortunately that solution is a lost cause as G-9 instead comes across as feeling cheap and ancient. Though G-9 has little to no real audio tracks, the occasional song tends to be either forgetful or flat out horrible, such as the fight scene's ridiculous rock ballad.CharactersWhile Agarta's lost memories are eventually explained, she remains a perplexing character with far too many loose ends. Side characters such as the monster also have an interesting role to play in the story, but its relationship to Agarta is confusing and unrealistic. Ultimately, all that's left is too many questions and not enough answers, making the ‘character development' somewhat pointless.OverallG-9 will likely be forgettable to anyone who cares about animation, story or audio. Those who either have recently taken an anesthetic or those who enjoy nothing but still shots, books on tape or calligraphy might appreciate what G-9 has to offer. Otherwise, stay away.


StoryG-9's beginning is great - weird, arty, and immediately engaging. Memory loss, mystic origins, a slow-pace and a naked woman in an abandoned city - this promised an exceptional experience. Unfortunately, the rest of the short didn't quite deliver on that promise. First there's an extended and somewhat dull fight sequence followed by aimless milling with quasi-expository dialogue until the credits roll. The explanations wind up tying together a vaguely incoherent mess of sci-fi ideas that sort of fit, raising the issues of memory and identity but doing so neither clearly nor well. If the middle was dropped and tighter pacing was used I probably would have loved G-9. This could have worked just fine as a stylishly incomprehensible head-trip had an ineffective action sequence not been shoehorned in.AnimationI'm conflicted on this rating. On the one hand, the images are frequently wonderful. Most are strikingly composed black and white - and many are simply sublime. The stranger interior designs seem strongly reminsicent of the disturbed genius of H.R. Giger's paintings (most famous for his work on Alien). The monster designs aren't as cool, but beside that there's a consistently good aesthetic sense shown. You can easily get lost in the artistry of this piece, and it even makes the plot seem a heck of a lot more interesting than it really is. On the other hand, animation is almost never used and when done, sucks - 'movement' is just distorting still images using computer effects. I wouldn't be surprised if no animators worked on this short at all. Worse, the action sequences don't feel particularly tense or involving. I love limited animation if done well, but G-9 - while effective in parts - isn't a stellar example of that.SoundThe early music is ominous and atmospheric. Later rock pieces are forgettable; voice acting is generally okay.CharactersThe woman, the monsters and the remaining miscellany are ultimately nothing more than bits and parts of a rather odd puzzle. That puzzle may not entirely connect but they serve their purpose reasonably well.OverallIs G-9 worth watching? Well, I liked it despite the problems I've mentioned. If you're just looking for interesting artwork you may appreciate this. You'll also be satisfied if you enjoy sci-fi mind-games that don't need to be soluble. Otherwise there's little to recommend it for.


Story: 5/10  Unlike anime with more time on its hands to properly structure and develop a story, a project  of this length can easily survive on its indications of what lies outside the limited run time. In this sense, G-9 manages fairly well in producing a cryptic and initially confusing puzzle of amnesia, monologues and calligraphy-inspired artwork. The story seems initially confusing but reaches acceptable heights of coherence and quality thanks to later elaborations. It never really reaches a conclusion, but there are enough plot devices to make the viewer imagine a tale of larger proportions. We only get to see the female protagonist, Agarta, fight her way through one adventure taking place in human consciousness (where she slays parasites) but it's quite easy to picture her previous and later experiences, which is all the story needs. Animation: 5/10 I hesitate to even refer to it as animation since there is little to no movement at all. G-9 is highly experimental in its artwork, relying heavily on calligraphy-styled stills rather than movement; a decision quite likely to infuriate audiences. Does it look good? Well, the visual section of G-9 comes off as a double-edged sword. On one hand it features beautiful and detailed stills as well as a distinctive approach, but on the other hand, it fails miserably in its action sequences. In the end, the original and interesting "animation" is bound to lose its charm. Sound: 4/10 In shorter movies, rather than asking "are the performances good?" a question of higher relevance would be "Do the voices suit the characters?”. I'd like to proclaim that they most certainly do but despite Agarta being mysteriously pleasant to listen to, the rest of the soundtrack is far from impressive with sloppy sound effects and poorly applied songs that don't fit the material very well. Characters: 5/10 Agarta slays parasites that reside in human consciousness and each time she embarks on a new quest she loses her memories. Once they return she's ready to get the job done and the reward she receives after a successful task is not money like one would expect. Instead she receives old memories in a gradual puzzle of self-discovery. Just like the story development, characterization in G-9 is vague at most but manages to be both interesting and, above all else, sufficient. Overall: 5/10 As much as it is memorable and fascinating in its own peculiar ways, G-9 suffers from severe problems that turn a story of potential into a decent watch. If you can handle an anime that barely deserves to be called animated, as well as a story that relies on vague indications more than anything concrete you might want to give it a chance. To be absolutely honest, however, I watched it solely because it looked different and if that's what you're after it will suit your tastes perfectly.  

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