Anime. It is a word that triggers images in our minds of preconceived ideas and notions. What anime can be is not constrained by language, country of origin or concept; take a music video for example. A music video can bring a whole new experience that can be invoking and emotionally charged. It can transcend language and race, so when it is paired with an animation studio, like A-1 Pictures, beauty can be achieved. Porter Robinson, Madeon, Crunchyroll & A-1 Pictures brought us a small animation just 6:06 minutes in length that left almost a million viewers stunned, in love and on an emotional experience that only a seasoned 25 episode anime has been capable in doing called Shelter. Shelter took me on a journey with a 17 year old girl named Rin who spends every waking moment of her life in a virtual reality with a tablet for company as she is able to craft and explore unique and beautiful worlds the likes of which we may have never seen. She spends her time in these worlds of beautiful yet terrible loneliness.
One day she loads a program in her tablet that tears her virtual world around her, bringing her to her home city of Tokyo, Japan. It is at this moment she begins to see her young self. Smiling, running, and happy. A man often accompanies her and she finds that this is her father. A scientist and engineer trying to give his daughter the best life that he can make for her after her mother’s passing. A somber joy is all that’s left as the Earth faces a fatal collision with a celestial body. The father spends countless nights working on a craft that will act as a life preserver and means of escape for his young daughter Rin; who happens to look on in curious nature. As the dreaded collision date creeps closer and closer, the current image of Rin chases after her father, who is watching the smoke trail of his daughters craft as it escapes the doomed planet and allowing her to live on. The simulation ends and Rin is left with the memories of a past she had forgotten and a void in her life. As she sits on the floor clutching herself, her tablet lights up finally receiving its first and only message. The sender was her late father. It is through this that she resolves to living her life to the fullest that she can; knowing that as long as she has those memories and his words, she will never be alone in her world of beautiful possibilities. The video ends with a clip of her life craft floating among the vastness of space, her body in a sort of stasis as a tear and a smile is shown on her face.
This music video takes you on a journey that is just… I cannot express it in words. I have never felt so incredibly blown away by something as simple as a short animation/music video before. I never even listened to a song by Porter Robinson until now and I am frankly in love with the beauty of the song. It pairs so well with the animation and it unravels a story that is just jaw dropping in beauty. In less that six minutes I was taken through such a journey that would have taken longer anime several more to achieve; sometimes even multiple episodes. A-1 Pictures has managed to create something heavenly and above and beyond anything I have seen from them and that is saying a lot since I loved the work they put in with Blue Exorcist! The amount of depth we are able to get from the images the subtle references to the two planets colliding in the balls of sand that little Rin made or when Rin is enjoying a grassy planes and finds a tree with a swing set that she didn’t add in. All the small details that lead into one another is just frankly beyond anything I have seen in a long while.
The tiny details are what make this animation for me. The fluid movements to how every thing moves with her due to her shifting position or weight. The realism is frankly something I have littler experience in seeing in anime, aside from items like Miyazaki films or the current anime Yuri on Ice! Seeing how the character interacts with the world is just beautifully phenomenal and I couldn’t have asked for better animation than what I saw.
If you wish to fall in love with this short you can feel free to catch it right here on YouTube or over on Crunchyroll. It is worth your time and you may find a new band to follow in the meantime. I will be also featuring this video on OGZ for a couple of days! So enjoy it!