The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials


Title: Kakurenbo aka Hide and Seek
Genre: Drama/Horror
Company: Comix Wave Films
Format: Movie; 25 minutes.
Date: 1 Sep 2004

Synopsis: Rumor has it that in a dark and ghostly town a dangerous game of hide and seek is played, called Otokoyo. It is also rumored that demons live in this town and that the kids that played the game in the past have never returned. Seven kids wearing fox masks decide to find out for themselves if these rumors are true, heading for the town to play the game themselves.

The Highlights
Animation: Genius blending of cell shading and computer animation.
Artwork: Meticulously detailed.
Mood: Bone chilling, a truly suspenseful horror film.
Plot: Sparse, but with an eerie twist at the end.

What a treat for the eyes Kakurenbo is! Detail erupts from every building, neon sign, and piece of junk that make up the town of Otokoyo. On top of that, the animators animated every little movement, maximizing the realism using an unbelievable blend of computer animation and cell shading. I hate cell shading with a passion, which stands as a testament to how good the animation is and how well-integrated everything is. Every swagger made while walking, every turn of a character’s head while talking, and every muscle tensing when a character is frightened make Kakurenbo look more like a video game or a live action movie than an anime.

All of these details plus the realism of movement from the characters create a tense mood without large amounts of storytelling and buildup. No sound or piece of music was added without intent, which really gets the viewer involved. Accomplishing this in a TV series or full length movie would be quite a feat, but Kakurenbo manages to do everything in a little less than half an hour. All this attention given to creating a mood is not wasted, because it all builds to a final revelation. It is suffice to say that this twist is as creepy as the artwork is detailed.

Kakurenbo has won many awards including “Notable Entry” at the Tokyo International Anime Fair, and “Best Short film” at the Fantasia Film Festival. These awards are well-deserved as Kakurenbo is a fantastic short story that is worth half an hour of everyone’s time. Even if you do not like horror, you still need to see the amazing artwork and animation. If you like horror, why are you still reading this? Go see Kakurenbo now.

The Rating: 8

Reviewed by: Kuma

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