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Animation Runner Kuromi (2003)

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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: US Manga Corps Video
Genre: Action, Anime, Animation, Cel
Running Time: 40 min.
Languages: English, Japanese
Subtitles: English
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This 40 minute OVA follows the adventures of Kuromi Oguro, who has just graduated from animation school and landed her dream job, working for one of the top anime studios in Japan. Unfortunately, within a few moments of meeting her new boss, the poor man is sent to the hospital for an extended stay-leaving Kuromi in charge of her lazy, disorganized coworkers. With the deadline approaching for the team's upcoming release, it's up to the young Kuromi to make sure the project is finished in time-for the sake of the company, and her budding career. ~ Cammila Albertson, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

It's fun, it's funny, it's not long enough. We want MORE! by JTurner1 May 28, 2004 - 6:39 AM PDT
6 out of 6 members found this review helpful
If there is one unfortunate drawback about Animation Runner Kuromi, it may be that it's much too short. Too short, clocking in at only 38 minutes. This is a definite shame, because, at best, this lucky winner of the "Best OVA Feature Award" at the Tokyo International Anime Fair, is hilarious, wacky, laugh-out-loud fun.

Directed by Akitaroh Daichi (Now And Then, Then And There and Fruits Basket), this is a mockumentary about life at an animation studio in (where else?) Japan. At the center of it all is the title character, Mikiko Okuro (nicknamed Kuromi), a young, peppy college graduate whose first day of work at this animation studio, Studio Petit, turns out to be a nightmarish experience. The current production manager falls mysteriously sick on giving her a tour of the residence, time is a-running out for the studio to produce Episode 2 of Time Journeys, and the animation staff -- all with the most eccentric of personalities and problems: there's this guy who produces a lot of key animation sheets but does them horribly out of order; a slacker who only churns out few, if any work, due to being surrounded by toys; a pessimistic woman who really needs to be complimented and look on the bright side; and a newly-wed animator who has a lot to complain about her husband andreducesherselftotalkingamileaminutewhenshementionsherdilemmas -- is falling behind schedule. What's a new assistant manager like Kuromi to do? Of course, everything works out, but not before we survive an onslaught of outrageously funny scenes, gags, in-joke references, and eyepoppingly colorful animation techniques similar to those of His & Her Circumstances (badly drawn Cartoon exaggerations from our characters one moment, and the next, super-deformed!).

All of this might seem like a hodgepodge of nonsense, but it works because it's so consistent and obvious. It's also an interesting look at how life at an animation studio can sometimes be turbulent (and introduce people to the inside stories of what really goes in the production stages of putting together an animated show). It does all of this so entertainingly that it becomes a shame when it just ends so soon. A show like this really could have been expanded. Not that I'm upset, though: the director and his team are reported to have begun work on the sequel.

I was at the BIG APPLE ANIME FEST in New York when I purchased this title. I had come to attend the Voice Acting Panel and have three DVDs of mine autographed by voice actress Lisa Ortiz for her wonderful performances as Deedlit the High Elf from Record Of Lodoss War, and Tsubasa Shibahime from His & Her Circumstances. However, upon listening to the dub, I am pleased to announce that Ortiz once again shines in her over-the-top, enthusiastic portrayal of Kuromi, using her Shibahime voice for the most part. (She says in an interview included on this DVD that she has been known to be crazy sometimes!) Even better, it's got Eric Stuart and Angora Deb in two show-stealing roles (Stuart gets the guy who churns out a lot of unorganized animation sheets while Deb gets the part of the fast-talking complainer). Central Park Media's dubs often get a bad rap from some dub fans and sub purists, but I'll admit to having enjoyed the Lodoss and Slayers dubs from them, and strongly suggest that people give this dub a try. It's hilariously entertaining, although sometimes a little TOO close to the subtitled script (a flaw in most CPM dubs). However, there isn't much lost in the translation and the performers do a lively job with their roles.

Add to this package a gorgeous transfer (which sometimes suffers from a little too much line and edge enhancement), storyboards, an interview (and commentary track!) from the director, and some other nice bonuses, and what more can you ask for? Only the fact that it only clocks in at 40 minutes.

Those who are curious about how Anime is produced, enjoy.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.81)
101 Votes
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Central Park Media Anime, List 1
One of the foremost distributors of anime (and Korean animation) to America. See list CPM #2 for more.
Anime Class
take out your text books and setle down, it's time to become anime littereate! (I can't spell)

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