2011-02-15

Giniro no Kami no Agito Review

I just watched "Giniro no Kami no Agito" -- Agito of the Silver Hair or
"Origin: Secrets of the Past" if you're going with the Western release.
(although the Western title doesn't really make sense)



Now, I'll admit that I've had this anime on my hard-disk for years. Literally years. It was the first anime to hit the scene in HD, many years ago, and also (maybe) my first contact with mkv. I fired up my laptop, and after ages downloading (HD is big!) I tried to play it, and my laptop choked. The box I later had connected to my projector was a Pentium-4 which could _just about_ handle HD, but the humbling experience of not having been able to play it left me with a reluctance to go back to it. That, and the poor reviews. Anyway -- I've been working through stuff that I've had lying around for ages recently, and it hit the top of the pile.



So how was it? Well; I'll admit after all those years flicking past it, I almost switched it off the minute the Gonzo logo appeared on my screen. Still, I wasn't looking for a masterpiece, so I gave it a go anyway.



Giniro tells the story of Agito, who lives in a future-Earth that's been destroyed by an ecological disaster. Humans are barely getting by, and plants dominate the globe, sucking all of the available water away. One day he discovers an artifact from the past, which may tip the balance in the war for survival between the plants and mankind... (surprise surprise, a girl in suspended animation).



The premise isn't particularly believable, but you just have to suspend disbelief. The visual style and technology design is very reminiscent of Last Exile - beautiful. The smartphone-analogue is a really cool idea, watching the show is worth it just for this if you're into that kind of thing. The backgrounds are absolutely stunning, and it really shows off all 720 of those pixels. It's a perfect first-HD anime (shame I never got to watch it!).



In terms of the implied depth of the setting, I'm actually quite surprised that there isn't a manga it's based on; there seems much more to the world than they have time to show it. This is Gonzo through and through -- they've once again managed to mis-judge the appropriate amount to animate. This feels like it should be the setting for a 13-episode series (or maybe 6 OVAs). Then again, maybe it's better to under-play something than over-play it (something they fall afoul of much more often). The characters are bland and predictable in general, nothing much special there. The macguffin, the eponymous white hair, is barely explained, and it feels as though you're supposed to have read the programme notes before viewing. The really interesting-seeming stuff, like the defenders of the forest, and their spokesperson are glossed over. Instead, we get twenty minutes of exposition, about a half-hour of 'life in the village', then a rushed conflict leading to climax.



The show is Gonzo through and through, that's all I really have to say. They misjudged the quality of the art and the setting, and failed to put together a decent story. They also either cut the script and lost important details, lost sight of the narrative, or I was just too dense/asleep to notice when they explained the significance of the hair (until quite late into the movie). All in all, a pretty, but disappointing movie. Not a bad one for a casual gathering maybe, but nothing amazing.

What a fucking awesome image!