For me the problem with anime has always been that it sounds like a good idea in theory, but in practice always seems to collapse under its own delusions of visual grandeur. Because the idea that animators can make any imaginable world, with strange varieties of styles and none of the studio pressure that comes with studio budgets, seems like a perfect set up for truly amazing art.
And then a cel-shaded Leonard Nimoy is riding a zeppelin and ranting about soul magnets and I just want all the colors to stop already, and why are everybody’s eyes bigger than mouths anyway?
So here’s the trailer for The Congress, which is called that as a shout out to Stanislaw Lem, who wrote a story called The Futurological Congress that this film is ever so loosely based on.
Meh. Oh I think we banned the word? Then Double-Meh. There are two types of people in the world. Those who see a trailer like that and go meh, and those who gush about how amazing it is, and how visually creative it is. In most avenues of the arts I’m in the second category of people, but when it comes to animation I’m in the first. I am completely unmoved by visuals for the sake of visuals. I want story.
It’s a similar problem that I have with musicals, in that in general I can’t stand them. I go see the Broadway production of Les Miserables and am bored out of my mind by intermission. When interrogated by someone loving the singing about how I could not possibly be blown away, I point out that only three things have happened in the last hour, two of which were cliches and one of which was just inexplicably stupid. “But the muuuuuusic.”
To my undoubtedly uncivilized and uncultured brain, these conversations are like someone telling me that Fifty Shades of Grey is great literature because the fonts are so pretty.