Review: This Boy Can Fight Aliens

This Boy Can Fight Aliens.jpgThis Boy Can Fight Aliens

This boy can fight aliens, in thirty minutes or less.

This Boy Can Fight Aliens is a 30-or-so minute short film produced by CoMix Wave, which hit gold in recent years by distributing the solo-works of animator Makoto Shinkai (Voices of a Distant Star).  This, too, was the product (mostly) of one person, a woman named Soubi Yamamoto.

Because of its length, there’s not too much I can say about the movie without giving away the whole plot.  Basically, aliens have come to Earth, and each day they send down one organism to fight a particular boy, Kakashi.  Kakashi has lost his memory and was taken in by two government agents, the feminine Arikawa, and the older male supervisor he lives with for some reason, Shiro.

Now knowing what his life is like, and if he has anything worth fighting for, Kakashi begins to question his motivation in fighting the aliens.  That’s a suitable enough premise for a short film, but it doesn’t resonate too well because the alien fights aren’t shown to be particularly difficult for the boy.  If he were truly suffering, then the question of going on would be just; as it is, he just comes off a little selfish and lazy.  The three characters are well-defined but aren’t developed much; again, this is largely a function of run time.  The resolution is a bit of a deus ex machina, although it does ties everything together more-or-less satisfactorily.

The animation is very limited.  There’s a lot of panning over still images and endlessly repeated short cycles (like grass blowing back and forth).  The coloring is done in a ridiculously-flashy way, with glowing (and sometimes moving) patterns, which serve somewhat to hide the faults in the basic movement.  Stylistically, it looks a lot like His and Her Circumstances, with its lanky characters, mix of styles, and mountains of text.

This Boy Can Fight Aliens is nice for what it is; just keep your expectations in check, there’s only so much you can do in 30 minutes.  The Blu Ray from Sentai Filmworks looks good.  Video is unaltered (with Japanese titles and credits).  Extras include three, even shorter films from the same director.

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