Genius Party Review – An Enticing Compilation of Movies (Anime)on February 17, 2018 by Mitch Jay
Genius Party, and its sequel Genius Party Beyond, are compilations of short movies by Studio 4°C, with each one created by a different legendary creator. Different themes, styles and concepts are explored, and you’ll find yourself engaged and enticed with this wonderfully abstract collection.
There are twelve movies in total, and you’re going to have favourites. As with any compilation work, some works will appeal to you whilst some won’t. That said, all of the movies included are worth your time, even if you might not enjoy some quite as much as others. The sheer talent and ideas on show make this a must-watch and whilst I won’t talk about each individual movie at length, I will talk about a few of my favourites.
Different themes, styles and concepts are explored, and you’ll find yourself engaged and enticed with this wonderfully abstract collection.
Genius Party begins with a short, musical number to introduce itself, then it’s straight onto Shanghai Dragon. Shanghai Dragon is lovely story featuring the imagination of children where one Chinese child, Gonglong, finds a magical pencil-like object which has fallen from space. Armed with this newfound tool, he begins drawing and everything he draws comes to life.
When humans from space come to reclaim the item, they tell him that he’s the chosen child who can wield it. He uses this power to fight off an invading threat, and he finally gets to live out his superhero dreams. It’s uplifting and gave me chills, and it’s a great movie to have near the beginning. Transformers and Escaflowne legend Shoji Kawamori directed and scripted Shanghai Dragon.
The next movie, Deathtic 4, is what you’d get if you crossed Tim Burton with games developer Ovosonico, with its eerie art style and undead setting being its playground. When a group of undead children find a not so undead frog, they decide to try and get it back to the world of the living. The zombie police show up to stop them though, and they have to escape their town to return the frog. It’s pretty funny, and its unique use of CGI is captivating. Underneath Deathtic 4‘s initially horrifying art style is a lot of heart, and Shinji Kimura of Steamboy fame worked on this one.
Underneath Deathtic 4‘s initially horrifying art style is a lot of heart.
The big pull of the collection for many will be Baby Blue, which was directed by Cowboy Bebop creator Shinichiro Watanabe. This is one of the ones I was most excited to check out, and it’s the last entry on the first Genius Party compilation before it goes into Beyond. It’s a beautiful coming-of-age tale which evokes a lot of emotions, despite only running for around 14 minutes. It takes a relatively generic story but manages to tell it in such a delicate way, and you might be in tears by the time it ends.
No two entries are the same, with distinct art styles and narratives being their notable differences. What they all share is creativity and the desire to evoke emotion, and their art style matches what they’re hoping to achieve. Genius Party is a visual party, with so much to look at and only so little time to watch it all in. Some of the films are a handful of minutes long, and I’ve been tempted to rewatch some of them again thanks to how good they are. Okay, I didn’t particularly enjoy Limit Cycle, but I appreciate what it conveyed.
There’s no English dub, with all movies being in Japanese bar the odd exception with Shanghai Dragon, where the main protagonists speak Chinese. The collection is so inherently Japanese that I’m not sure it would quite work the same any other way. There isn’t a whole lot of dialogue in some of the stories but some, such as Limit Break, are mostly dialogue-focused. The soundtrack is different too with each entry having its own atmosphere and fitting music, and so your enjoyment with each set of songs will vary.
Genius Party and Genius Party Beyond are excellent compilations with incredible movies, and the talent involved is awe-inspiring.
Genius Party and Genius Party Beyond are excellent compilations with incredible movies, and the talent involved is awe-inspiring. I love when creators come together to create something a little outside of their comfort zone, and I recommend these to any anime fan. They’re certainly unique, and you’ve likely not seen anything like this before.