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Short Peace (anime review)

Short PeaceTitle: Short Peace

Directors: Possessions; Shuhei Morita, Combustile; Katsuhiro Otomo, Gambo; Hiroaki Ando,  A Farewell To Weapons; Hajime Katoki.

Writer / Creator: Possessions; Shuhei Morita, Combustile; Katsuhiro Otomo, Gambo; Hiroaki Ando, A Farewell To Weapons;  Studio is Sunrise.

Studio: All Short Films are done at Sunrise.

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks / Section 23

U. S. Release Date: Aug. 5th,

Format: Blu-ray / 4 short films / 68 minutes

Genre: Fantasy, Edo Period, Sci Fi

Age Rating: TV MA

Overall Personal Rating: B+


In 1995, Katsuhiro Otomo’s anthology Memories showcased the work of upcoming superstars of the anime world. Now, Otomo’s spotlight shifts to a fresh generation of master creators with an all-new anthology of visionary films.

A lone traveler is confronted by unusual spirits in an abandoned shrine in the 2013 Academy Award nominated Possessions (Tsukumo), directed by Shuhei Morita (Coicent, Kakurenbo). A mysterious white bear defends the royal family from the predations of a red demon in the brutal Gambo, directed by Hiroaki Ando (Five Numbers!) from Redline’s Katsuhito Ishii’s original story with character designs by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (Neon Genesis Evangelion).

The focus shifts from supernatural to science fiction for the action-packed A Farewell To Weapons (Buki Yo Saraba), as Mobile Suit Gundam designer Hajime Katoki helms Otomo’s tour-de-force saga of men battling robotic tanks in apocalyptic Tokyo, while grandmaster Otomo himself assumes the directorial reigns for a spectacular tale of love, honor and firefighting in ancient Japan with the multi-award winning Combustible (Hi-No-Youjin).

Prepare your senses for the animated films that are taking the critical world by storm as a new era in anime is ushered in with Katsuhiro Otomo’s Short Peace!


Compilation sets are not as common as they used to be and for as much fun as they are there was often a real letdown when they came out. The expectation that we would see something amazing was always followed by dashed hopes and a sense that the future for anime is nothing new. Now comes Short Peace and a look at four short films that approach animation in very different ways.

Before I get into the films I have to mention the opening sequence. In some ways it was very special in itself and managed to heighten my expectations for the films. Now as the films go I was immediately shocked by the look of the first film, Possession, looked. I thought I was looking at a edo period version of Appleseed. Now this could be construed as something great because I really like Appleseed and feel like it was a ground breaker for its time. Now-a-days  this blocky style of Computer Graphics looks dated and somewhat naive, but as soon as you get into the story this feeling of obsolescence fades away quickly. The story is based on an old Taoist belief and brings the idea to life in an imaginative way. By the end of the story I didn’t care about the animation style.

Combustile is a different story all together. This is another Edo period film that quietly takes on a simple story of the loss of childhood and dreams. I loved the look, but found the story to be lacking in substance and ended up leaving me flat. I think that what really happened is that there just wasn’t time to connect with the characters  and the complex human aspect to the story needed a larger opportunity to develop. None-the-less, it comes off as the weakest of them all.

Gambo is a interesting story of alien devastation and also during the Edo period. The look of Gambo is outstanding and gives a slick stylized look to a naturalistic film. The story is straight forward but the overall look is what takes this one home. There is also a battle at the end that is rather intense. This clearly is what helps make this a memorable anime.

The last film, A Farewell To Weapons, is by far the slickest of all the films. It is not based on the past but rather in the future and carries with it a rather realistic opinion of what happens after humanity is done playing god with weapons and weapon systems. It may also be the one with the least complex of all the stories. Even though is is simple in form the animation is beautifully done. It matched the subject matter and came across with a realist impression. It also managed to show us how good Computer Graphics have gotten.

Overall Grade: B+

Unlike other compilation sets like Voices of a Distant Star, by Shinkia , or Heavy Metal, Short Peace doesn’t seem to providing us a glimpse of the next great director / creator. Although, I was impressed with Gambo and A Farewell To Weapons for their ability to give us a slick anime that left a real impact.  Short Peace does provide a solid hour of entertainment and because of the variety of styles it keeps us engaged. In closing, this compilation set could be a genuine addition to any anime collection.