By now, I’m sure you’re familiar with Khara and Dwango’s Japan Animator Expo. Whether it’s in one of the shorts like Dragon Dentist or Hill Climb Girl, or the now-infamous Me! Me! Me!, the online event has certainly made itself known in the fan culture as of late.
For the uninitiated, though, the Japan Animator Expo is a strictly digital event, in which Khara produces a series of short films, which are streamed online for free viewing. One short will be produced every week for a total of 30 weeks.
This week, the featured title ventured into incredibly familiar territory. The film, Until You Come To Me, is a six-minute feature set in the world of Evangelion. It’s a silent feature, which revolves around Shinji in an unspecified point in the timeline. As Shinji walks through the ruined landscapes, bypassing the scars of a great battle.
Dead Eva units, ruined buildings, and dismembered body parts as a light snow begins to fall. An ejected entry plug lay, embedded into a home. Debris seems to be suspended in mid-air, frozen in time forevermore.
Memories of allies rise among the destruction, as the faces of comrades burst into view, only to fade away just as quickly. All the while, a somber symphonic version of “Danny Boy” plays in the background.
Until You Come To Me is a haunting beauty, that revels in the understated. Landscapes are presented as watercolors, with most of the structures and scenery taking on a series of reddish hues. It’s almost as if the world is bleeding, that horrific crimson spilling over the ground upon which Shinji walks. The skies, on the other hand, are a rainbow of blues and blacks, hinting that the very splendor that the viewer seeks is barely out of reach.
The animation, through much of the film, is nearly non-existent. There is an occasional bit of movement using key frames, though the film tends to prefer to focus on the world, rather than any one character. Rather, the Until You Come To Me focuses mainly on long, simple zooms on these devastated structures and places, as snowflakes gently flutter across the viewer’s vision.
The end of the short, in which Shinji stands upon a beach, is the only segment to feature real animation. It’s a colorful and vibrant cut, that stands as a stark contrast to the rest of the film. It’s an interesting way to end things, and hints toward far greater events to come, though there are no real answers given and no real closure to the viewer.
But that’s okay.
Until You Come To Me is a rare title, where the story isn’t (and shouldn’t) be the focus for the viewer. It’s an experience, which speaks volumes about the events, and even the characters with nary a word of dialogue. It’s a master stroke in subtlety, that simply shouldn’t be ignored.