First things first, go watch the video. I don’t care if you are an anime fan or not, this is 6 minutes of your life that I guarantee would be worth repeating over and over and over again. If you haven’t watched the video, please, I beg you, please do NOT read t his blog. Spend 6 minutes to watch this wonderful piece of art, and then come back.
So, have you watched the video? No cheating, seriously, you would regret to if you are spoiled.
While it is not the first time we have seen an anime music video, this is definitely the first time a western musician making an anime music video. It’s the collaboration fo cultures and music and anime, and the baby is flawless. I may seem very late on this train, but the fact is I’ve started writing this post since when the video just came out and I can’t stop procrastinating. Nevertheless, thank you for listening to what I have to say for something you may have forgotten already.
Is this an anime?
I personally think it was an anime. You see, anime is an art form and it’s hard to define. I thought that as there are anime series and anime movies, why not an anime music video? I’ve never considered series like Avatar to be anime because I don’t consider work influenced by anime to be anime, as they are not Japanese and the art style was also leaning more towards western than Japanese. Shelter was very Japanese, the animation was undoubtedly Japanese anime. While the story was written by an American, the studio that produced it was Japanese, the language of the dialogues was Japanese, the characters were Japanese. It is a Japanese anime, with western music.
A more objective criterion I personally used to define anime is if the original project has a Japanese audio. Shelter 100% fits that criteria.
Should this be turned into a series or movie?
I personally don’t think it would be a good idea. Short films are forced to cramp everything within a very short period of time which makes them very concise and rich. Forcefully stretching this to a 2-hour movie or even a 12 episode anime would ruin it. I don’t want to watch a watered-down version of this story and I don’t want to know what happened next either. The music video showed just enough to make the audience understand what happened while not too much so that we can use our imagination to interpret the story. The ending is full of unknown and uncertainty which is important for the theme of the story itself.
As we have all of those out of the way, and hopefully filtered out people who haven’t watched that video, I would talk about the story itself.
For people who didn’t get the story after watching the video, Shelter is about a 17-year-old girl Rin who lies in a virtue reality when she can control her surroundings with a tablet. She is able to manipulate and create her own world where she would later explore herself. The only shortcoming is that she is the only one in this world. However, she doesn’t feel lonely, probably because she never knew another life.
One day, her lost memories were triggered alive. She remembers herself as a young girl living in Tokyo with her loving father after her mother’s death. From the memory, we can see that another planet was going to collide with Earth and eventually end the world. The father took it into his own hand and built a space capsule for his daughter which would launch her safely to space and save her life. The capsule would put her in a comatose state where her memories are suppressed and her consciousness would only live in the virtual reality world where the world is literally under her fingertips.
While building the capsule, he spent the very last moment celebrating the last Christmas and New Year with her. After knowing the truth, Rin received a letter from her father. She would never live the carefree life she had before. Her memory would cause her a lot of sadness thinking about her past and what she had lost. However, it also gave her the strength to move on. She is no longer living life just to pass time. She now knows who she is and hence has a purpose in life and a reason to move forward.