A five-year-old girl tries to protect her Irish village from the oncoming English army by enlisting the help of the legendary Black Swordsman. His price: books of a certain genre. Will her offering be good enough, and will he finish his book in time to save the day?
Kigeki isn't precisely a comedy. Rather, it's a very interesting period piece that sticks in the mind long past the ten minutes it actually runs.
For something with so little runtime, it presents a very good fairy tale-style plot, which is a bit fantastic, but par for the course for anime. The choice of setting is unusual and refreshing in that the creators opted for Ireland rather than Asia. The cast is essentially limited to the girl and the swordsman, which is all that is needed for the short. Still, the Black Swordsman is utterly fascinating as a character, even as little as we see him, and his interaction with the girl is amusing and charming.
The real treat here, though, is the animation itself, which is fluid and presents ethereally beautiful visuals that wouldn't look out of place in a full-length movie. The setting, the characters, and the action are presented with a darkly Gothic, yet almost eerily placid tone that gives off the feeling that this anime wasn't so much written, as much as it grew naturally. Paired with the soundtrack (an excellent rendition of Franz Schubert's "Ave Maria"), the overall effect is truly mesmerizing.
It shouldn't surprise viewers that this is a work from Studio 4°C, who brought us three shorts in The Animatrix, as well as the highly regarded Tekkon Kinkreet. While many anime studios are content to create the next big moe show, 4°C has been continually innovating and pushing the envelope of arthouse anime, and deserves serious kudos.
Short and simple, Kigeki is a treat to watch, and fans of anime as an art form owe it to themselves to view this and see what virtuoso performers can do even within such a limited timeframe.
Kigeki packs more imagery and interest in ten minutes than many anime do in dozens of episodes. If only there were more ... — Carlos Ross
Recommended Audience: There is some stylized violence, with the Black Swordsman shedding the blood of innumerable English soldiers. Teens and up.
Version(s) Viewed: digital source
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Kigeki © 2002 Production I.G / Studio 4°C
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