While rummaging through the bowels of that wonderful place known as the internet I stumbled upon this fantastic short anime, Rain Town, created by Hiroyasu Ishida, a young Japanese animator who made a splash on the scene back in 2009 with his short film, Fumiko’s Confession.
The film runs just under ten minutes, and the artistry found within this short amount of time is some of the most awe-inspiring I have seen since that one time I danced in front of the miror to the intro music from Murder, She Wrote. But you don’t have to take MY word for it; you can check it out for yourself!
The opening has some words that you will probably not understand, so here’s the translation for you:
“In this town, since who knows when, rain has never stopped.
Residents moved out to suburbs and high ground around ‘Rain Town.’
People’s memories are now deeply submerged.
But into this forgotten rainy town sometimes, someone wanders.”
P.S. Make sure to watch it at 720p if you can.
The animation is simply incredible, with the dreary dystopian backdrop of Rain Town being brought to life in a way that is so complex, yet so very simple, which is essentially the best way to describe the film as a whole. It’s visually astounding and layered with music that is poignantly haunting, but it is the quick snapshot of these character’s lives that seems to have the most impact.
I pride myself on being able to easily pick up on messages and meaning in movies, however, I had to watch Rain Town a few times before it all sort of came together for me. A sense of loneliness that can come from solidarity is drizzled throughout the narrative, and this is represented by both the robot and the old woman (who is the elderly version of the little girl).
While both characters appear to suffer from loneliness both are able to find someone within the drenched confines of Rain Town, someone that reminds them that they aren’t alone. For the robot, befriending the little girl would bring back a swell of nostalgia, transporting him (I’ll assume it’s a him) back to a time well before the clouds darkened Rain Town; a time before his previous companion would desert him. The old woman seems to be lonesome when she is introduced in the film’s opening, but as the short moves forward, it becomes clear that she has always been with the friend she met on that damp day when she ventured into Rain Town.
Both characters have a void that is filled by the other’s presence, and they’ve been able to rely on one another for companionship for as long as it has been since that chance meeting in Rain Town.
Despite its length, Rain Town is an amazing piece of cinema that delivers more than many films that run 90-minutes are able to. And consider this, the short is Ishida’s graduation film from Kyoto Seika University, so this guy is just getting started, so who knows where he could go from here.