Technically and creatively very impressive but the story and overall delivery falls short of the standards set by the design
Junko is a young girl living deep in the woods with her partially sighted grandfather. When a samurai comes looks for taxes to be paid to a corrupt samurai lord, it ends in tragedy and, after s period grieving, young Junko sets out to get her revenge with only a mystical fox for help.
This short film is really strong where it counts because we get told this simple tale of loss and revenge in a way that blends modern and traditional Japanese story-telling, with elements of the kabuki theatre mixed with modern anime and comic book traits in a way that is creative and engaging. Title place holders are used on the screen and our characters walk though scenes that are animated like we were watching a moving comic book, but at the same time we get set changes as if we were in the theatre. The style of animation is also variable with computer effects, animations, hand puppets and other techniques used well to give the film a great feel. All of this side is great and it is a shame that the whole film is not as good as the construction on which it is built.
The story is poor and goes nowhere quite slowly. The performances are also quite weak as they have little to do and seem quite amateurish as a result. Hardest to forgive is that the conclusion comes about so quickly and with no build up and no delivery; I was hoping for something dramatic or maybe even a fight sequence delivered within this great animation (how good would that have been) but instead it is a weak ending that disappoints but also fits with how I felt about the material generally. Friedman deserves a lot of credit for what he has built from a creative and technical standpoint, but it is a shame that he then didn't do more with it.
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