You visit your second favourite anime blog (which also happens to be your favourite anime blag) and are intrigued about the review they have most recently published, regarding a 30-minute horror movie-type thing called Kakurenbo. You decide to search out more information, as your second favourite anime blog usually tends to review good things. By “search out more information” I of course mean that you read the review.
One of the first things you read in this review is that Kakurenbo is 100% 3D CG. “But Sandra,” you complain, “that’s not anime!” Yes it is. I am an animelogistic scientist, so I know all about this stuff. And as you are not an animelogitisic scientistical researcher, it is my duty to educate you. Listen well, mongrels. Anime is–you black out because you couldn’t handle a non-review and, well, you never actually said that anyway. When you wake up, I have left, so you are free to read your review in peace.
So yeah, that CG. It suffers from most of the typical CG-in-anime problems, but luckily for Kakurenbo you won’t notice these problems very often. Why not? Two reasons. First, the lighting is very dark. Of course, this is akin to not looking in the mirror because you don’t want to see all the imperfections on your face. Or only looking in the mirror when you’re wearing sunglasses. But it’s still okay, because this is horror. Dark lighting is welcome in horror.
The second thing that helps you not care about the CG is the fact that all of the human characters have their faces obscured by masks; so again, you won’t have to deal with how awkward their real faces would no doubt look. Again, hiding imperfections, but there’s a nice in-story reason why they must wear masks.
And I know, there are some out there reading this who will be thinking “But Sandra, if it’s all CG and it’s horror won’t the blood and violence look silly?” And my answer to this is: Stop watching slashers, torture porn, and bad horror movies, you silly goose. It’s not about the blood and the gore and the cheap scares. This didn’t need to have any blood or gore, so it didn’t have any and it can’t exactly look silly if it doesn’t exist.
There’s still stuff to appreciate in the visual area, though. The first being the setting. Flickering bright lights and buildings that seem to be infinitely large are everywhere. Definitely gives you the feel that there’s no way someone would actually be able to find their way out of the place. There’s also quite a bit of detail in the backgrounds, though most of the time you won’t be able to see that because of all the darkness everywhere.
More importantly, though, is the monster designs. Long story short, they’re pretty awesome and inspired by mythology and folklore. And like the rest of the designs in Kakurenbo, they are, for the most part, pretty Japanese.
So let’s talk about the music. Kakurenbo probably only has three or four tracks total, but that’s completely acceptable considering its length and focus. Not to mention, what appears to be the favourite song of the creators just happens to be totally awesome. It actually sets the atmosphere pretty well, all things considered. The sound effects themselves are also pretty nice. Especially when it comes to the monsters. They all make these groany creaky sounds whenever they move, like they’re really made of stone or wood or something. It’s great.
Kakurenbo does a lot of things right, but… its scene transitions suck. Not a thing you’d typically notice or think about in any other anime or movie or short, really (unless you’re some sort of film studies person), but it’s really really bad in this. It kills the atmosphere, because almost all of the scene transitions are FADE TO BLACK and they transition so frequently.
Kakurenbo is still enjoyable despite that problem, but that does make it more difficult to be creeped out by it. It’s also not exactly a thing you should watch more than once or twice in your life, especially since its story is just a one-trick pony twist. Kakurenbo really only works once, and after that it’s just not all that exciting to watch aside from maybe appreciation of its music and monsters.
tl;dr HEY WATCH IT FOR HALLOWEEN AND THEN FORGET ABOUT IT FOR FIVE YEARS OR SO