Best Anime of the 00s – The Diary of Tortov Roddle (2003)

Early web-animation from Oscar winning animator Kunio Katō. This review originally appeared in my livejournal in 2005, when the animation was still available on his website – you can now see it on Crunchyroll.

The Diary of Tortov Roddle is a short film divided into shorter, well not even stories, more like tableau, of a traveller. The land in which is he travels is surreal. The way in which he travels is surreal. The things he sees are surreal. Now surrealism is a difficult thing to pull off. You see it often mistaken for Eddie Izzard-style meandering wacky nonsense, invariably ending in “…err…FISH!”.

This is not the route this piece takes.

This is not a comedy, is more a creation of a feeling or mood. Slightly melancholy, yet warm and inviting. It’s not a scary surrealism, its more the feeling of seeing something out of the ordinary and then being able to sit back and feel the glow of being gifted with the opportunity to see that. Be it a cartoon projected onto the side of a bear, or rabbit people commuting to the moon. This is achieved not only by the events depicted but by the techniques used. No dialogue is used, only music and interstitial captions. But more importantly is the art. Apparently using pencil illustrations and 2d computer animation, it has wonderful sense of being to it.