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This episode continued in the same vein as the previous in the sense of it seeming to showcase what this series was about at heart – creating this interesting denno world concept, and coming up with intriguing and amusing possibilities for the creatures/gadgets that fill it out. This episode is a stand-alone like the previous episode showcasing the different forms of the various denno creatures. An overarching story doesn’t progress forward, but this somewhat ludicrous and fascinating ep feels truer to Iso’s whimsical cyber ethos than having some epic drama unfold. I mentioned the series reminded me of Doraemon at the beginning, and these last two episodes reinforce that impression.
Iso was the storyboarder (and writer, as always). It’s really the concept and the idea that drives things forward and maintains interest, and the idea here was hilarious and totally unexpected. This coercive-interactive Sim City-like virus also provided some interesting room for metaphorical comment on human nature with its brief history of mankind via the stand-in of sentient hair follicles… pretty impressive to be able to do that with hair follicles. It never becomes too serious that way, which is good.
The animation was toned down from the previous episode though hardly bad, with Hata Ayako as the animation director. Hiroyuki Aoyama’s part was easily identifiable here as it was in Secret of Cerulean Sand - the bit right after the midpoint, with that wonderful momentum and follow-through. What a difference that training at Telecom makes. His approach is so different from everybody else on the show, in a good way. Even people like Toshiyuki Inoue don’t seem to try to create that combination of richness and ‘good feeling’ in the motion that Aoyama can create, though Takeshi Honda is certainly closer to Aoyama in that sense. Honda’s more playful, as well as being a master mover. Toshiyuki Inoue started out on shows like Gu-Gu Ganmo in the late 80s, so a show of this nature is actually kind of a return to old territory for him after a long period doing mostly realistic stuff like Jin-Roh and Tokyo Godfathers. He’s incredibly versatile, though he doesn’t have that spark of imagination and playfulness that people like Masaaki Yuasa and Shinji Otsuka have. I think a show like this gives him a good opportunity to work on that side. In any case, it’s great to be able to see what all of these theatrical animators might do in the freer and more playful context of a TV series. Most of them probably got their start on TV stuff.