Blu-ray Review: Anime Limited's PIGTAILS Release Is A Great Compilation

Editor, Europe; Rotterdam, The Netherlands (@ardvark23)
Last week, Scottish distributor Anime Limited released a collection of animated shorts by Japanese studio Production I.G. on Blu-ray (and DVD). All of them are presented in the original Japanese soundtrack with English subtitles, and all of them are good. There, this could be the shortest review ever.

Thing is, in my opinion this set warrants a bit more attention than that. Too often we see great shorts like these at festivals, or plunked in front of a larger movie, and then never are able to see them again, unless released for free (or pirated) on YouTube. It's a bit surprising in this day and age. Streaming platforms like Netflix are all the rage now, and much of the output found there isn't limited to the tried-and-trusted lengths of old-fashioned television and cinemas. Some stories just work better as a short than as a 90-minute film, but even with these new platforms on the market it is hard to translate most shorts into commercial successes.

That's why I'm very happy with this compilation's release. Each of these shorts would not be able to get a special edition by themselves, but together they got quite the treatment. In its Collector's Edition, Anime Limited has nicely included books with art and explanations for all shorts, and you can see pictures of that release in my Pretty Packaging article of last week. Those books are helpful too, as the discs only have the trailers as extras on them, but for those who do not need any extras there will also be a cheaper standard release later this month.

Extras or not, what about the shorts themselves? Below are a series of mini-reviews for each short in the compilation, and you can click on the edge of the pictures to scroll through all five of them.

Pigtails, 2015, Itazu Yoshimi, 28 minutes

Winning literally dozens of awards worldwide, Pigtails marks the directorial debut of animator Itazu Yoshimi, who earlier collaborated with Kon Satoshi on Paranoia Agent and Paprika (and who was slated to finish Kon's in-progress The Dreaming Machine, before that project was unfortunately abandoned).

A melancholy story told in pastels, in Pigtails you follow a young girl living alone in a nice cottage. But why do her surroundings resemble a wasteland? And who are the masked strangers who do medical check-ups on her, and who make sure she has everything she needs?

The answers may not be too surprising, and Itazu thankfully doesn't work towards a giant reveal which explains everything as the climax of his story. Instead, he shows an impressive focus on tiny details and the characters' emotions, and allows for the emotional delivery to arrive all by itself. And ooh boy, does it arrive...

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