That is an anime too – Monotonous Purgatory

Sometimes you think that you know anime, you know how it looks like, what kind of stories it tells. Sure, anime is way more than high school boy and girls with big eyes eating cake in the club room, but still, you have watched enough to know what anime is all about. For example, if I show that cartoon I’ve written about a few months ago – The Old Man and the Sea – you’ll immediately be able to tell that this is not an anime, and you’ll be right, of course. This strange way of drawing using paint on glass, the way the story is told, even character designs, all that is just not anime. Hmmm, but wait, is that really so?..

matryoshka - Monotonous Purgatory pic2

That is oil on glass technique. Wait till you see how it looks in motion :P

Let me tell you about a short anime made by Shiroki Saori for a music band with a weird name Matryoshka (that is a word for an old fashioned Russian toy). The anime tells a story about a girl who goes to sleep, and in her dream she meets a friend and together they climb to a roof to watch stars in the night sky. It is a simple yet nice story.

matryoshka - Monotonous Purgatory pic4

What happens next is a question to me, either the dream turns into a nightmare, or she just never wakes up. I don’t know, maybe you will be able to tell me after you watch it. It is only 6 minutes long.

I think the way they animated this film goes really well with the story. This oil painted on a glass technique makes everything seem less real, and it leaves a lot to your imagination, which is great if you make a movie about a dream world. Also I liked how the night sky looked. Black sky and tiny bright dots of stars, there is something in that, it seems real and magical at the same time.

You can watch the movie here:

See you next time (^_^)/

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11 thoughts on “That is an anime too – Monotonous Purgatory

  1. I feel as if I’ve seen something animated with this same technique before, the oil-on-glass, but I can’t put my finger on what or when. There are a lot of possible interpretations as to what’s happening but it seemed to me that the little girl was in fact dead, as illustrated by the way the sheet crept up over her face, shroud-like, before she fell into the dreamworld-like place, and the coffin-burying scene.

    • Yeah, but somehow it is hard to believe that she is dead. I mean, she is the most alive character in this short piece, and the anime starts and ends with her walking. So if they meant to say that she is dead I just wonder how to interpret the rest of the movie =) I like this about little short experimental stories, you can get away with such vague imagery that leaves a lot to interpretation, it is something you can hardly do with a feature film.

      That is the only thing that have remotely similar look out of what I have seen is this cartoon: But I would say sand animation makes sort of similar results – you have probably seen something by Ferenc Cako – like here They used to show his works on TV a lot over here.

      • Well, personally, I interpreted it as a comment on the nature of death, but possibly because it seemed to reflect musings I happen to have had in the past, coincidentally, basically amounting to the idea that perhaps dead people are still aware in some fashion. It could also be seen as a more straightforward ‘spirit world’ sort of thing. Life-in-death-in-life chains. I dunno, I’m talking rubbish probably. XD

        Whatever it was it was something long ago and far away. It’s a misty childhood sort of memory. I’ll probably never know. (Will still watch those though!)

        • Oh no, it does make sense. I would have accepted this interpretation.. but thinking about this little girl with her pretty dreams being dead, that doesn’t sit well with me =) I just want this cartoon to be a happy story (even though it probably isn’t).

          • If it makes you feel better, to me, it is happy as a death story, because it implies that death is not something to be feared, but rather, is akin to sleeping forever, with dreams to be explored, off forever into the horizon. It’s certainly nicer than the idea of Hell or disappearing into nothingness, IMO, but YMMV, of course!

            • I was thinking about the same thing just now =) That they tried to comment on how similar death and sleep are, which would lead to the sort of parallels you drew. Being asleep forever though, I don’t know how I feel about it, a dream from which you can’t wake up is something that can become an anguish.. maybe, but maybe not.

              • True, it’d be a mixed blessing, rather like life itself. Maybe that’s the core idea? It’s probably possible to go on forever like this. XD

  2. I wanted to leave a comment after watching this anime and it took me this long to do that T.T
    The girl doing the same things over and over again seems sad to me.But then again what would actually be fun if you have eternity to do that? >.<

    I watched the sand animated movie too. I didn't understand the story though (_ _)

    • So you think she was caught in a repetitive cycle or something like that? I didn’t get this impression, but this show is leaves such a vast space for interpretations that it seems everyone sees it a little different =) I think it is partly because of the art style. For example I only now noticed that children on this picture have IV bags attached to their arms – So they must be sick, and maybe the girl was (or used to be) one of them. It is easy to miss some detail when everything is drawn in the shades of black and is so blurry.

      I don’t think Ferenc Cako even tries to tell a story :D His sand animations are just sequences of images that go well with music (at least that is how I see it ^. ^). I haven’t seen too many of them though.

      • I noticed the IV bags the first time I watched the movie. The sky is beautiful and watching it must feel great. But having to watch those kids like that must be sad. That is why I thought being caught in a cycle like that feels awful. But then again that is just my opinion >. <

        The animation looked great though. Ferenc is really talented *-*

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