Title: Cocolors (Fantasia 2017 review)

Also known as:

Year: 2017

Genre: Animation / Short / Sci-fi / Drama

Language: Japanese

Runtime: 45 min

Director: Toshihisa Yokoshima

Writer: Toshihisa Yokoshima

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6451666/

A long time after a horrific eruption of Mt. Fuji, the world is no longer the same. Deep in the underground, a society of survivors live in a town welded together with scrap metal pieces, concrete and the will to stay alive. This story follows the boys Aki and Fuyu. Fuyu is a creative soul who will never get a chance to see the outside world, and Aki makes it his mission to bring the outside world to him.

Our thoughts:
"Cocolors" is a Japanese animated short that's playing at Fantasia International Film Festival 2017, and it is the second part in a project by studio Kamikaze Douga. The project is called "Gasoline Mask", and even though I am not aware of what happened to the first part (which I believe was simply titled "Gasoline Mask"), there is a huge, clear vision within "Cocolors" that gives me hopes for even bigger things. For now, we have a beautifully cel-shaded animation that should not be missed out on.

The short film takes place many years after an eruption of Mt. Fuji, which made the world unfit to live in. The survivors of the accident have built their new home in the concrete underground. The town is built from rusty metal scraps, and every survivor must use gasoline masks to survive the environment. Yet, within the devastated society there is a hope for a better future. Every kid dreams of growing up to be fit to go to work as scrap collectors. They are the people that go up to the surface to look for scrap to bring back underground, but it's a hard job and only the healthiest can do it. In this dark world we find a group of kids, and most importantly Aki and Fuyu. Aki is a boy with a strong will, and he grows up to become a scrap collector. Fuyu, however, is a creative little boy who can only speak through playing musical notes on a little device, and is unfit to be one. As they grow older, Aki decides to always bring home something for Fuyu to create art with.

Unfortunately the story is somewhat predictable. We can figure out early on how it will eventually end. Still, there isn't much you can spoil about "Cocolors" as it's driven by emotion and its beautiful style, but I'll leave the details of what I found predictable out of it. Don't think for a second that I didn't enjoy "Cocolors" though. There is a real sense of wonder and heart in here, while it's all projected through a rusty, depressing world. There is also an underlying theme of warnings about what might one day happen to our world if we don't take good care of it. Thankfully it's not being preachy, and thanks to that it feels like a real world and not propaganda. This is still a story about Aki and Fuyu. There is so much that makes the short film stand out, even though it's not specifically the story. From the fantastic cel-shaded world, to the cute gasoline mask suits that the survivors have to wear (yes, since their face looks like a big, worried eye I can't describe them as anything other than "cute"), the vision here is undeniably unique as a whole.

It's almost sad to think that the wondrous world of "Cocolors" is stuck in a short film. Had it been a feature, there could be so much more to show and tell about this place. Despite their blank helmets, the characters are all interesting in their own little way, and the friendship between Aki and Fuyu is something special. The world (above and below ground) is fascinating and scary. We don't spend nearly enough time in this world, and I really hope that the rest of the "Gasoline Mask" project is tightly related (or that "Cocolors" one day is remade as a feature).

I can't judge "Cocolors" mainly on being a short film. That's the format, and Toshihisa Yokoshima has created something huge with the it. It's really a compliment to the strong vision that I would want to watch a version that's twice as long. For now though, this is an aesthetical wonder with a heartfelt story. The story is ultimately predictable, but thanks to all the stand-out pieces (great animation, characters, world, sound and style) this becomes something unique. I'm not sure where this will be available in the future, but I hope you remember the title for when you get the chance.

Positive things:
- Beautiful style and animation.
- Distinct characters, despite all wearing blank helmets.
- The connection between Aki and Fuyu.
- It builds up a huge world.
- There are underlying ecological themes. They manage to be very present, without being preachy.
Negative things:
- It builds up a huge world, but it doesn't feel like we get to see enough of it! I'd love a feature version of this.
- Somewhat predictable story.

Gore: 0/5
Nudity: 0/5
Story: 3/5
Effects: 5/5
Comedy: 1.5/5

We watched this movie thanks to:
Fantasia International Film Festival 2017

Reviewed by:


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