November 12, 2011

Hmm… Even religion has taken a technological advance. At least that was my first impression when I saw Koisento. Imagine a self-automated Buddha statue, other deity statues that are able to move about themselves like as though it’s some kind of parade. Oh wait, isn’t it a parade here? Well, this anime isn’t about Buddhism or Shinto but you can feel that this city is heavily influenced by these religions.

I’m still trying to figure out what this 1 episode OVA is all about. Set in the very distant future in the city of Nara, it is the year 2710. The city is celebrating its 2,000th anniversary of the relocation of the capital. Wow. Four digits in celebrating your anniversary. We have this kid, Shinichi Kajimoto who is on a school field trip with his male buddies, all probably some kind of otaku because they’re cheering on the hologram Himiko bus operator. Everyone’s caught up in the festive mood as Shinichi’s pal is hyped out just about everything like the rumours that the Buddha statue is said to bring love and luck and perhaps Shinichi himself will be able to meet a girl. Even Himiko herself. Shinichi daydreams about getting some love letter from Himiko. But he misread the words and to his surprise, Himiko’s head turns into a white deer.

In a laboratory, a Himiko nicknamed HRF-12 is locked in a capsule being under heavy scrutiny as the scientist mentions he has discovered problems in her nervous system and visual ability. Petite but evil Mama (her big lump of hair is so big like a cushion, it feels like it could crush her head anytime!) wants the problem fixed and have the genetic sequence of her nervous system genes improvised. HRF-12 wants to go out but Mama disallows it and wants her to listen to her orders instead. She has her goons keep a close watch on her. However, being the unreliable goons they are, HRF-12 escapes. Yeah, even Mama mentions that there was a case of a sample running away 20 years ago. And history repeated itself. Why not? I mean, look at their outrageous hairstyle (enough to turn heads), colourful suits and ridiculous make-up. They look more like clowns than villains.

Shinichi is ruing his luck of seeing a deer in his dream. At the deer park, Shinichi’s friend is being glomped by several deer while a white deer cheekily steals Shinichi’s bag. Not willing to give it up, he chases after it and ends up having the wildest ride of his life. Imagine a deer jumping and prancing throughout the city in high speed. Hold on to your horses! Or deer in his case. Mama and the goons are hot on HRF-12’s tail. She escapes but is dangerously tiptoeing outside the building’s ledge. One of the goons accidentally bursts open the hatch and sends her falling. All in good timing, her fall is broken when the white deer with Shinichi zooms pass by swooping her along.

Once somewhere safe, HRF-12 is fascinated with the crowd and blends into it by transforming her priestess robe into a high school girl’s uniform. And Shinichi is still fighting with the white deer for his bag. Hey, it’s his, right? They introduce themselves and HRF-12’s real name is Yamto Totohimomosohime. Tototototototo what? Just call her Toto. They walk around the city as Toto mentions this is her first time outside. She wonders about seeing the ocean since she was never allowed to go anywhere. Shinichi apologizes for bringing up this weird question and says that he has been lost before and wasn’t able to anywhere. Toto suggests they tour the city together. Shinichi thinks this is some kind of date like what lovers do. Keep dreaming pal. What Toto had in mind was visiting the various Buddha statues. How disappointing? Mama has located Toto’s whereabouts and prepares to move in.

Inside a temple, Shinichi and Toto climb onto a giant Buddha’s palm. Toto connects with the statue and moves them closer to the its nostrils seeing that there is this rumour that if one climbs into Buddha’s nostrils, your wish will come true. What again? If that was true, don’t you think many would have done so and look so odd embarrassing themselves. Nevertheless it didn’t stop Shinichi from trying. Urm… He seems stuck. But when he manages to pull himself free, Toto gets shock thinking that he lost his head! Actually it’s just ‘sunken’ underneath his shirt. In her relief, she cuddles close to him. Shinichi is now in a dilemma. Is he going to take advantage of this situation or not. Yeah, his angel and devil are toying over this. But they’re taking too long and by that time, Toto’s already up and away. Then she starts acting strange, like as though she felt some pain. She thanks him for making her day fun. He gives her his charm and promises to go to the ocean together.

Their nice moment is interrupted when Mama and her goons come in. Yeah, they are riding temple guardian machines. Since she isn’t going to go with them, Mama prepares to take her by force and if necessary, give her pain. Toto connects and moves the Buddha statue. It wreaks havoc all over the place and manages to throw the villains off their footing. Toto tells Shinichi to run as she will stall for some time (she doesn’t want him to get involved). He is reluctant but the white deer pulls him away. Then she transforms into her priestess outfit and do battle with the temple giants. However her leg stops functioning so she takes a beating. Messed up Mama gives Toto an earful about disobeying her. She rants about placing her entire life on her and reminds that she is her creator. Every inch of her body is created by her. However Toto says that she only belongs to herself and the emotions she felt like crying, laughing and falling in love are real. Suddenly a deer stampede crash into the temple, stomping all over the baddies. Shinichi rides on the white deer looking for Toto. Mama is one hard mama to stay down and continues to threaten Toto. Unfortunately for her, the white deer sinks both its back hooves into her face. Maybe she’ll need facial surgery now. Shinichi picks Toto up as they escape outside. He is going to take her to the ocean but there are no oceans in Nara. Well, you won’t know if you don’t try looking for one. He is so determined that he even ride and jump pass the lines of police surrounding the area!

In the aftermath as Mama and her goons are arrested, who knows where Shinichi and Toto reach. He tries to confess but was cut short when all the deer resonate. Don’t tell me he’s shy to say so in front of the deer? Unless those deer understand human language. As the sun rises, they see the magnificent view of the ocean. While Shinichi is gawking in awe, Toto closes her eyes, stops functioning and disappears. Shinichi goes to find her but she was nowhere to be found. Down and out, he returns to the parade and his friend thinks he got messed up due to a girl. Shinichi sees a parade float with Toto and the white deer on. A group of deer shove Shinichi right in the middle of its path. This is the Toto that Shinichi knows because she is wearing his charm. In her happiness, she rushes down and hugs him. Wait a minute, they’re doing this in public? But what is odd is that we don’t see any shocking reaction from the crowd. Then she whispers something inaudible but it was enough to make his face turn redder than a tomato. Wanna bet it’s “I love you”?

WTF?! So can someone tell me what all this is about? Maybe it’s a short story of a chance encounter of a boy-meets-girl. He becomes her unwitting rescuer from her chasers and end up happily reunited. Oh, not forgetting the deer. Other than that, I try not to think hard of the other stuff like Toto’s background of how she’s someone important to Mama for something. And will Toto continue to be with Shinichi from now on instead of going back to her mundane experimental life? Maybe if they turn this into a TV series or a few more OVA episodes, they could expand on this area and several others as well. So this OVA was just weird and it’s best you watch it with a pinch of salt.

Another odd part is the ending credits whereby we see the group of deer dancing! They’re standing on their hind legs while their front legs holding each other’s hooves, swinging from left to right and right to left. You know those scenes of those human chains? How can they hold each other without fingers? Then they are joined by Mama and her goons but they are doing more posing than anything before Shinichi’s friend, Shinichi and Toto get down and jiggy with it. Both the ending themes are sung by Minako Kotobuki (the voice of Toto). The opening theme Metamorphose has a hint of Chinese feel in it and mixed with pop. The ending theme Startline is livelier since we have the characters dancing, so why not get up and dance to this party pop beat too?

There is something about the art and drawing. At first they seem like they are 2D but upon closer look, I think there are some computer generated animations blended into it. For instance, if you take a close look at the movements of the characters, they are moving in a way that only computer animation can do so. Slightly smooth transition. Of course the zooming in of the scenes and some of the effects like confetti falling are definitely CGI. So the next time you see a deer at the park, don’t think they are just some creature who wants to feed on you biscuits and lick you all over your place. They may lead you to a destined love one and one heck of a short adventure. Then you can exclaim “Oh deer!”. Haha. I just wanted to say that anyway.

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