Review by: Brenda Gregson
Publisher: Sentai Filmworks
MSRP: $39.98 US
Running Time: 60 minutes
Rating: TV PG
Release Date: Available Now
Just like our own Clive Owen’s grandfather, my own Grandpa Gregson cheerfully reminisces on the good old days when comic books cost a nickel, soda fountains included real cherry Coke and movie theaters included double features. Oh, grandpa, those good old days of the double feature isn’t completely dead as Sentai Filmworks brings us two short anime features, Coicent and Five Numbers! that are well worth the purchase price for quality alone.
When I say short I mean both features have a running time of 60 minutes combined but both offer stories that are deep, involving and beautifully handled. They both have a futuristic science fiction theme, one of which will bring to mind an episode of the Twilight Zone or Outer Limits. Either way, they do the sci-fi genre justice.
It’s Heijo Capital City’s 1,300 year anniversary as the futuristic city that was reconstructed and relocated celebrates in such an outrageously festive manner that it seems like beautiful dream. Aboard a transport is a group of excited students who are ready to join the festivities and – as the hologram announces – enjoy a live performance from a beautiful shrine maiden named Himiko. Even the loveable goof that is Shinichi is overjoyed to see Himiko perform. Unfortunately, Shinichi isn’t having a blast because a mischievous white deer steals his backpacks and somehow ends up having Shinichi ride it like a horse.
However, not far from the confetti-flinging parade and throng of visitors, is a lab where the pint-sized president of a nameless corporation is enraged by the fact that her experiment has awakened and is trying to escape. As it turns out, this “experiment” happens to look a lot like the festival’s shrine maiden, Himiko, who escapes out an open window and is about to fall to her death when Shinichi – riding the white deer – accidentally rescues the girl.
To Shinichi’s eyes, the girl looks like any other cute school girl and she has quite lengthy name so Shinichi just calls her Toto. Together the pair spend an exciting day together as both youth discover the joys of being young and on a date. Although he knows nothing about this mysterious girl, Shinichi can feel that she’s something special.
Of course, the corporation’s president wants Toto back and will do anything to bring her back but the girl is definitely not interested being the president’s experiment. Then Toto shows them all the power she has within her as Shinichi must make a choice whether to let Toto handle her problem or listen to his heart.
Coicent is one of those stories I wish was a lot longer than just 30 minutes seeing as the characters are memorable and the story conveys enough feeling that the relationship between Shinichi and Toto has heartfelt meaning to it. It’s also beautifully animated and has a great voice cast whether it’s the original Japanese language track or the English dub.
Without much of a warning, a five individual sleeping chambers open and the people inside awaken to the cold and emptiness of the space station. With the exception of an old man, the four others run through the empty station wondering what happened to the people who maintain it. We quickly find out that the young man, the sexy woman, a young otaku girl and a middle-aged man have a secret that makes us realize that the station itself was meant to be their prison.
Just what each person did I will not reveal but as the story unravels, it is the fifth person – the old man and his cat – that the story takes a most interesting turn as he reveals who they all are and why they’re on the station. As the four try to find a way to get off the station, we are revealed an even more chilling twist that ties everything together.
Five Numbers! doesn’t fail to surprise, especially when it comes to the twist at the end. Director Hiroaki Ando, best know for “Freedom,” knows how to tell a complex tale but it’s the running time that holds this back from being a brilliant tale. Still, there’s enough here to leave a lasting impression on the viewer and that’s certainly not an easy feat considering the story clocks in around 30 minutes.
Together, the double feature of Coicent and Five Numbers makes this a perfect package that sci-fi fans will find touching and downright intriguing. Coicent is a short but sweet slice of anime goodness while Five Numbers takes a darker and more elaborate turn that will not fail to surprise or keep up the suspense. In other words, both stories are genuinely compelling to watch so missing out on this one would be a big mistake.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
In the anniversary of the reconstruction of a futuristic city, a boy unintentionally rescues a mysterious girl who is being chased down by an unusual group of people who want her contained. While exploring the city with the boy, she discovers a world she never knew. Then, in another story, four people wake up in a space station that was meant to be their cell. Then the fifth person wakes up and they realize the truth about their stay in the station.
VIDEO QUALITY: A
Using 3D animation, both short features have their own unique look but it is Coicent that looks absolutely gorgeous compared to the darker Five Numbers! Both of them look really good on DVD and, most likely, even more stunning on Blu-ray.
AUDIO QUALITY: A
Reiji Kitazato’s score for Coicent and Yasutaka Nakata’s score for Five Numbers! is as good as any animated feature out there and each feature has memorable closing theme songs such as “Startline” by Minako Kotobuki. MEG fans will love her Italian opening theme song for Five Numbers! called “Volevo un Gato Nero.”
As for the voice acting, the Japanese voice cast for both features is stellar but you just have to love the English dub cast as well. Vic Mignogna and Luci Christian bring life to Shinichi and Toto while John Gremillion steals the show in Coicent. Meanwhile, Tiffany Grant, Hillary Haag, Greg Ayres and John Gremillion are great in Five Numbers!
The single DVD comes with both features but it also comes with a few extras that include Sentai Filmworks titles as well as the Japanese trailers for each feature. Coicent’s extras include the clean opening and closing theme songs while Five Numbers has two interviews (one with Japanese seiyuu Miyu Irino and the other with the feature’s scriptwriter Dai Sato). Both interviews are really worth watching even more so if you’re a fan of “Freedom.”
While both features are on the short side, that doesn’t mean they’re lacking in quality or offer stories that are deep or fascinating enough to make it worth the purchase price. Whether it’s the endearing Coicent or the mind-bending classic that is Five Numbers!, both stories make for one entertaining package worth the price of admission.
Review copy provided by Sentai Filmworks