Animation Runner Kuromi 2, as you might surmise from the name,
is an OVA sequel to the 2001 release Animation Runner Kuromi.
A light look at the inner workings of an anime studio, this show has a
lot of laughs, especially if you're familar with the way animation is created
in Japan. If you don't know what a key cell is, or what a director
actually does, some of the humor might be lost.
In the first show, Mikiki Ohguro obtained her dream job, working at
a small time anime studio as a production manager. At the time, it
was her job to make sure that the show they were working, Time Journeys,
stayed on schedule. She was able to do that, and the show did well,
but it was cancelled after one season. The quality of the show was
high enough though that Studio Petit was able to get three series on the
air! This brings a whole new set of problems, of course, since they
still only have the same six animators. And one of them has just
So now Kuromi, as Mikki is called, has the impossible task of getting
three entire shows completed every week. The owner isn't totally
clueless, so he offers to help. Not by hiring more animators however,
but by getting a new producer to crack the whip, Takashimadaira.
All he's interested in however is getting the show out at any cost, and
quality is the first thing that he wants to discard.
This was an amusing show, even if it wasn't laugh-out-loud funny.
Some of the solutions that Takashimadaira would come up with to speed up
production were great, such as telling one animator not to erase anything
since it wastes too much time.
The only real problem with the show is that you have to understand how
anime is made to fully appreciate some of the situations. They don't
take any time explaining some to the terms that they use, such as what
fill-in animation is and why it has to be done in Korea, and some of the
gags won't be as funny if these term are new to you. Even if you
don't have an intimate understanding of anime production though, there
is a lot to like about this show.
This disc offers the choice of the original Japanese audio or an English
dub, both in stereo. The show sounded fine, but not outstanding.
The mix was fairly ordinary, without much use of the soundstage.
Still, the dialog was clean and clear and the sound effects didn't overwhelm
the voices. There wasn't any audio defects. There are optional
subtitles in English.
The full frame video looks fine. The colors were nice, though
they could have been a bit brighter, and the details were sharp.
There was only a small bit of aliasing in the background, otherwise the
show didn't suffer from any compression artifacts.
Though the feature is short there is a good amount of bonus items included
with the disc. First off is an alternate angle storyboard feature
plays the entire program in storyboard format with the final audio track.
There is an interview with director Akitaroh Daichi, two art galleries
(one for sketches and the other for finished art, as well as a series of
Japanese and American trailer for the show. The best extra was A
Day in the Life of Kuromi, where voice actress Kaori Asoh (Kuromi) takes
viewers on a comedic tour of an anime studio.
Animation Runner Kuromi 2 is short show, running only 45 minutes,
but it still puts a fair number of jokes into that short span. It's
an amusing show, especially if you had a basic knowledge of animation production
in Japan. The biggest drawback is the suggested retail price of $20,
which is a little high for less than an hour's worth of entertainment.
Still, I've paid more for show that I enjoyed a lot less. This is