This ain’t no Totoro.
Tokyo based experimental animator, renowned independent artist and respected academic Keita Kurosaka has spent the past decade single handedly and methodically hand drawing his most ambitious animated work to date, the engrossing dark fable Midori Ko. But for those expecting just another typical anime fantasy, your sorely mistaken.
Instead the visual malady Kurosaka delivers is an animated broth of textured ink sensually fused with shards of charcoal and violently etched into a soiled canvas to create a compelling dystopian realm richly organic and at times grotesquely threatening. While deliberate and expertly executed, the visceral aesthetics of Midori Ko blatantly challenge the mediums contemporary status-quo, mirroring the dark fables approach to its narrative of social and communal decay. In fact the film doesn’t invite debate on how to solve or redeem ourselves from its core issues, but rather questions whether or not, as a society, we are too far-gone to deserve or even implement a resolution.
Set in a near-future Japanese city struggling beneath the oppression of food shortage, pollution and over population, a team of scientist are desperately losing faith in attempts to create a ‘dream food’ to sustain the populace. But when a mysterious object literally crashes into the laboratory through a sky light, the scientists discover it to be the miracle they have been searching for. The only problem is the organic tourist is acutely sentient and realizing its immediate peril at the hands of science flees the facility, sending the despairing researchers into a frenzy. Seemingly by chance the visitor then finds itself in the company of Midori, a young woman and disciplined vegetarian living a small communal housing development over an antiqued fertilizer plant. Befriending the strange creature, Midori finds herself not only fighting off the scientific lynch mod, but also having to defend the creature from her starving neighbours also affected by the creatures disruptive presence.
Populated with disturbing imagery, grotesque characters and culminating in surrealist nightmare of horrific themes Midori Ko possesses moments of real genius, while delightfully indulging in a delicious artistic madness.