There are very few instances where something so simple can be so impactful.
This is one of those times.
Welcome to Shelter.
The story of Shelter centers around Rin, a girl who is living inside of a virtual world that she can control through a high-tech tablet. Before everyone starts screaming “Sword Art Online”, this isn’t that kind of virtual world. In this world, anything her imagination desires, she can create and experience. During the video’s opening minutes, it’s rather confusing as to why she exists in this world. You start to ask yourself if this is some kind of new technology and this is what humans are doing in the future. Will she meet other people in this world? Can she interact with other people at all?
But then as the music video continues, you come to realize just why she is in this virtual world and this is where this episode becomes really impactful. Within the span of 90 seconds, you are taken through an intense roller coaster of emotions as you watch Rin experience her memories while drifting aimlessly through her virtual world. I won’t say why in case you haven’t watched it yet, but when you see the reasons behind everything, you can help but feel deep sorrow and sympathy towards Rin. The knowledge of what has happened really sets in and makes you realize the intense gravity of the situation.
It also makes you ask… “are there others?’
Art, Animation & Sound
A-1 Pictures, of all studios, animated Shelter and I have to have to say that I am mightily impressed. When A-1 uses CG in combination with art, it often times looks pretty as in the case of Sword Art Online or some of the openings we saw from the 2014 season of Fairy Tail. However, in this case, the entirety of the short was just jaw-dropping. The animation was also some of the best I’ve seen out of this studio in a long time as well. I really have to tip my hat to them for a well-done job on the production.
The soundtrack to this show, really consists of 1 song, which is aptly named “Shelter” by Porter Robinson and Madeon. It’s actually a beautiful upbeat techno song that really provides a relaxed, yet, happy atmosphere, which is odd once the ending to the short kicks in. Despite its happy nature, the music also enhances the roller coaster of emotions you experience at the end. The effects of the song convey a duality of purpose and it’s really hard to create music that would fit a piece such as this. Robinson and Madeon did a wonderful job with the track and I highly suggest you check out Robinson’s YouTube for the full version of the song.
Since this review is a bit shorter due to the length of the piece being talked about, here are some beautiful screenshots of the short for your enjoyment!
I’m often seeing the comment that this 6 minute short is better than 80% of the anime that has come out this season thus far and, honestly, after seeing the long list of shows containing less than appealing stories, I have to agree. Even the shows I picked out to watch this season are not holding up to my expectations. The best part is? This anime was written by Porter Robinson, who is, not Japanese. This lead to many people questioning whether or not this should be considered an anime… much in the same way as Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra. While the latter two borrowed the anime style, people don’t consider these shows as true anime. Shelter, on the other hand, while written by a non-Japanese native, it was developed by a Japanese studio, thus blurring the line, once again, as to what can or cannot be considered an anime.
My personal opinion is that it’s anime, but in the end, does that even truly matter?
It is true that I thoroughly enjoyed Shelter and felt that it proved that you can do so much with so little. It had really good storytelling and presented the story in a unique way. I believe that if you have six minutes in your life to spare, then it should be spent watching Shelter. I highly doubt that you will regret it! For those who say we should get a full-length movie out of this, I have to disagree. I think this is perfect just the way it is.
If you want to watch it, the video is available for free on YouTube.
It's hard to believe that you can tell a great story with only six minutes, but Porter Robinson and A-1 Pictures do just that with Shelter.