Reviewby Luke Carroll, Jul 25th 2012
Coicent / Five Numbers!
A Double Dose of Amazing Sci-Fi Action!
Get ready for a double dose of amazing science fiction as two astounding tales come together in one incredible collection of state of the art animation! First, it's a quick time jump to the 26th century where a school trip to a rebuilt 21st century city turns into a wild adventure for teenage Shinichi. While chasing a talking deer that steals his bag, he runs into a strange girl trying to elude even stranger pursuers and then things get wild. It's a mad dash through a city of the past as two young people discover a chance at a new future in COICENT.
Then, four people awake to find themselves in the ultimate prison: an ex-soldier, a beautiful woman, an average Joe and a young computer hacker. Why are they there? What connection links them together? And how can they escape? The answer seems to lie with the fifth prisoner, an old man who knows far more than he is telling. And then there's the cat. It's the ultimate locked room mystery and all their lives hinge on solving it in FIVE NUMBERS.
In an age where popularity and money rules the roost, anything unlikely to turn a profit is certainly considered a big risk. So I'm sure more than a few eyebrows were raised when Madman first announced this release last year. Not only are these two OVA's completely unrelated to any anime series out there, but they aren't even related to each other. Now generally that might spell disaster, but as it would turn out these two short clips surprisingly have a lot of depth to them. They both tread similar genres (albeit vastly different sides), and both deserve to have longer stories attached to them. However as a full priced release, it certainly does ask some questions.
Coming in at under 25 minutes a piece there's no denying that each director really had to cut anything unnecessary from their scripts. To do this, both titles have been stripped off needless names and background information – although the synopsis holds some clues – and any extra explanations required henceforth are left up to the viewers to work out. It's an interesting way to tackle the problem, but with each title featuring starkly different themes, whether or not it works for both is certainly viewer opinion.
The first of these two films, Coicent, gives us the heartfelt tale of a schoolboy who during his class trip to Nara, meets a beautiful girl that agrees to spend the day with him. Little to his knowledge, this girl is actually an android who has been created for reasons not really explained. Eventually she is forced to reveal her true self to the boy and the predictable romantic plot line takes over from there. I wont spoil the ending but what plays out is far from a surprise. With the aforementioned cuts being applied it's of no surprise that there is a lot of unanswered questions throughout the short. Why Toto was created, what does the evil old lady and her boofhead sons want with her and why the hell are they all dancing at the end during the credits!? These things, whilst almost trivial, do detract slightly from the overall viewing pleasure. However if you can get past that (and I'm sure you can) the wonderfully colourful CGI visuals will have you wishing for more.
Whilst Coicent picks you up with its energetic and vibrant display, Five Numbers! on the other hand brings you right back down. Taking a few notes from the sci-fi blockbuster Cube, this mind meddling thriller features a group five seemingly unrelated people teaming up to escape what at first appears to be an isolated prison. Of course things are not what they seem in this structure, and the mazes of corridors soon unravel into something far more sinister than any of them could be prepared for. Unlike Coicent, the cast here are given a bit more background detail to work with. Whilst it does help make the story more rounded, there are still many questions left unanswered and ignored that could have made things more interesting. As it is however, Five Numbers! is still a great watch and narrowly beats out Coicent as my preferred movie of the two.
On the audio side of things, both features boast a solid casting behind them. Veterans Vic Mignogna and Luci Christian help bring Coicent to life, whilst a team including Greg Ayres, Tiffany Grant, and Hilary Haag combine to give substance to Five Numbers! With only a short time period given it's understandable nobody really has too much time to shine and thankfully there isn't any cringe worthy performances either. Each film also features a theme song sung by one of the seiyuu, a rather nice touch I thought.
Extras wise, this release is very much a straight up copy of the US version. Included is the Japanese trailer, clean opening and clean closing for Coicent, whilst Five Numbers! includes a set of Japanese trailers as well as a pair of interviews. A set of Madman trailers are also included to round out the package.
Whilst it may come in at under an hours worth of main content, this double feature pack is still an entertaining package overall. The wonderful animation and skilful direction of these two titles alone almost makes it worth the price of admission. As it stands however, I would struggle to recommended this to anyone but major fans of the directors or animation in general. Only they will really appreciate the effort given to these two titles.
© Coicent © FIVE NUMBERS!
Overall (dub) : B
Overall (sub) : B
Story : B
Animation : A-
Art : B+
Music : B-
+ Good looking animation, able to carry themselves despite lack of background information.
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