Image copyright: ©日本アニメーション／文化庁 あにめたまご2017
What happens when you take every magical girl cliché under the sun and combine it with Japan’s wealth of cultural bean-made dishes? Zunda Horizon.
It’s exactly as insane as it sounds.
Zunda Horizon is one of the four short films produced as part of this year’s Young Animator Training Project. Young Animator Training Project is a program put on by the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs where they fund several short anime films so that young up-and-comers in the industry can work alongside masters of their craft and learn from them. It all leads up to the four films being screened at the Anime Tamago film festival. In the past, short films like Death Billiards and Little Witch Academia have even gone on to be developed into full TV anime series.
Zunda Horizon follows a team of five magical girls who love zunda mochi—a type of bean paste made from Edamame beans popular in the Sendai region of Japan.
Unfortunately, there is another team of magical girls who are fanatical about Nattō—fermented soybeans. This leads to a battle of the beans over whose beans are the superior ones.
But little does either side know that a magical girl obsessed with Anko—red bean paste—is pulling the strings from the shadows.
Each of the magical girls is directly related to one famous regional Japanese food or another. But more than that, each is a different magical girl cliché, be it that of the tanned tomboy fighter or technological robot girl. The story is likewise clichéd—though this actually adds to the experience.
Zunda Horizon is one those anime that parodies a genre by turning everything up to 11. It doesn’t have one cliché, it has them all and runs with each as far as it can go. This makes it wonderfully over-the-top and so absurd you can’t help but laugh in disbelief at what you are watching—especially when you factor in all the bean and other food-related inspirations.
And that’s not even mentioning the several vocaloid-sounding musical numbers.
Zunda Horizon was released in Japanese theaters as part of Anime Tamago 2017 on March 11, 2017. There is currently no word on a Western release.