© スタジオコメット／文化庁 あにめたまご2017
What if all the items you ever needed to live a luxurious life were available for free? But, what if you were only able to get said items by opening capsule toys at random? Just like the residents of Animal Crossing, the animal villagers in Charanpo Land no Bōken (The Adventures of Charanpo Land) live fairly uneventful lives, but rely more on opening up capsule toy eggs to get what they want instead of fishing or bug-catching.
The Young Animator Training Project is one funded by the Japanese government to train young animators in an industry where there aren’t many chances for new talent to learn from their seniors. Four animation studios are chosen to have their projects funded—and these four studios each work with young animators to create a thirty-minute animated film for film festival Anime Tamago. One of these short films, Charanpo Land no Boken, is one of this year’s films, and is produced by Studio Comet (School Rumble, Jewelpet).
This short film takes place on the titular Charanpo Land, an island with a giant baobab tree in the middle. Since ancient times, this baobab tree has given the villagers the blessing of the “Gacha Eggs,” which are basically capsule toys in the shape of eggs. In these Gacha Eggs are everything that the villagers need to live, including food. However, they also contain more seemingly useless and random things, like suction cups. How does one know how to find what they’re looking for, then? Simple: they don’t. It’s all random. Despite this, the villagers live a fairly easy and luxurious life.
However, this all changes when one night, the golden egg that serves as the tree’s main source of energy is shot out of the tree in an energy explosion. According to rumors, this egg has the ability to grant any wish. But, if the egg is not returned to the tree, the Gacha Eggs that the tree produces will continue to produce duds: eggs without anything in them. Three children—a tiger named Kometora, a rabbit named Pyon, and a bear named Gunma—attempt to return the egg to its rightful owner, although their progress is impeded by the money-grubbing tanuki mayor Poncho and the fox Professor Akan, who seeks to use the egg for his scientific studies.
According to the director of the film Shin Misawa (Gingitsune, Initial D), television anime projects that only feature such adorable animal characters like Charanpo Land no Boken are very difficult to get greenlit. Hence, this might be why the first comparison one might make to this anime film might not be another anime, but instead the popular video game franchise Animal Crossing.
Animal Crossing takes place in a similar world: The animals live off of the natural bounties of the land, whether that be furniture that comes in the form of transforming leaves or fruit that grows on the village’s trees. If they want to buy something, the villagers of the Animal Crossing town have to go fishing, bug-catching, or plundering through the dumpster.
However, as mentioned previously, not just some of the items on Charanpo Land are found at random: everything is. That means no need for stores or saving up money to buy what you want. As long as you have the patience, you’ll find what you’re looking for inside of a Gacha Egg. This, however, means that once the source of those eggs is dried up, the villagers will have no way to fend for themselves. And while, on one hand, returning the egg is good long-term planning, on the other, you could say that the kids are, in fact, enabling the villagers’ addictive habits.
This anime short ends on a cliffhanger, making me want to know more. Since it was stated so bluntly at the beginning that the residents being so lazy and dependent on the baobab tree isn’t necessarily a good thing, will the villagers ever learn to forge ahead and earn a living for themselves like the critters in Animal Crossing? Or will they continue to rely on capsule gambling for the rest of their existence?
There has been no announcement of an English release of Anime Tamago 2017 as of yet.