COCOLORS 2017 - Post Show Impressions

Overview of COCOLORS

Those who call themselves die hard anime fans truly haven’t experienced the essence of what it would feel like to watch everything unfold in real time. While many of us have the luxury of being able to purchase and download our favorite shows, we often create this disconnect between the anime and all the work that goes on behind the scenes. COCOLORS removes that disconnect from the audience and invites you to experience everything hands on, uncut and live right in front of you. Animation studio Kamikaze Douga decided it would be a great idea to incorporate a live anime with all the audio and voice acting being orchestrated directly in front of you, as the story unfolds on screen. It’s the second work in Kamikaze Douga’s creative pipeline titled Gasoline Mask, and places a strong emphasis on emotion, colors and companionship.

Basic Location

Wald 9 Theatre Marui Annex - 11F

Established

2017

Length of Event

February 17 - 18

Cost

¥6,800

COCOLORS Story

COCOLORS takes place in a very different Japan than we know now, roughly one hundred years after the famed Mt. Fuji erupted which caused mass hysteria and devastated the land. This resulted in the evacuation of the entire nation and forced everyone to take refuge underground, while wearing large masks and protective gear to cover their body. Aki and Fuyu are two young boys who dwell in this harsh environment and must band together with other survivors to venture the outside world, and see just what drastic changes have been made. The two of them have lived underground for so long that they have absolutely no clue as to what the sky truly looks like, and so a picture is painted which depicts just how they imagine the outside world to be. Since everybody wears a mask, the identity of each character is hidden and so much of the story is captured through the emotions you hear through voice and sound, rather than the expressions we see. The group must somehow try and guess what each other looks like along with their colors underneath, and recreate a world to reflect their feelings.

Early Thoughts

Initially we had no idea what we were getting into, but still felt certain that the experience was going to be unlike any other. The whole theme of the film revolves around ‘V vs S’ or Voice Actor versus Silent Mode, and there’s a stage situated in front of the movie screen where the voice actors and musicians would be seated. We were seated comfortably in the middle row so the action was very clear to see. Before entering the theatre however, there were beautifully designed figures that showed off the characters within the film, while providing a small description of what their purpose is. While the selection wasn’t abundant, the message was very clear and it’s that this movie is meant to leave you questioning and contemplating just what could happen if this situation were to ever occur in real life. We loved the use of the a woodcut print both in the figure, and you see it being used in the movie as well, which is a nice homage to the very classic Japanese art style that’s truly beautiful.

One remarkable thing COCOLORS does an exceptional job of is evoking emotion from the audience, because on the one hand you’re trying to watch everything unfold on screen, but then your eyes are suddenly drawn to the voice actors who bring everything to life. You come to realize that this type of work is no easy task, and performing live in front of an audience is more challenging than it seems. Fortunately the voice acting and musical team were flawless in their performance, but seeing their expressions as they act out their part gave us a stronger appreciation for anime in general because this is a part of the picture we often overshadow. The animation is impactful and emotionally riveting, and then watching these actors emphasize those emotions was unreal. You could hear every little detail in the way they read their lines, and because they’re right there in the flesh you can associate their body language with what’s taking place on screen. So while the characters within the movie are masked, you can kind of paint your own picture of what the character would look like solely based on the voice actor’s performance.

The Animation

COCOLORS is already a very unique story filled with a very dark yet moving depiction of a distraught Japan, and the animation behind it all really brings things to life. While the movie was short in length, the after effect it left on your conscience surely will last a lifetime and that’s what we appreciated so much from this. In most anime that we tune into, a lot of the depth is removed because all we really see is action on screen but don’t truly understand just ‘why’ that character is portrayed in that way, or ‘why’ things had to happen a certain way. We aren’t just talking about the animation within the movie itself, but there’s animation in the body language of the voice actors and musicians on stage in front of you. Each actor and musician have their own unique backstory which can be directly correlated to what’s taking place on screen. You feel a deeper connection between the character and the actor because it’s as if their personalities have been entwined to create this seamless and natural flow, while the musicians create this majestic vibe that entraps your soul and moves you in a way that can’t be explained through words.

COCOLORS is obviously set around colors as we mentioned earlier, and the term colors doesn’t always have to refer to the reds, blues, and purples we often see. Colors can also be reflected based upon our own aura, our persona if you will, and depending on the situation that persona can change or even blend with others in a beautiful way. Aki and Fuyu (which of course are named after Autumn and Winter in Japanese) have their own distinctive characteristics which are reflected in how they’re animated within the film. Aki is the more emotional of the two, which can be compared to that of the season itself which constantly goes through changes in a beautiful way. Fuyu is a little cold at times but somehow draws you closer to him because there’s this unspeakable truth that can be seen through his relationship to Aki.

These polar opposites in both color and nature demonstrate the beauty of human connectivity, and that we too are all like different colors (or seasons too) trying to blend in and create a unique painting of a world we want to live in. Both Aki and Fuyu have a dream and so too do their peers, which is to escape this dark and grey world and paint a much more vibrant picture of what exists on the outside. The animation emphasizes this in a remarkable way because it shows togetherness and working to ensure that needs are met, along with being able to look past the differences we all have. There was one scene that really spoke to us in a huge way and it was towards the end when both Aki and Fuyu made their way to the outside, but unfortunately something tragic happens which brought us to tears. Perhaps what we say next may hint at a spoiler, but what we’re about to emphasize here is something that we humans often turn a blind eye to and often regret when it’s too late.

Humans have this fear of dying, and perhaps that’s understandable because it’s something we can’t change or alter and is inevitable. We’re certain of it happening but also feel this sense of uncertainty because we just don’t know when. COCOLORS reflects this point in an incredible way by letting the viewer know that death can come at any moment's notice, but the one thing we must learn to value the most is compassion and companionship. The greatest fear is not so much in dying itself, but more so dying alone. We were constructed in such a way that interaction plays an integral role in our lives, and that building strong relationships with those around us are imperative to not only our well being, but the quality of our lives as well.

COCOLORS shows us that in a dark world, there can still be a glimmer of light waiting for you especially when there’s a strong support system to carry you towards it. While emotions might flare up and disagreements may ensue, the value behind relationships is that we’re all just a canvas and sometimes we just need more colors on our palette to bring things to life. As you watch Aki and Fuyu race towards freedom, you are alongside with them in a world full of wonders, and much like the movie itself everything we experience in life takes place in real time.

Final Thoughts

COCOLORS was a masterful piece of art that truly demonstrates just how powerful bonding is, and the use of colors along with live voice acting and music really brought everything together beautifully. We stayed behind to hear a little bit about the backstory and just why this idea was given life, and the whole gist of it is that oftentimes our expressions don’t necessarily give us all the information we need, and so we need to pay closer attention to our body language and other senses to better understand not only our surroundings but ourselves. We hope to see more anime take advantage of this amazing format because it really does make you appreciate all of the hard work that goes into making it, and the experience you receive is unique. Is there an anime you like that you’d want to see incorporate this live approach? Let us know in the comments section below, and be sure to show us some love on social media to keep the Honey’s community strong!

As always, for everything sweet and exclusive news from Japan keep you buzzing, be sure to keep it locked here on Honey's Anime!

Rob

Editor/Writer

Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.

100% Vegan. A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and join me on Discord! Take care!

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