Creativity is, of course, subjective. What makes something a masterpiece to someone, may be a weird artsy disaster for someone else. If a single collection of anime was to make this divide apparent – it’s Genius Party.
Genius Party is a collection of one-off episodes that various directors (including the likes of Masaaki Yuasa, the director of Ping Pong: The Animation and Devilman Crybaby to name just two of his works) independently worked on. The seven episodes are pieces of animation that each director wanted to work on, but were ones that were too short for a full-length anime or ones that they couldn’t get the financial support to do.
Talking about each of the 7 episodes would not only be quite intense for me to write about, but it would also be too intense for the you, the reader, to read, for Genius Party covers some deep issues and thoughts about the self. Unfortunately, this does make this review an unusually short one. One thing I will talk about, however, is pointing out my favourite and least favourite episodes featured in Genius Party.
My favourite epiosde of Genius Party would have to be the one entitled “Shanghai Dragon”. Directed by Shōji Kawamori, the creator of the Macross franchise and the AKB0048 series, this anime is set in China and features a small boy who often gets picked on by his classmates. He finds an alien artefact that allows whatever he draws comes to life, but he ends up caught up in the midst of a war between a future version of humanity and their A.I. foes.
My least favourite epiosde of Genius Party is the one directed by Hideki Futamura, who worked Perfect Blue and Vampire Hunter D, called “Limit Cycle”. This episode features a voice over of someone reading passages from Blaise Pascal‘s Pensées and it’s certainly thought-provoking. It’s certainly not a bad episode by any means, but it just wasn’t enjoyable for me. I spent the majority of the episode feeling extremely confused and I felt like I had just entered a university philosophy lecture by mistake rather than watching anime from the comfort of my own sofa.
Genius Party is certainly a weird mix of genres, but that’s the charm of it. Going through the episodes, you never know what’s going to come next. Arguably, the sequel to it, Genius Party: Beyond, is probably the same. I would certainly recommend Genius Party if you want to be watching something different and out of the ordinary. It’s certainly like Marmite, however. You’ll either love it or you’ll hate it. Either way, you’ll be taken on a wild journey that you won’t forget for a long time.