There are many books and movies that were produced over the years where it is said that the city is one very important character. The city as an individual entity playing its part in the narrative being able to make significant changes and also to take control of everything can be seen in novels such as Italo Calvino’s ‘Invisible Cities’ or China Mieville’s ‘City and the City’. In Tsuneo Goda’s ‘TO & KYO’ it is the same recurrent theme but shown in a totally different way. Any bookworm and movie enthusiast will see many cultural references in this short and will be pleasantly surprised by this gem.

The whole narrative is centered on the two main characters – two cute animated cartoons that are wandering around the city like they’ve belonged there for a long time. Even though they are small and seem to be harmless, they are packing some hidden superpowers that can be seen only when the time is right…but don’t worry, they know when the time is right! The camera work and the cinematography are breathtaking, combining real world background with important parts of animated action. The score was made to hit the spot and enhance the mood to a very high level in this short, making it an amazing watch for the whole family.

Speaking of diverse cultural references, in ‘TO & KYO’ there are some, but they are covered in a storyline that will make you forget to look after them. The scene where the two animated characters are staying on the TV antenna (captured from down the building) seems for a second the reinterpretation of the iconic Batman and Robin pose that marked our childhood.

Our personal favorite is the last shot of this short, the one with the two characters filmed from behind with buildings covered in lights in front of them…the only thing missing was the “you met me at a very strange time in my life” discourse, along with the Pixies tune playing in the background.

Review written by Vlad A.G

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