Having helped introduce American auds to Japanimation, Manga Entertainment follows the longrunning Spike and Mike series into the edgy-animation-anthology field with “General Chaos: Uncensored Animation.” More rambunctiously satiric and agreeably quirky than prurient, pic’s collection of high-quality shorts should click with animation cultists and collegiate auds, and in vid playoff.
As in most such collections, there’s a grab-bag feel beneath the veneer of general irreverence. The 21 individual titles date from the mid-’80s till now, and come from a variety of animators, both celebrated and unknown, in several different countries. Naturally, each clip has its own visual style; the types of animation represented span the gamut from cel to clay to computer to puppet and stop-motion. General level of technical competence is high, with expressive originality being the keynote.
Humor-wise, there’s lots to choose from. On the zesty lowbrow side, Jeff Sturgis’ “American Flatulators” spoofs farting contests, Keith Alcorn’s “Beat the Meatles” gives a mod spin to masturbation, and Tony Nittoli’s “Junky” bemoans the sexual abuse of a foul-mouthed, cracker-addicted parrot. On a somewhat more refined level, Mike Booth’s “The Saint Inspector” looks at the workings of heaven, while David Donar’s “Espresso Depresso” imagines the fatal outcome of too many trendy coffee bars.
Such titles give an idea of the range of amusements offered here. Interestingly, Manga’s one in-house production, Walter Santucci’s “Attack of the Hungry, Hungry Nipples,” bids to be called be pic’s funniest entry; it features a flying baseball bat with the face of Richard Nixon.
An anthology within an anthology, Bill Plympton’s “Sex and Violence” is divided into mini-shorts and interspersed throughout the other films. Not only a serviceable connecting device, it also sports some of the collection’s drollest humor and sharpest, most imaginative visual work.
Longer and more cerebral than the other entries, Tyron Montgomery’s “Quest” is appended to the omnibus as a prologue. The polished German production won the 1996 Oscar for best animated short subject.