What it’s about: Fate has a sense of humour. As a samurai-in-training during the turbulent Japanese Sengoku era, Jin dreamed of an unbreakable steel body and unbending heart. And, after his death, his wishes are granted – via re-incarnation in the modern age as a Korean coffee vending-machine. With his enemies long since passed and a body unsuited to his ambitions, Jin struggles to find meaning in his new life, until a college student, Hemi, drunkenly carts his steel frame up to her room one night.
Why you should watch it: It’s a somewhat avant-garde short film, but the story it tells is ultimately quite simple. That’s actually one of the major draws of the piece. That, and the bizarre, almost dream-like fantasy setting that the characters seem to take almost completely in stride. The show is more or less an ongoing conversation punctuated by the occasional action scene – it feels almost like an indie European animation, really. In all, Coffee Samurai is a charming, whimsical story of love and evil polar-bear ninjas. If you want a relaxing fairy-tale, something a bit out-of-the-norm, give it a try.
Caveats: At times, it just feels a little empty. The minimalist soundtrack, the introspective dialogue, and the rambling nature of the story come together in an odd fashion. Not necessarily bad, but odd.
Themes: Growing out of dreams and finding new ones. Love sprouting from the strangest places.
Similar works:Cencoroll and several of Makoto Shinkai’s movies, such as The Place Promised in Our Early Days.