Reviews: Fantasy Kaleidoscope
Aesthetically beautiful, but impenetrable to those unfamiliar with Touhou.
Fantasy Kaleidoscope sets the standard for fan-created anime. It has a high quality of art, exceeding that of some professional animes, even. The characters are consistently drawn well; ruffles in their dresses and shapes of their hair are not simplified between frames, lines do not wobble, and instead, frames flow from one to the next. The scenes are understandable in a director's sense, and the backdrops to them are plenty and detailed. Additionally, Manpuku Jinja incorporates a diverse and fitting soundtrack into each episode that also serves as a bonus for Touhou fans that recognize ZUN's original tunes. The problem with Fantasy Kaleidoscope is that it is made by Touhou fans, for Touhou fans. I first found Manpuku Jinja's videos when the only characters I knew, really, were Reimu, Marisa, and Flandre. The main characters in "The Spring Snow Incident" were portrayed enough so that I understood their personalities. The problem was that their positions and relationships with other characters are not revealed, and so to an outsider, like I was the first time watching the video, the characters' interactions are confusing. Why does Aya's reporting matter? What was that attack against Letty for? How does Marisa know that portal in the sky would lead to resolving the incident? The episode expects the viewer to be knowledgeable about Touhou. Granted, I learned that the plot of Perfect Cherry Blossom had details that were skipped or condensed and ZUN's storytelling has plot disconnections. This episode's and the second one's compositions then fall into Continuity Lockout. No matter how well Manpuku Jinja fleshes out Gensokyo and its residents, its storytelling, due to composition and source restraints, leaves much to be desired. This anime, thus, serves as a supplement to the original material more than a standalone work. Fantasy Kaleidoscope is not perfect, but I very much respect Manpuku Jinja for its dedication and effort into in producing this fanime. A person does not have to be familiar with Touhou to appreciate the art that went into making these videos.