Have you noticed I've been gone
'Cause I left behind the whole world you made me
But I will carry it along
And its a long way forward, so trust in me
I'll give them shelter like you've done for me
And I know I'm not alone; you'll be watching over us
Until you're gone..."
Shelter is a 6-minute animation produced by A-1 Pictures and an accompaniment to the song of the same name by Porter Robinson and Madeon. It tells the story of Rin, a 17-year old who lives in a virtual reality that she can control with a tablet and stylus. However, she is all alone and doesn't remember how or why she ended up there.
There are unmarked spoilers below.
Shelter provides examples of:
- Adorably Precocious Child: Rin was this in her childhood.
- After the End: Shelter takes place after the Earth is destroyed by a collision with a celestial body.
- Alien Sky: During the flashbacks, with another planet about to crash into Earth.
- All There in the Manual: It's thanks to concept art revealed on Porter's twitter that we know the name of Rin's father: Shigeru.
- And I Must Scream: Rin has spent at least seven years of her life alone in her virtual reality with no indication of when or if she will be found and freed.
- Apocalypse How: Earth is implied to have undergone at least a Class 6 (potentially Class X) due to another celestial body crashing into it.
- Artistic License Space: If a Mars-sized object like that had approached the Solar System, we could have detected it from tens or even hundreds of years ago for a more effective countermeasure (like world-wide evacuation) and Shelter probably wouldn't have had such a bleak ending. It is in fact the small and medium-sized asteroids that pose a more serious threat because their agility and smallness make them much harder to detect.
- Beautiful Void: There's nothing else but Rin and the gorgeous landscapes she creates. The flashback scenes also count.
- Blatant Lies: Rin assures the audience that she doesn't feel alone or troubled at the start of the short. While she does have fun in her paradise, we quickly see this is not the case at all.
- Bittersweet Ending: While there's no indication that by the end there will be any changes to Rin's predicament as she's still all alone in the virtual world and her home world is destroyed meaning she has nowhere to return to, she feels less alone now knowing of her fathers love and sacrifice.
- Body Horror: Rin's fate in the real world: her body is plugged into a machine through wires piercing her back. The skin around each wire looks as though it's been cracked.
- Bookends: Rin repeats her assurance that she doesn't feel alone at the end of the short, only this time she has the understanding to back it up.
- Colony Drop: Revealed towards the latter part of the animation. A celestial body of some kind, whether it's a moon, planet, or asteroid, is on a collision course with Earth, and Shigeru's goal was to find any way for Rin to survive the destruction of Earth.
- Desolation Shot: Shown several times. First, when Rin is in the bath the desolate landscape is outside her window. Second, in the flashback, the news displays Tokyo as destroyed. Third, there is a brief shot of young Rin and Shigeru looking over the oncoming destruction.
- Does Not Like Shoes: Rin is barefoot for 95% of the time and even outdoors, only wearing shoes once outside of flashbacks, and even there, she is not wearing shoes.
- Earth-Shattering Kaboom: The final shot of Young Rin in the spaceship, as the view of the earth and the other object colliding is visible in the window's reflection.
- Everybody's Dead, Dave: The truth of Rin's life is that she's been literally alone for almost seven years following the destruction of Earth, and doesn't realize she's possibly the last human left alive. Rather than being a forlorn ending, however, the trope is partially subverted as this revelation, being saved by her father and having her memories of him, means she will never be alone as she carries him in her heart.
- Fan Disservice: Rin being naked inside her spaceship is not very appealing to the eyes when lots of wires are piercing her body to support it.
- Good Parents: Rin's dad is a loving father on top of secretly making a spaceship to save his daughter.
- Homeworld Evacuation: Downplayed. The one spacecraft shown leaving Earth is carrying Rin, and only Rin.
- The Ingenue: Rin still acts like a child despite being 17 years old because she was a child when she first entered the virtual world (and has been alone since).
- Innocent Fanservice Girl: Heavy emphasis on innocent rather than on the fanservice part. Rin is often wearing different clothes, but often with her legs exposed and being barefoot. Some of her dresses don't cover much of her skin either. Her real body is completely naked inside the spaceship.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: It's implied to be the reason why Rin's father place her in a space capsule, put her on life support, and put her mind in a virtual world alone.
- Just Before the End: The entire flashback sequence.
- Lotus-Eater Machine: Rin is a comatose and alone in a blank slate dream world which she can shape and rebuild on a whim, but what she really wants to see her dad again.
- Magic Skirt: Despite all of Rin's flips and tumbles, you never see her panties.
- Meaningful Echo: "I'm not lonely/ I don't feel alone." A Blatant Lie at the start of the short, but gains weight after she learns the circumstances of her virtual life by the end.
- Minimalist Cast: Rin is the only character to appear in the short outside of flashbacks.
- Missing Mom: Rin's mother only appears in a photo. A Freeze-Frame Bonus translation of her father's message confirms that she died before the flashbacks.
- No Antagonist: While there is conflict revealed at the halfway point, there is no villainous individual causing the conflict, and neither of our main characters are the "bad guy". This is all a tragic act of nature, and the object on course with Earth is doing so completely by cosmic chance.
- Off-Model: A minor example, her feet are drawn differently when she arrives at the swings, having a weird shape and being drawn with toe nails which are usually absent everytime elsewhere in the film.
- One-Word Title: It references the location that Rin is in.
- Platonic Cave: Where Rin has spent her life in after the apocalypse.
- Posthumous Character: Rin's father, Shigeru.
- The Pollyanna: Rin happens to be very cheerful and optimistic. Even after finding out the truth of the world she lives in and the fate of Earth, she still remains optimistic and hopeful for the future since her father's love is always with her.
- Red-Headed Heroine: Rin, the main character, is redheaded. However, it is shown in the flashbacks that she used to have dark hair, and in the end, we see her real body with the same dark hair color, indicating that she only imagines herself as a redhead.
- Rewriting Reality: Rin can do this with a tablet, stylus and some kind of design software. This is because she is living in a virtual reality, and can create any world she wants.
- Scenery Porn: A-1 Pictures strikes again. It helps that Rin creates the world around her as she desires, meaning it isn't constrained by real world physics or geography.
- She's Got Legs: Rin's legs (and feet) are exposed for the majority of the film.
- Slept Through the Apocalypse: Rin, without even knowing it.
- Wistful Amnesia: It's shown that Rin vaguely remembers pieces of her childhood. In particular, the desolate scene when she is in the bath looks like the meteor about the crash into Earth and she draws a scene that looks like a Tokyo lit up at night.
- The World Is Just Awesome: Several shots of Rin looking out over the beautiful landscapes.
- Video Will: Towards the end of the animation, Rin gets to see a final message from Shigeru. It's because of this that she finally understands why she is not alone.
- You Are Not Alone: :One of the main themes of this video, also subverted. Yes, Rin's father is long gone and she's all alone in a virtual world, but after learning the truth about the world, Rin realizes that she's not alone and is hopeful for the future because her father's love and memories will always be at her heart.