|VIZ | SHONEN JUMP | ANIMERICA-MAG | STORE|
The Fine Print
All text is © copyright VIZ, LLC. No reproduction without written permission. All images are © copyright their respective copyright holders as noted. No reproduction without written permission. All images for The Animatrix © 2003 Warner Home Video
Directed by Shinichiro Watanabe Written by Andy and Larry Wachowski
When the original Matrix was released in March 1999, the violence of the Columbine school shootings was only a few weeks around the corner. In the aftermath, the film (along with video games and music, a la Marilyn Mason) was routinely blamed by pundits for putting dangerous ideas inside the minds of America's youth. Now that the whole world seems to be facing a set of much bigger problems, it is possible that "Kid's Story" will pass completely under the radar of cultural watchdogs in spite of what it actually is: a sympathetic portrayal of an alienated loner who commits a violent and suicidal act of rebellion at his high school. The protagonist is the Kid (a character set to figure prominently in the Matrix sequels), your textbook bored suburban skateboarder who holes up in his room doubting his sanity and the validity of the world around him while exchanging e-mail messages with the mythical Neo (voiced by Keanu Reeves). The dynamics of "Kid's Story" are identical to those in the first act of The Matrix right down to the chase scene involving the dreaded agents. But the high school setting (substituted for the film's office building) makes it a much more subversive piece. In other hands, the tantalizing possibility might have been suggested that there is no Neo, no Matrix, and the Kid has simply gone insane (in fact, such a perspective is briefly mulled over by the adults, but their opinions are not to be trusted). Instead, "Kid's Story" fully endorses the Kid's classroom freak out as an act of courage. How much of this is meant to be interpreted as a reaction (possibly a very cynical one) to the criticism previously leveled at the Wachowskis is open to speculation. As for the visuals, director Watanabe continues to avoid a single identifiable style. The roughhewn quality of the images, which look like a mix of video reference and computer effects, owe nothing to his work on Cowboy Bebop or even to his other Animatrix short "Detective Story." Another remarkable aspect of his direction is his entirely believable evocation of American high school life. It would be hard to imagine a Western director who could mimic a Japanese classroom nearly as well.