Director – Yoshimi Itazu
Screenplay – Miho Marou
Studio – Production I.G.
Distributor – Anime Limited
Pigtails is a Production I.G. produced movie adapted from the original Manga short story by Kyou Machiko. The two main protagonists are not voiced and for the most part we view the events of the story through the conversations between the inanimate objects living around the primary location.
Our main character is a young girl who is never named, she lives isolated on her own in a beach, her only social interactions are with a young boy who delivers her mail every day and a crew of scientists who show up in full bio safety suits to inspect her on a regular basis. As mentioned above none of the human characters are voiced and its items such as a toothbrush, a basket of warring clothes pegs and other household items that provide the narrative. The chatter between the characters is often humorous but does carry a darker side when they begin to discuss the girl and the events surrounding her.
There has been a disaster of some sort and although there are other people in the world we only find out at the film’s climax just what has become of them. We are forced to ask a lot of questions whilst the events unfold around us, are the household items we use merely a means to an end ready to be discarded once we no longer have a use for them? Do we owe anything back to the world that has brought us into existence? Is it better to be safe and enslaved within a system that allows us to live comfortably or should we strive for freedom and a life of uncertainty? Make no mistake this is a film that asks a lot of questions and lets us, the viewers, decide but those answers won’t come easily.
As expected from Studio I.G. the animation and quality of art is of the highest standard but rather than go towards a super flashy style they instead veer towards an almost hand drawn look. The world itself looks like a moving water colour painting and the colours are muted yet bold and distinctive. The limited animation on the household items is effective yet subtle, gradual changes are applied to them to allow them to emote effectively. The soundtrack is just as subtle as the animation and musically frames the whole feature in a soothing yet delicate bubble of contemplation and brutal honesty.
Pigtails is a short movie running for only 28 minutes and yet in that time it is able to say more than films more than 4 times as long. Not a single moment of its time is wasted and it never comes across as overly depressing or too light, it straddles a line between the two and it’s the viewer who decides on how happy or sad the ending is. The writer clearly had a lot to say but didn’t want to preach to the audience choosing instead to ask us questions and give us all the information we need to reach the conclusion on our own. We all have the 28 mins available at some point during the day to give this piece a chance and I can assure you it will be time well spent.
I have included a link to the official trailer below, enjoy: