As any thoughtful Akira fan will tell you, animation's greatest virtue is its ability to do what film cannot. Most animation festivals tend to be jumbled displays of sexual repression and dementia, and Manga Entertainment's General Chaos: Uncensored Animation isn't much different. The 21-title collection mostly forgoes technical flashiness and depth to focus on bodily functions and sadistic gags. But a few good chainsaw jokes never hurt anybody.
General Chaos' range can best be illustrated through the quality and diversity of its first four shorts. The prologue, Tyron Montgomery's "Quest," while not comedic, is a Claymation clip with a decent story line. This winner of an Oscar for best animated short subject stands out for its unusual narrative and original style. The carnage then kicks off with "Malice in Wonderland," a bizarre show of phallic references and LSD-caliber visual statements. This stream-of-consciousness tumult has less to do with Lewis Carroll than Salvador Dali, due to its lurid metaphors and anguished shrieks.
"Sunny Havens" is simple crackpot fun, but Tony Nittoli's "Junky" is an indelible piece of black humor. A sardonic interplay of actor and puppet bird, the alt-rock-scored film is a sick tale involving a cracker-addicted parrot. This black-and-white clip pushes the envelope for any medium and will awe with its brain-damaged sensibility.
The series' other standout is the Evil Cat's "Attack of the Hungry, Hungry Nipples," a hip-hop-influenced riot of strange characters, most notably the Flying Richard Nixon Baseball Bat. The clip, Manga's only in-house production, sears with savage narration and a logic falling somewhere between Matt Groening and Ice Cube. Definitely a plus for all you "Space Ghost" fans out there.
But then, Uncensored Animation's overall logic is little more than an excuse to play with form. The styles of shorts range from computer to stop-motion, so if 10 variations of "Beat the Meatles" don't grab ya, there's more than enough eye candy to satisfy the mediocre fool in most of us anyway.
Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.