Shinichiro Watanabe provides a melancholic outlook on the apocalypse with his latest short A Girl Meets a Boy and a Robot. As gorgeous to watch as it is emotionally painful, this is a beautiful short.
A girl without memory wanders the ruined wastes of the world that once was, where the remnants of automated technology blindly continue to function despite their human masters being (almost) all gone. She comes across a friendly but likewise amnesiac robot, and the two travel into the city, where they meet a brave youth living a feral existence. He seeks the Crystal of Time to connect with the forgotten past, but the truth is right there among them, unbeknownst to the forlorn trio.
The strength in A Girl Meets A Boy, and a Robot is that you are never sure where the film is going to go in those 20 minutes. So instead, we see our titular girl wonder around a desolate wasteland, alone but playful. You immediately fall for her; unlike practically every post-apocalyptic film, this girl is relatively carefree as she wanders about, emboldened by her independence to confront a fallen robot. In a pile of films that have the world as dangerous as it is broken, it is so refreshing to have an innocence to it. She happily converses with the robot as she tries to find a way to some form of civilisation and cool rocks.
Of course, all is not what it seems to our young lead, who finds a different world in the city than in her peaceful wilderness. When she meets the boy, we find someone who has almost lost hope in finding another human, to the point where his innocence comes out in a terrific scene in an old shopping mall. It is here that A Girl Meets A Boy and a Robot takes its expected and fulfilling turn with its fantastic finale that will not be spoiled here as it is one that you should watch.
However, when we get to the finale, it feels like one almighty gut punch. The need for a connection and purpose resonates throughout the short. Watanabe has delivered something majestic here.
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