STUDIO: Miramax
MSRP: $19.99 RATED: Unrated
RUNNING TIME: 171 Minutes

"Kinetic" ought to be a natural description for a
moving picture. It’s a little odd when the word gets tossed around as an adjective
with degrees, X is far more kinetic than Y. Then, to go one further, someone
went ahead and coined the term "hyper-kinetic", which you’ll
encounter heavily in the promotional materials for Tokyo Pig. It’s not hard
to see what the marketing folks were trying to convey, though I would have
chosen "frenetic". This cartoon, one for the ADHD crowd, retains a
nice heart through all the fast action, but most of what it pumps is a cheap
knockoff of adrenaline.

My pig can dance!

The Show

Tokyo Pig features a boy, who presumably lives in Tokyo,
named Spencer Weinberg-Takahama. He loves school and rushes home every
afternoon just to do his homework. One day, his teacher assigns him a journal
project. Spencer, realizing that he has nothing interesting to write about in
his journal, proceeds to make stuff up. Somehow, the things he invents start
coming over into real life. To test this ability, he writes an army of flying
pigs. The next morning he wakes up to skies clouded over with pink bodies. Frantically
(and I really should be using that adverb a bit more), Spencer tries to erase
all the pigs, but he misses one. This titular pig he names Sunny and decides to

It’s Sunny, apparently, who has the power to summon the
objects of Spencer’s imagination into the real world. This isn’t something that
the writers bothered to address in the eight episodes in this "best
of" collection, but from I could tell, the journal is forgotten and from
the second episode on out, it’s Sunny who has all the power in his amiable
little noggin.

My pig can maim and destroy!

The show starts to remind the audience of the Star
episode "Shore Leave" or Crichton’s novel Sphere,
only featuring a child’s imagination, which is far and away more active and
more dangerous than Kirk’s, Spock’s, or any of the ciphers under the sea. The
predicaments Spencer puts himself in are sometimes frightening, in that Alice
in Wonderland
fashion, sometimes silly, sometimes just downright
absurd. Mostly absurd.

There is no particular arc through these eight episodes, and
they are presented out of order. Each follows a standard progression: Spencer
is confronted with a dilemma, Sunny causes untold damage to the fabric of the
universe, and then things resolve. While there is a visual cue for Sunny’s
meddling with the world, it’s not always employed. The result is that the
audience will sometimes wonder if it’s the world itself that is so off-kilter,
if it’s even the pig’s fault at all.

"I bet I know what you’re thinking about."

A surprising amount of the dialogue is clever enough to keep
the scenarios from spiraling off into the stratosphere. It’s the sort of
dialogue that you encounter from time to time in shows like Animaniacs;
the stuff that people tend to admire by saying, "It’s a children’s show,
but some of the jokes go right over their heads." There are also some nice
touches of irony between the visuals and the dialogue.

It’s enough to keep an adult entertained, provided he can
handle the chibi-style artwork, the
unrelenting sensory assault of Spencer’s rapidly changing world, and a pig who
sounds like a mouse and might just warrant being called adorable. This seems to
be what happens when post-modernism filters down from academia to children’s
entertainment, and it’s not all bad.

6.0 out of 10

The Look

As a television show, it’s presented in full screen. The
colors came across bright and vibrant and I have no complaints about the
transfer. The thing about the visuals that might turn some viewers off is the
occasional bits of lazy animation, with no interpolation between frames. Choppy
frames result, and gave my wife a headache during some panning shots. From what
I could tell, though, this is leftover from the original animation and not an
artifact of the transfer.

You’ll have to put up with this for three hours.

So you just have to ask yourself if you can handle almost
three hours’ worth of gigantic mouths, perpetually blushing cheeks, and
gigantic water droplets used to signify apprehension.

7.0 out of 10

The Noise

Each episode is presented with Dobly 5.1, but it’s a bit
overwhelming and unnecessary for this sort of show. The sound gets muddied up
from so many things going on at once. The constantly maxed-out volume got on my
nerves and had me begging for a quiet interlude more than once. It’s clear
enough when there’s dialogue going, but the surround sound mix seems

5.5 out of 10

The Goodies

A few sneak peeks for other kids shows.

0.2 out of 10

The Artwork

No guile here: you can see what you’re in for right from the
cover. Happy people squinting with their mouths wide open and three different
sizes of Sunny’s face. The font and design remind me a bit of Family
, but I’m sure the parallel is unintentional.

5.0 out of 10

"We only eat dolphin-free tuna!"

Overall 6.0 out of 10