Studio 4C’s “Junk Town”

by dm00

The other day I came across a 15-minute film, Junk Town (Japanese title: Garakuta no machi), from Studio 4C. It’s so obscure, it doesn’t seem to have an animenewsnetwork encyclopedia entry, yet.  It’s directed by Nobutaka Ito (wo worked on Kemonozume, Kimagure Robot, and was animation director on several of the later episodes of Samurai Champloo). It’s available on the Deep Imagination DVD.


Stylistically, it looks a bit like Tekkonkinkreet or the Studio-4C contribution to Gotham Knight, as well as some of the music videos that Studio-4C has created.

The villain?

The villain?

It’s set in the not-too-distant future, and is about a kid and his pet stray-robot. The kid lives in a rundown part of town. On the street there are all sorts of near-descendants of Asimo and its ilk employed doing menial tasks in shops, or picking up litter, street sweeping, deliveries, etc.

A world where robots assist in shops, and perform other menial tasks

A world where robots assist in shops, and perform other menial tasks

One day, the kid hears a noise down an alley way, and finds a stray robot. The stray looks a bit like a robot head with four spidery legs. It eats other small (and not so small) robots, adding bits of them to a long tail that it drags behind. There seems to be a minor ecology made up of smaller robotic insects and animated robot-debris. The stray preys on these.

It's already grown a bit.

It's already grown a bit.


It eats, and its tail gets longer. If you’ve seen FLCL, it’s somewhat reminiscent of Mamimi’s pet robot “core”, Takkun, though, unlike Takkun, this robot only gets another segment on its tail instead of growing larger.  The robot follows the kid around, and demonstrates some surprising capabilities when the tail of loose junk suddenly combines to form a powerful robot arm. The kid ends up taking it to a junk yard, where things get a little out of hand — culminating with the kid shouting about Asimov’s laws as the robot — now equipped with a body it found in the junk-heap — menaces one of the junk-yard employees.

The stray robot gets a body

The stray robot gets a body

Worth seeking out.

8 Responses to “Studio 4C’s “Junk Town””

  1. 1 ghostlightning April 16, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    A predatory robot eh? It’s intriguing why such a design would be made – perhaps the robot was designed to ‘recycle’ waste, but since it attacks functional robots – it’s kind of dodgy.

    But perhaps this is AI gone awry applied on a very small scale. Then again you mentioned an ecology of insect-like robots. If these robots are parasitic, then the predatory one serves a function.

    But it remains an intriguing contradictory setting. Wasteful AI life forms preying on each other.

  2. 2 Snark April 16, 2009 at 11:04 pm

    Now that little robot is bitchin. Hmm, guess I might look into this!

  3. 3 Kashim April 17, 2009 at 11:51 am

    Good find. Gotta watch it someday.

  4. 4 omisyth April 17, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    Came across it randomnly. Ah, the treasures Toky Tosho can reaveal. I found it quite entertaining if only to see that tiny underdog robot pwn that which was larger. Best not mess with the little man.

  5. 5 dm00 April 17, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    @ghostlightning: there’s a hint that robot litter and debris has started to evolve on its own. The result is the start of a mechanical ecosystem.

    @omisyth: it sounds like I stumbled on it the same way you did. The odd thing is I’ve had the DVD on my wish-list at CDJapan for about a year (the DVD has a lot of Studio 4C classics on it — Comedy, Higan, The end of the world, but unsubbed, sadly).

  6. 6 Martin April 18, 2009 at 5:24 am

    Nice find! The screenies and premise sound fascinating – I’ll endeavour to track it down sometime this weekend. 4 Degrees C are often overlooked I reckon so the more discussion it gets, the better.

  7. 7 josephjaber April 19, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    Seems very interesting. I’ll have to check it out.

  8. 8 gaguri April 22, 2009 at 3:15 am

    Just watched it. I liked it but is very much like other studio C works. Ones like this are pretty cool, but I wonder if they’ll produce more of Kigeki.

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