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.
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.
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 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.
Worth seeking out.