Inkling Anime Review: Shelter

It’s amazing when an animated piece is brief in terms of length, yet is still able to convey a story that is so poignant and eloquently stirs your emotions. Shelter embodies a lot of qualities that made me fall head over heels towards anime. It instills a distinctive and wondrous experience that isn’t something you’d normally expect or find in other music videos.


The narrative of Shelter focuses on a 17-year-old girl named Rin, who’s living within the engrossing open world confines of a virtually simulated reality. Right off the bat, this piece might instantly remind you of some notably popular anime shows such as, Accel World, Log Horizon, No Game No Life, and Sword Art Online. What sets Shelter apart from these animes’ that I’ve mentioned is that only Rin lives in the world that she inhabits, no one else. Within this enclosed environment, she has the power to alter the aesthetical landscape of the world around her by fostering a vivid image of what she wants to see in her mind by drawing it out on an electronic tablet screen. Some of the thoughts that were running through my mind as I watched this was why she’s the only human being in this imaginary realm, and how she got there in the first place. You sort of begin to wonder if Rin chose to be a part of this world, or if something happened in her personal life. Despite it’s rather brief runtime of six minutes (most anime works span a couple of episodes), you do come to a clear understanding and realization of what transpired in her past. The truth that unfolds is quite saddening.

Towards the end of the video, Rin begins to introspectively remember all of her childhood memories that she either forgotten or possibly suppressed as a coping mechanism for her state of isolation. I don’t want to spoil what happened for those that plan on watching this, but I can say that this part of the video was quite gut-wrenching, and might even have you writing in tears and emotional turmoil.

As for the animation quality (done by A-1 Pictures), holy guacamole! You can definitely tell that this music video has a high-production value because each frame is brimming with minute details and quirks that are normally found in movies, and the color palette of the background and scenery within this work is absolutely breathtaking to look at as it all unfolds. This is without a doubt one of the best-looking anime features of 2016.

The musical composition for this video was handled by Porter Robinson (who’s also the original creator), which has a very electronic and sanguine soundscape that really encapsulates a very buoyant and blissful atmosphere. While it does have a very positive and hopeful sound, the music is pretty thematically dissonant since it is juxtaposed with an immensely sad and heartbreaking story. But this was actually a good thing in my opinion because it really accentuates the emotional connection between you and Rin’s personal predicament.

All in all, I truly loved Shelter and think that it is able to carry a lot of thought-provoking nuances and substance even though it’s relatively short in length. While there is honestly a part of me that wonders if this story could maybe translate well into a possible TV series or a two-hour movie production, I still feel like this six-minute feature is one that shouldn’t be missed since it really captures the essence of not just good anime, but quality storytelling as well.


Thanks for stopping by! I hope you guys had a wonderful year, and I wish you all the best in 2017. Stay fresh!

4 thoughts on “Inkling Anime Review: Shelter

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