I had no idea what to expect as I sat down to watch The Sand Whale and Me. I mean, after all, what is a Sand Whale anyway? What is this even about? I was about to find out soon. From legendary director Mamoru Oshii of Ghost in the Shell fame, comes this short about survival.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
I really like how this starts off. With no warning at all, we are thrust into the middle of the action. A pretty cool looking mech soars past the screen, unloading a spray of bullets while simultaneously pulling off some fancy aerial maneuvers. Our mech must have sustained some damage, so we head to the planet below. After reaching the ground the pilot exits the mech. A woman… and pretty badass from first glance. She starts exploring the world she has landed on. This looks pretty cool. With a life bar and a few other gauges being displayed on screen, I get the feeling that I’m watching someone play an RPG. The pilot of the mech is checking out the environment, collecting items that are added to her inventory… wait did she just eat a snail and blow a bubble with it!? That was random. It seems like anything can happen on this show, as one minute our pilot is getting blowing bubbles with snails as chewing gum, the next she is blasted in the face by a golden baby dragon and in next scene, she dies, and gets a “Game Over” screen. This all seems to happen very randomly… and I like it.
Here we go again, our pilot has been respawned. The ground shakes and I sense that something like a boss battle looms on the horizon. Giant Sandworms! These things are huge. These Sand Whales are giant worm-like creatures that swim through the sand as if it was water. Our pilot envisions a nice juicy Sand Whale steak cooking over a fire for dinner and gives chase. I’m not quite sure she can bring one of these behemoths down. I mean these Sand Whales seem to be around 500 feet long and could easily crush her. As our pilot gives chase, the sand whales burrow underground. You can tell by the expression of determination in her eye, she really wanted to capture that Sand Whale. Night falls, and our pilot, now sitting at a campfire, eating a can of green peace (Green peas) instead of delicious Sand Whale Steak. She seems to have an expression that says “I WILL get one of those Sand Whales, even if it kills me” written on her face. Oh well, better luck next time. The episode ends. That was quick
This is definitely a unique approach to story-telling. I mentioned earlier this feels like watching someone play an RPG over the shoulder. Except as the audience, we don’t have to wait for load times and we get nothing straight action shots. It’s fast paced, so blink an eye and you might miss something. Also, things happen randomly there doesn’t seem to be too much story here, other than trying to survive on this new planet that our pilot has been stranded on. It seems as if anything can happen at any moment in this show as well. I was definitely entertained by this weird, creative, and unique short. Better still, from the looks of it, next week’s episode is going to be pretty crazy as well. I honestly have no clue what to expect as it seems that just about anything can happen in this show.
The premiere episode had a nice aerial fight scene and a whole bunch of random game scenarios that played out in the course of just a few minutes. The Sand Whale and Me is pretty cool and definitely unique.
Check out Sand Whale at 12am midnight on Adult Swims Toonami. It’s a short series, consisting of five five-minute episodes, so be sure to tune in and don’t miss out!