Shortstember: Beyond

Studio: STUDIO4°C

Director: Koji Morimoto

Writer: Koji Morimoto

Wha’ happen’?

A teenage girl named Yoko goes looking for her cat, Yuki. She comes across a group of local kids who tell her that her cat is in “the haunted house”. She and the kids go exploring inside an abandoned house and discover that here the normal rules of the world don’t apply. Gravity is on the fritz, time slows down randomly and it’s raining a lot more in the living room than would be typical for this time of year. The kids enjoy playing in the house until suddenly it starts swarming with rats. Exterminators, led by agents, suddenly arrive and drive the kids off and seal the house up.

The next day the kids return to the site of the house to find that it’s been completely paved over with a car park.

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot. It’s just like that song, Master of Puppets.

How was it?

I remember not caring much for this short when I first saw it back in 2003 but I found myself warming to it quite a bit this time. This is a story with a very clear theme. It opens and closes with images of commuters and office drones and all the dreary pomp of adult life. But the glitch house represents the wonder of childhood, long summer days when anything seemed possible and the power of imagination could make you fly. At least until the adult world comes crashing down and builds a car park over it.

The ending is actually very grim. I was expecting that Yoko would find some hint that the house’s magic had somehow survived. Maybe she’d see a bird flying in slow motion, or a floating bottle or something. But no.

The short ends with the Matrix carrying on as it always has, a perfect and infallible method of control. This short is like childhood. It doesn’t last very long, but it’s beautiful and magical while it does.


  1. I had completely forgotten about that short until you mentioned it here. Yeah, it’s a nice fluffy piece with some great animation, but it really doesn’t last beyond that.

    Also, damn you for that caption, now I have Big Yellow Taxi stuck in head… 😝

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