Hiroyuki Okiura, the director and master animator responsible for some of the most beautiful and hyper realistic scenes in anime, has apparently turned to the dark side. After working on such classics like Akira, Ghost in the Shell, Jin-Roh, and Paprika, Okiura has written and directed what could be arguably classified as an ecchi anime.
With the exception of Bakemonogatari, Prison School, and a handful of other titles, ecchi anime are often produced with tight budgets, have average or below average art and animation, and their stories are rarely good enough to warrant a rating over a 6. While the story in Robot on the Road is about a low 7, the art and animation are exceptional, and are the main redeeming value of this 10 minute short.
Character designs are crisp and clean, similar to those used in A Letter to Momo, which was also written and directed by Okiura. Moreover, as is the case with much of Okiura’s work, the art and animation quality is often so good that it looks rotoscoped. When the female protagonist gestures quickly or jumps, not a motion in her hair or breasts is overlooked. When the camera cuts to a close-up of her underwear, every detail is drawn out for maximum awkwardness.
The fanservice and gags are propelled by the antics of a perverted, cowboy hat wearing robot. The female protagonist spots him hitchhiking on the side of the road, and she picks him up because—hey, why not? Very little that follow makes much sense outside of ecchi comedy logic, but it’s probably not meant to since it is a comedy afterall.
You can watch Robot on the Road on animatorexpo.com. An option for English subtitles is available on the page. NSFW: contains nudity.