This collection of animated shorts by Katsuhiro Otomo and several other anime directors mostly have a feudal era setting (Farewell to Weapons being the exception to this) and are meant to show off the talents of the men involved. Being a film anthology, I will be giving quick thoughts on each of the shorts:
- Possession- A feudal era story focused on a wanderer who gets stuck in a haunted mansion during a storm where possessed objects cause mischief for him. The film appears to be done entirely in cel-shaded animation and seems to be more focused on showing off its impressive animation and bizarre sights with the wanderer's encounter with the various haunted objects and fixing them up. It's nice to look at, but doesn't have much of a story to engage otherwise.
- Combustible- The short that Otomo was involved in for this anthology for film direction, this one involves a pair of childhood friends trying to deal with their love for one another, the norms of their time period and a fire that ravages much of Edo. This one appears to be traditionally animated with characters looking lifelike and realistically drawn to the time period, with the animated highlight being the sequence where we see the firefighters in action and the fire burning down buildings as the mentioned lovers try going after one another. The story's a decent one, though it could have been longer as there's little time to connect with the pairing in this one.
- Gambo- The best short of this anthology for me where a white bear assists a small army of villagers in slaying a demon abducting their women. There's enough time in the short to tell its simple story and build up genuine suspense over the demon tearing havoc on the village and the bear's efforts to try slaying it. The visuals are traditionally animated like Combustible, but sport more vivid color, defined detail and somewhat more fluid animation.
- A Farewell to Weapons- The oddball of this anthology as rather than being in a feudal era setting, it is set in the far future focused on a group of soldiers trying to take out an automated tank in a post-apocalyptic future. Much of the story is focused on the confrontation the group have with hunting the tank. It is easily the best animated short of this anthology with highly-detailed visuals and fluid animation coming from the battle between the soldiers and the tank. The short is a treat for action fans, but doesn't have much else to offer.
Overall, this collection's likely to be more a treat for animation enthusiasts or worth a one-night rental as most of the shorts in Short Peace serve mostly to show off the animation and cinematography offered in each short and are rather lacking in enough substance to engage fans of more longer titles.