Panda! Go Panda!

Panda! Go Panda! ★★★½

A goofy bit of childish nonsense that doesn't even pretend its plot makes sense: it's just an exercise in the flights of fancy like three kids who are playing a game that has rules that everybody agreed to at the start, but it sure looks like they're just running around the backyard. Only in this case, two of the kids are pandas. And the thing is, they're adorable - not as adorable as the Totoros that were a fairly direct evolution of their design, but more than enough to get the job done. It's not a work of artistic creativity on par with Hols, Prince of the Sun, but you can tell that the people making it were trying to do some interesting things with layout and timing, given the barbarically low needs of children's animation in Japan in the 1970s. There's a lot of fairly complicated movement in three-dimensional space, and the three characters each move with respect paid to their very different masses. It's very carefully made, something that I don't think it gets enough credit for; it might be weightless fluff, but it's weightless fluff made with considerable attention to how thoughtful animation can give it personality and charm.

(Full review at Alternate Ending)