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The Animatrix: Kid's Story
Written By: Andy and Larry Wachowski
Directed By: Shinichiro Watanabe
"Somebody tell me.
Why it feels more real when I dream than when I am awake."
After waking from a vivid dream of falling, Michael Karl Popper types these words on his computer screen, only to see his computer type a message back. This message is from Neo, and it's Michael's first confirmation that his feelings of unreality and disconnection from the world have a cause outside of his own head.
That day in school, Michael's phone rings - it's Neo, warning him to get out now because Agents are coming. Michael heeds Neo's advice, gets his skateboard and flees through the school hallways with Agents, teachers, and others in hot pursuit. After getting boxed in, Michael's only option is into the girl's washroom, out through the window and up the drainpipe to the roof. After the arduous climb up the side of the school building, Michael rises over the side to see his pursuers waiting for him on the school's roof. Holding onto the railing, he begins leaning back. Recalling Neo's message on his computer screen, "To know the truth, you must risk everything", Michael whispers "Neo, I believe", and lets go of the railing. He falls to the ground below and all is black.
While a funeral is held in the Matrix, the Kid wakes up in the real world with Neo and Trinity over him. Trinity can be overheard saying "I didn't think self-substantiation was possible". Apparently, it is.
After the Kid thanks Neo for saving him, he is corrected "I didn't save you Kid, you saved yourself". Clearly, the Kid has accomplished something no one else has done in this version of the Matrix - he got himself out. Somehow, during his fall to the ground, he believed strongly enough to wake himself up. With that kind of an accomplishment on his resume, you can't help but think the Kid has bigger and better things in his future.
The animation style for this short is unique and dynamic - sometimes reminding you of a colored pencil sketch, and other times evoking something that's organic, malleable, and not quite real. You notice the latter especially during the skateboard chase where Michael bends and stretches in completely unreal ways as he avoids capture. Unlike many of the other Animatrix episodes, this one isn't as foreboding, and even seems to end on a positive note!
Also by this director:
Cowboy Bebop (director)
Macross Plus (co-director)
Read an interview with the director.
Get The Animatrix for yourself!
Did You Know?
The Matrix Online, the massively multiplayer game, is actually the official continuation of The Matrix Trilogy, focusing on the fragile peace accord brokered by Neo. The Wachowskis are supervising the storyline, and much of the trilogy's cast voice their characters in the game.