Shelter (Space is the Place Blog Tour)

Shelter Porter Robinson Madeon Title

It’s been almost seven years since Rin last received a message. She’s been alone all that time, just her and her teddybear, playing in a world that she can shape in any way imaginable, but somethings are unimaginable!

What’s going on?

You probably know by now that it’s been fifty-years since Apollo 11 landed on the moon and Neil Armstrong made ‘one small step’. To celebrate that Scott at Mechanical Anime Reviews has assembled a blog tour, where sixteen different bloggers have put together posts talking about space. Well, space in anime. So, as you may have guessed by now, this is my post for the Space is the Place blog tour.

The anime I’m going to talk about is something that I watched a couple of years back and find myself re-watching over and over again. Ironically, despite having watched it an unknown number of times, I’ve never found the right time to talk about it. Well, lucky me, because this seems like the perfect opportunity. I’m going to be talking about the Porter Robinson + Madeon music video for Shelter. Normally, this is where I would tell you that there will be spoilers beyond this point, but as this video is only six-minutes long and on YouTube, I really think you should watch. Trust me. You can thank me later.

What happened?

Rin is alone and has been for seven years. She’s comfortable, living in a world where she can change it in any way she can imagine, but she can’t shake the loneliness, even with her trusty teddy bear at her side. One day, while playing in her latest creation, she comes across a swing, growing out of a tree. The sight of it brings back flashes of a time long ago, before she was alone. The memories grow stronger and stronger until something in her subconscious takes over and recreates a world that is familiar, yet distant.

Shelter Porter Robinson Madeon Rin Designing

She watches a small child playing in a sandbox with her father. There are flashes of news reports showing a world on a collision course with Earth. She sees the father, watching over his child, preparing something. Finally, the father gives the girl a present, a teddy bear, it’s her teddy bear. Then, he gives her one final gift, placing her into a small spaceship and sending her away from the doomed world… alone…

Shelter Porter Robinson Madeon Young Rin With Father Planet Approaching

What did you think?

This music video is only six-minutes long, but the story will be with me for my entire life. It is fantastically structured, showing us the beauty of the world that Rin lives in, the loneliness that she feels, and the sacrifices made by her father. There is something so beautiful yet tragic about this story. For me, it is a true masterpiece and that’s even before you consider the fantastic song that should be the centrepiece, although I think the two are joined into one glorious creation. Honestly, if you’re still reading and haven’t watched the video yet, scroll back up and do so now. Maybe, even watch it again if you already have. There is so much emotion packed into such a tightly woven tale, it really is incredible.

Shelter Porter Robinson Madeon Rin Crying

What was your favourite moment?

Picking a favourite moment from this video is nearly impossible. I loved the beginning where we get to see Rin building a world around her. Then, as she played in her creation, changing it as she saw fit. It’s a truly stunning piece of animation with beautiful vistas and imaginative backdrops. Seeing Rin’s face as she skipped from rock pillar to rock pillar, you feel the joy she’s experiencing. Maybe, it’s fleeting, but you really do get a sense of it. I think that’s got to be my favourite moment. It’s hard not to smile.

Shelter Porter Robinson Madeon Rin Playing

What was your least favourite moment?

Now, this is going in as my least favourite moment, but it is also an incredibly effective moment. That was when Rin’s father placed her inside the spaceship and connected her to the digital world that is now her home. The sight of a small child connected to the machine with a teddy bear sat beside her is utterly heartbreaking. Even worse still, when you see her again as she is now, the same position, the teddy bear looks smaller, she’s just older and with no planet in sight. How did they fit so many emotions into such a short anime with such an engaging story?

Who was your favourite character?

This seems kind of a redundant section as there are only really two characters in Shelter. I’m going to give this to Rin because it’s her story. We see her world through her interactions and it’s only when her subconscious starts to get involved that we see her memories and relive the events that brought her here. We experience all the emotions she does and we see how despite the terrible things that happened, she refuses to forget them. They are what saved her. They gave her a chance to live on, but at what cost…

Shelter Porter Robinson Madeon Rin Memories

Who was your least favourite character?

So, this may seem a bit harsh, but I guess Rin’s father will be taking the role of my least favourite character. It’s odd because as a father myself, I can sympathise with his decisions. I can see the reasoning in doing everything possible to save your child, even in a situation as dire as that. The one thing that gets me though, is that he sent her off alone. Now, he may have a plan with the trajectory that he’s set the spaceship on. We don’t know that, but couldn’t he have put in another seat. The guy was able to build a spaceship and develop a life-support system with a digital world. Put another seat in the damn ship!

Shelter Porter Robinson Madeon Rin's Father

Any final thoughts?

Basically, this video is incredible. It has been watched more than forty-five-million times on YouTube and I’m not sure how many of those were me, but it’s been quite a few. It has almost one-hundred-thousand comments… Mind, blown! Even if you’re not a fan of anime or Porter Robinson or Madeon, it’s hard to ignore the elegance in the story-telling and the emotional depth. Sure, there are lots of unknowns within the story, but we see enough to be able to make up our minds on what happened. For me, that’s great. I don’t want the whole thing to be spelt out for me.

Anyhow, thanks for stopping by and making it through my review of the Porter Robinson + Madeon music video for Shelter. It’s actually a little longer than my normal review which is surprising given that it’s only six-minutes long. There have been lots of great posts already and many more to come. I’m going to leave you with a collection of images from the video that spoke to me and also a link to all the other posts in the tour. Thanks again.

Other posts in the tour

18 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing, Lynn. Yeah, I still think of this music video all the time. It’s so heavy and beautiful and just leaves the largest impression on you.

    • Lynn Sheridan

      Thanks. I was blown away the first time I saw it and it seems to hit me the same no matter how many times I see it.

  2. Those were six minutes well spent. Pretty powerful stuff, even though I wasn’t a big fan of the music, the story was gripping and really fits the theme of everyones tour I think, time to hop into my pink clefairy shaped spaceship and start heading to the next planet in this tour! Thanks for this video!

    • Lynn Sheridan

      Thanks. I think it’s such a powerful story and an excellent example efficient storytelling. It’s not my go to music genre either, but I’d probably listen to anything if it came with a video like that.

    • I can fully agree on that one

  3. […] is the Place blog tour organised by Scott over on Mechanical Anime Reviews. Hopefully you caught Lynn’s post yesterday and be sure to catch up tomorrow with Crow’s […]

  4. “Put another seat in the damn ship!”

    I always imagined the father, who was obviously a rocket scientist, running the numbers again and again and again. He obviously had some influence, because he could get components for a space vehicle. But even his influence had to have limits, and he could only get a power plant of a certain size.

    I could see him running the numbers until he was exhausted and finally forced to face the bleak facts: It would only support a single occupant.

    Can you imagine how that moment must have felt? It had to be crushing and terrible.

    And despite the pain, he decided to save his daughter knowing what it meant for him. And for her.

    Despite her pain, she’s still alive, and while there’s life, there’s hope. Not a lot, maybe, but more than her father.

    Wonderfully painful video!

    • Lynn Sheridan

      Yeah and that’s just it. That’s what makes the ending of the video so incredible. It’s a beautifully uplifting story but also steeped in tragedy and heartbreak. You come out of it not know what to think or which way is up.

  5. Loved this post and the video. Permit me to also share my extended thoughts on Shelter and Expelled from Paradise, which won’t fit into a comment!

    • Lynn Sheridan

      Great post, thanks for linking. For a six minute short, it really packs a punch and there’s so much to talk about. Could you imagine, if they managed to make a feature length version that was able to deliver the same intensity? I don’t think people would survive the viewing…

    • Shelter is magical in that regard, and what stood out in your post was mention of the impact of such a short, which shows that very powerful emotions can be conveyed in a short space. I’m not sure what would happen for something that lasted an hour or more, but I can be confident in saying that it would probably make its place in history as a veritable masterpiece of the ages 🙂

    • Lynn Sheridan

      I’m a big fan of short stories and love how a great one can give so much in such a short amount of words. This is pretty much the same thing and I agree, expanded and drawn out, it would probably lose a lot of its power, but it would still be incredible, nonetheless.

    • It really boils down to the intent of the story. For Shelter, it worked great. There have been others, like Typhoon Noruda, that did suffer from a short length and may have benefited.

    • Lynn Sheridan

      They always say a story should be as long as it needs to be and nothing more or less. I think that’s generally right. To make it longer would require a lot of padding, which I think would take away from the impact.

  6. Wow! That really was a beautiful video! I loved the way you told it out like a story in your post.

    • Lynn Sheridan

      It is one of my favourites. I can watch it over and over again. And thanks, I’d been saving this topic for a special occasion.

  7. […] Shelter (Space is the Place Blog Tour) by Lynn Sheridan (The Otaku Author) – It never ceases to amaze me as to what you can write a blog post about – I thought I’d pushed the limits of blogging by writing on a Jump Start (3 chapters) and an anime that wasn’t on databases at the time, but Lynn matches that with a post on Shelter. It’s also an excuse to promote the collective hard work of the Space is the Place participants. […]

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