Genius Party Beyond – Moondrive

Take the average internet geek and you get something like this: Stupidity + Coolness – Money.

It’s hilarious that Moondrive – a short movie of the anime anthology Genius Party Beyond – accidentally exploits just this prototype to tell its hilarious story which follows a bunch of bankrupt thieves on their hunt for a treasure. Nevertheless I can safely state that Moondrive is one of the coolest things I have seen in a long time. This includes movies, by the way. It has tons of cool moments, interesting characters and style wherever you look. Admitted, the characters turn out to be a little bit flat but since this is a short movie that completely goes for “style” I can accept that. If you haven’t seen Moondrive or Genius Party Beyond, do it now. It’s only about twenty minutes long so you cannot say you ruined too much of your life afterwards.

So, and now let’s take a closer look at the best moments of Moondrive with an absolute disregard of spoilers (therefore the red flag on the left side of the title if you’re on this site and not using feed reader. This post was the reason I implemented all this technical AJAX stuff).



Now that’s what I call cutting the fluff. We’re just 50 seconds into this short and we already got a colonized moon (while the Earth is not some sort of epic wasteland), a bank robbery (for seemingly no reason besides money – hey Hollywood taught me there’s always more going on) and a fantastic visual style. Other directors would have needed ten sequels to just get to this point.


“I wonder if there are any leftover treasures just to be found”

You gotta love short movies just for this shortness of everything. It’s great and all to have the usual 15 minutes of introduction to the characters but sometimes this just feels nicer.

Another obvious thing: the director lacked big amounts of money as the visual setups are not moving and always “photographed” flat on. Does that matter? Not really, because the style simply rocks.

Note to myself: using a big head as your goal guarantees your win. And while this takes place, we learn that a guy selling antiques seems to have an old treasure map. Yay for hunting.


An old guy rapping and four toughs ruining a sofa just by sitting on it? Best moment in a long time.


I simply love those moments when a guy gets a gun pointed to his head but still doesn’t spill anything for free. Hollywood movies are so boring in that regard: “You see that gun in my jacket?” “…I tell you everything despite the fact that you can’t kill me since the information would be lost forever.”


“We’ll let you have her for an hour.”

“I’ve got really extreme tastes, you know.”

“No problem.”

Now that’s a negotiation any male reader of this blog, which is probably about everyone, would like to have, I guess. Japanese directors not only have a knack for absurdity but also for profanity. Boy, why didn’t the Wachowski Brothers chose this way for their Matrix franchise. It could have been so much better and cooler.


So they got the map easily and the girl is proud to being of help. That’s teamwork ftw.


“I can’t read it at all”

I just love this tidbit of information that shows they really are in a distant future in which our primitive languages don’t exist anymore and also explains why the owner gave up the map so easily. How many times did we watch science fiction movies or series in which languages don’t play any role at all? Yes, I am looking in your direction Star Trek…



“Just decipher it already”

“I’m not doing this job as a volunteer, you know”

“We’ll let you have her for an hour.”

Do I even have to add something to this crazy awesomeness of pure evil profanity? Japanese movie makers really don’t care for political correctness. The repetition of this “teamwork” is just another way of telling us “We’re doing it this way all the time.”

The following “hour” even adds more awesomeness as this guy is a “Oh, please, beat me up my queen”-type of guy. The total opposite of the first one.

Although this short movie has a kind of slow start it gets better by the minute. Not only is it revealed that the map only leads to another map on an island called “Giant’s Island” but they now need stuff to go to earth. In other words: it means to go to the Mafia and gamble for it instead of paying. Yes, you read it correctly.


“I can’t do it anymore”

Yep, that happens when your friend bets your body on a gamble. And yep, they always deal with this stuff that way all the time it seems.


The last ball! He screwed up his gamble with the last ball!!! Not that I didn’t see that coming hours ago.


I love this fantastic and crazy visual anime style. Disney, please stop being a studio for children shit only and get experimental. Please…


What do you do when you are about to stole a spacecraft in the middle of the night? Yes, you look stupid or check the size of your boobs. If a nuclear bomb would explode right in the middle of their face, they even wouldn’t blink.


“Come to think of it, we should’ve just stolen it from the start.”

Moondrive really excels at its writing. How many times does a script build some bullshit stuff into its story that’s so unrealistic you didn’t even care anymore? Here, the writer not only knew about it, but also used it to make one of the best jokes ever.


“We don’t have enough fuel”

The number of pure comedy gold moments just keeps increasing and increasing. I really start to love this bunch of idiotic toughs who are now stranded on the moon with a map guiding them to eternal masterhood of money.



Sometimes you simply need to turn around and look up to find the answer to all your prayers. Best.Moment.Ever.


“It’s like we’re commuting to work”

This must be the most unusual treasure hunt ever. It’s as if Indiana Jones would use an elevator to reach the snake filled pit in Egypt accompanied by a tourist guide who cannot shut the *beep* up. What makes me shiver, though, is the thought that a spoof comedy would really use this idea instead of going for something more “simple” or “realistic”. This moment shows: it works. And way better than the normal, unrealistic, over-the-top spoof shit you see on the big screen.

Did I already mention how I love the visual at work here?



The idea of an island that feels eerily similar to a certain ship in Fifth Element is great by itself, what it makes even better is the slow reaction of our beloved bunch on which it begins to dawn that something just doesn’t feel right – but simply decide to ignore it. Now that’s what I call a G.W. Bush moment here.


Yep, the best way to reach the bottom of a volcano is the good old theft of a car or whatever this thing is. But why did the other guy not call the police? I get the feeling we have just witnessed the beginning of another blessed moment of “One hour” and “No problem”.


“What’ll we do if there’s lava inside?”

“I don’t know. We’ll see when we go down!”

“You’re so cool!”



It’s almost unbelievable. A volcano in the future just isn’t the same anymore. It’s like facing off with Darth Vader only to learn there’s a fluffy cat behind the mask. But that just adds more awesomeness to the already present comedy gold.


“Sir, I’d like to buy a new map”

I start to feel sorry for my beloved bunch, after all this whole island seems like a big fat tourist trap. But I simply can’t stop laughing. Sorry…

(The music adds even more fun to the scene.)


So, which one is the original treasure map? Hint: it shows an island and is filled with primitive English words.


Please stop, spare me! Moondrive results in too much laughing for my health. If nothing else, the end is truly one of the most satisfying and perfectly timed conclusions to a treasure hunt I ever watched in a movie, being it short or long. How many times did we feel like an idiot for missing the obvious just because we didn’t look closer? I can so relate to that and that’s the main reason this moment is so fucking hilarious.



Words fail to describe this outburst of emotions.


“Feeling better now?”

“On to the next one!”

If seen in a cinema this would be one of the rare moments when I’d jump out of my seat, scream “Fucking yeah! Give me the next one!!!” and start to dance like a maniac. Where normal movies are extended into franchises without any reason, our main character here simply starts another treasure hunt out of thin blue. What do we need more? Oh yeah, a sequel.

Well, what can I add more? This was one short but hilarious treasure hunt, perhaps one the best I’ve ever seen. This might also be due to the shortness of this anime, which only lasts 14 minutes, so the percentage of epic moments of laugh is understandably high.

By the way, I’ve got a small request to you all: could someone please lend me 100 Million Dollar? For some reason I currently imagine this short remade by Hollywood’s best talents, starring Samuel L. Jackson as the main character.  Done right that movie would blast any other spoof movie or comedy out of the water.

But for now, all we have is this little gem, so if you might excuse me, I have another date with a short movie called Moondrive.

Further Reading

If you wanna learn more about Genius Party Beyond and its predecessor Genius Party, I recommend heading over to Anipages Daily’s take on both Anthologies.


  • Dna L

    Terrific screen captures in your writeup. Thanks.
    Studio 4C. Of course.


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