I finished Rozen Maiden: Traumend yesterday, so I was looking for more unique anime to watch. It's not that I dislike mainstream anime, (I even like some of them) but I was searching for something new. (Aren't we all?)While browsing the anime series in AnimeSuki I saw this anime, The Diary of Tortov Roddle. It was similar to Salad Fingers, an animated Flash series about a queer being who likes rust. As I liked Salad Fingers, I was hoping that the similar animation would take me away.

I waited for almost a day to obtain the single OVA (six short vignettes packed into one OVA), and I was not disappointed when I was finally able to download and watch it. The animation was indeed similar to Salad Fingers, boasting of strange characters, places, and occurrences. In short, it was surreal. The characters, however, were not as queer as those of Salad Fingers: the main character possessed humanity in him, anyway (Tortov Roddle).

One of the merits of this show is its surrealism. Its dream-like animation is often unfollowed by the mainline anime artists because it is a difficult medium, and it doesn't often convey emotions as easily were it based on stretching real-life (this I can attest to, seeing TDoTR). Its execution is also quite amazing, with its vignettes comparable to Akira Kurosawa's Dreams (which I like, despite having a difficulty understanding).

The setting that it has also evokes a somber mood that is central (to me, anyway) to the understanding of the 'series.' The somber mood reflects the silent pain that Tortov Roddle has been experiencing, traveling alone towards both anywhere and nowhere. With this he sees strange things (as if his horse-pig wasn't strange enough), and takes them down in his diary. Near the end, however, the ethereal melds into what is almost reality, and we see – perhaps – a glimpse on why he travels alone towards anywhere and nowhere. Like the final Dream of Akira Kurosawa the final vignette of TDoTR is an epiphany: we realize to some extent why he travels at all, and it is to shirk away from the pain of separation: to suffer alone because one is truly alone.

With the past and his daydreams melding together into one, it is hard to distinguish what was real, except that separation from a beautiful woman (perhaps real, perhaps imagined) maybe has driven him to move away from humanity itself. The wilted flower he holds is the symbol of his wilted heart (I think), and his unwillingness to love again, only to peruse the past while moving away from the present (with the picture of that lady on his diary) is why he travels away from the world and away from himself.

Maybe I gave this OVA too much meaning, or maybe I didn't. All in all, despite being slow-moving, it was a refreshing watch – nothing like a cup of good tea amidst softdrinks.