Aru Tabibito no Nikki translates into "A Traveler's Diary." That is exactly what it is, and that is exactly what you should expect. Aru Tabibito no Nikki is the diary of a man named Tortov Roddle. His diary is beautifully simplistic; he writes about what he sees and what he's doing. He writes about what is on his mind. There is no exaggeration. There are no women with massive breasts, there are no chibi scenes or outrageous expressions. This sentence explains exactly what this short is: "Accompanied by his long-legged pig friend, Tortov takes us on an on-going adventure of peaceful contemplation." And what a beautiful process that is. It doesn't take hours; it only takes a quarter of an hour to accomplish what many, many anime cannot. This anime is storyless, and yet it isn't. What person's life can really be called an action-packed story? Life is not always interesting. The best parts of life include silence, contemplation, and mental exploration. But, then again, Tortov's story isn't uninteresting in the slightest. It's surreal. It's the picture of an unusual, creative world with flashes into the mind of a fairly normal, thoughtful, and almost melancholic man. In these moments, he is perfectly real - sometimes expressionless, sometimes excited, sometimes surprised, sometimes vulnerable, sometimes not. This atmospheric experience is, in a way, mellowed by an eccentric, beautiful art style and a slightly depressing array of gentle music. Nothing is pushed in your face. Everything is softened and warmed for you, but the story does not become dull. It's as though you are a child being spoon-fed these wonderful, calm musings. None of it dribbles down your lips and chin. All of it is just calmly swallowed, but never really completely digested. And I mean that in the best possible sense. Aru Tabibito no Nikki can only be described as an artistic masterpiece, with pressure on "artistic." Art is subjective; this is the king of subjectivity. How much you enjoy it depends on your current walk in life. How much you enjoy it depends on your mindset, on what you're looking for. Just like a friend who helps you along one day; another day, maybe you're walking down different paths, and that's okay. For me, Aru Tabibito no Nikki came at a time where I needed to be soothed, inspired, and impacted. All of this, it can achieve. So do not just pick this anime up just for the heck of it. Pick it up because you're looking for something more. Pick it up because you're at a stand-still in your life. Pick it up because you just need to relax and feel your sanity again. Pick it up with the right mindset. "What mindset is that?" is a question that only you can answer, perhaps even subconsciously.
The Diary of Tortov Roddle is one of those OVAs that one enjoys simply because it has a great message. The Diary of Tortov Roddle is quite entertaining, and it is also artistic and unique when it comes to animation. It's a great watch for when you're bored, as it somehow creates a character that is completely normal yet deep and interesting at the same time, within a few five-minute shorts. That's more than one can say for some 25 episode anime series out there.