Ryo was the first project I watched for the 2012 batch. It has in some way shaped my view of the other projects, in terms of expectation of the quality of both the story and the animation. It's a story that has been told time and time again, and for audiences in Japan, it's probably one that is fairly familiar. There's a good deal of anime and manga that have portrayed the Bakumatsu period, notably Shura No Toki (which is on my to-watch list) and Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto (which I quite enjoyed). Also pretty near the same period is the legendary Rurouni Kenshin as well as Peacemaker Kurogane both of which are really good series.
This particular short is beautifully animated. The movements are gorgeous and fluid. There's some really highly quality going on. Add to that a fairly intriguing plot and characters and you have a project that I wished more people appreciated. It's a simple story, but it's executed well. The characters are memorable, even funny and unique individuals. There's actual character development even though the anime is just an episode long. There's a variety of characters and it does take time to absorb everything that is happening, but it's not overly complex.
The story is about a boy who saw his parents killed and joined a school for samurai eventually becoming Sakamoto Ryoma's bodyguard and being named Ryo (the naming is really adorable). Along the way a series of events happen which pay homage to Ryoma as a visionary and a really interesting (fictional?) character. It feels like the first episode of a series, yet at the same time can be accepted on its own. I really enjoyed it and I know I shouldn't expect more, but I just can't help myself.