February just ended… fourteen days ago, and it’s time for another monthly entry for this series.
This will be a pretty short since I watched next to no anime last month. I wanted to delay this until I finish Mononoke, but it’s pretty late already. Anyway, I just binged on films last month, so I am going to talk about five anime films. These are all good films, so this post is going to be a more positive one compared to January.
Lu Over the Wall
I have been putting off watching the two Yuasa films that came out in 2017, and I got around to watch those last month. Of the two, Lu Over the Wall is the weaker one for me. Yuasa showcases his free-flowing animation once again in full bloom- under water, the bubbly outlines end up seeming realistic and fantastical at the same time, which is quite interesting because I have never seen Yuasa’s dimension-warping animation seem this grounded before. The CGI was done really well and almost unnoticeable, and by CGI- I don’t just mean the camera movements, the walking animation, and some character movement also looks like CG, but they aren’t jarring, even though, they were prevalent enough to make me wonder when the Yuasa-esque animation will start.
The musical bits were crisp and soulful. It’s a really sunny, upbeat movie. I found the writing here a bit underwhelming, though- it’s too dilute. The characters were adequate, but I feel that Yuasa lost some of his characters’ charm through mildly meandering dramatic devices. Although I sound overly critical here, I enjoyed this film a lot.
Night is Short, Walk on Girl
I got just what I expected from this film. It had that breakneck script, a lively character and charming story about youth and how time doesn’t seem to move as fast for them.
Like Tatami Galaxy, Yuasa effortlessly complemented Morimi’s relentless and metaphor-laden script with imaginative and fluid cuts of animation. The color palette was lively as ever. I lost myself in the expressiveness of Yuasa’s visual craft here, he definitely utilized his newfound big budget here in the visual department. This film reminded me once more why I am a fan of his work.
No less credit to Morimi though, his sharp writing chops never fail to engage me. And Kana Hanazawa was absolutely delightful in her role as the main female character here, she brought life the girl’s charming and carefree personality really well. Unlike, Lu Over the Wall- Night is Short self-justifies its meandering storyline through the Tatami Galaxy’s legacy; so I guess I am being unfair here. Watching this film was an absolute joy, the musical numbers were a pleasant surprise.
Hotarubi no Mori e
This is a sweet romantic vignette from Yuki Midorikawa (mangaka of Natsume Yuujinchou- a SoL favorite of mine). The story is pretty simply structured and the film doesn’t meander much- it gets to the heart steadily and releases its warmth abruptly at the end. That’s how all good times end- it’s sad but it should be cherished.
I really don’t have anything else to say because it’s such a tightly paced and written short film- as if it’s a short poem, so if you have 45 minutes to spare- watch this.
In This Corner of the World
This film is a series of slices of life of a woman growing up in Hiroshima and marrying to a family in Kure- and the viewer follows her through her struggles and the people she meets through her day-to-day life in the midst of a war. This rather incoherent series of vignettes facilitate a much more efficient way of handling the tonal whiplash between the lush light-heartedness and the dark, destructive moments throughout the film. And this, in turn, helps to make the dread of that atomic bombing day much heavier and the minutes of the film following that scene, that much heart-wrenching.
But life must go on. And it does.
I felt that, even though the narrative structure isn’t really consistent and solid, the little light-hearted interactions between the main character and the world and people around her build up throughout the film’s runtime made certain pivotal scenes in the film have an impact that doesn’t register visually through Suzu’s emotional state in the film- but I felt it, and that’s enough to tell what she has been going through, and how she has built her own mental fortress through those times.
Though the film has kind of an off-tone-comic art style and a weird narrative flow, it’s a solid character piece.
After watching Lu Over the Wall, I felt that I was doing myself an injustice by not watching a Ghibli classic about a boy and a merchild. I wasn’t disappointed, it’s exceptionally animated. I can gush on forever on the quality of these animation cuts, which capture the innocent yet destructive energy of Ponyo, and that, sometimes, you don’t need a good script for a good film. I didn’t love every second of the film, but the duo’s chemistry kept the middle of the film really enjoyable, but I didn’t feel that energy near the tail-end as things got a bit dramatic. Nevertheless, it’s a really good Ghibli feature and it has plenty of rewatch value, just for those cuts of destructive yet delightful animation of Ponyo running through the water in a storm of an apocalyptic scale.
That’s it for this post. Thanks for reading through this short one.