I recently visited my local library to renew my card and decided to browse the DVDs to see if there was anything good. I was in luck because I found a couple of movies that I have wanted to watch!
Fireworks / 打ち上げ花火、下から見るか? 横から見るか? has the same producer of the amazing Your Name which I loved, so I had high expectations for it. Unfortunately, the story was confusing and not very interesting. The animation was excellent, however, so it wasn’t difficult to keep watching. The little scenes of life around the sea-town were absolutely gorgeous. It was a shame though that the time-travel aspect was too difficult to follow otherwise it could have been great.
My rating for Fireworks: 6.5/10
On the other hand, A Silent Voice / 映画 聲の形 was excellent, with a compelling storyline, interesting characters with complex relationships and several thought-provoking messages. The animation was also good, although not as crisp or vibrant as Fireworks. But the film held my attention throughout the entire movie and I would love to see a sequel that continued the characters’ story arcs. I wonder if something is in the works…
My friend and I went to a special showing (only two nights here!) of Okko’s Inn, a Japanese anime directed by Kitaro Kosaka (formerly of Studio Ghibli). The film was awesome! Both my friend and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
********* SPOILER ALERT *********
I had a special interest in the animation and character style, but the story itself blew me away. It was funny, sad, smart, uplifting, and engaging. I especially loved when the character Matsuki would pull out quotes from historical figures. Hilarious! 😆
There were so many elements of the film that I found interesting: the onsen town setting, kaiseki food, the supernatural, and traditional rituals. And the animation was so well-done. The scene where Okko slips on the tatami was great! If you’ve ever felt how slick a tatami mat can be, you’ll know what I mean. It was captured perfectly.
I also liked the fact that there were no overt antagonists in the story. I was expecting Okko’s grandmother or Matsuki to play that role. Although Matsuki started as a rival, she had noble intentions and wasn’t inherently nasty. The lack of any enemies reminded me of Kiki’s Delivery Service or My Neighbor Totoro in that respect. I really appreciate stories like that, especially if they can keep you engaged.
I enjoyed Okko’s Inn even more than some Ghibli movies, like Ponyo, Kaguya, and Arrietty. When I left the theater after seeing those, I felt that I had watched good movies but wasn’t overly excited, but after Okko’s Inn ended, I was pretty stoked, and thought that I’ll definitely need to own the Blu-ray version!
If you didn’t see Okko’s Inn during the special engagement, look for it on video later. It’ll be well worth your time.
This year I’ve started having a lot more “screentime” due to the fact that I have a Moviepass (which is awesome!), but I am also trying to watch more dorama, anime, and other Japanese TV. Actually, almost all the tv I watch is on TV Japan since I am a Japanophile, and I love some of the documentary and travel programs.
Anyways, here’s what on my watch list at the moment:
Segodon (Taiga) – Really good historical drama. I like most of the actors in it, plus my celebrity crush Kitagawa Keiko has a part.