This movie had a great setting and potential but it bit off too much. It was a slight disappointment compared Shinkais earlier stuff. It tries to be a Ghibli movie but it just can't get there, even tho its visuals make Ghibli pale in comparison. The combination of visuals and sound in this movie are stunning, and alone, make this movie worth watching.
There was little to no character development; only one character changes its mind during the whole film. All of the characters are given one simple purpose and role, and they play it from start to finish with no questions asked. This made the story hard to approach and adding in the unnecessary narrative explanation, it didn't feel personal. I just couldnt get attached to any of the characters. The story as a whole, including characters, was put in a really interesting setting, a great deal of work was obviously put into it. Lots of mythical, historical and philosophical elements played a part. However, the characters downplayed it so much that it didn't feel close to as grand as it was. It was just presented the wrong way.
In the end, this movie didn't make me feel like I wasted my time on it. I thoroughly enjoyed it, even if it was more for the visuals and the soundtrack than the actual story. Many great and awesome ideas came together for this piece, and even having a lackluster plot, it kind of sets my imagination flying because of the setting and the historical references. Its definitely a good movie and worth a watch.
Warning this Review May Contain Spoilers-
So starting this review, I personally found this movie quite boring after a while and pretty confusing overall. I didn't find it all that interesting and I found it rather long, I don't feel like the story progressed as much as I would of hoped it would. I guess if you like all the slow-paced movies which do develop slowly over a long period of time, you probably would enjoy this. It was just too long for not enough story for me, I also know people will disagree but I prefer fantasy which aren't slow paced. The other thing is by about halfway in, I got lost...I was really confused and I didn't know which way the story was heading. The animation, it is very similar to the style in movies such as 5cm per second , following this I like the animation but I don't love it....that might confuse you a bit. But to me it isn't a personal favourite in animation.
The sound was average, maybe just over. I watched this show in dub so my thoughts may be different to some but it wasn't the worst dub but it wasn't the best. It was alright. Some parts in the movie had soundtracks but they weren't as good as some I have listened to previously. Maybe this affected how I viewed the movie once I finished it. The characters, we one minute there was one group then they move on just like anything but I just felt with the story it was just long, the character development I mean.
Overal this movie was average, I personally didn't like it much and if you compare my thoughts to other who have watched it, there might be quite a bit difference in opinion. This ends this review, thank you for reading.
Children Who Chase Lost Voices is another movie by Makoto Shinkai and thus I went into it expecting good things, and I’m glad to say the movie doesn’t disappointed, but then that also depends a lot on the viewer.
The story is set around a young girl who goes by the name of Asuna, who has recently suffered the loss of her father and has grown up quickly because of it. When not at school or doing a few chores around the house Asuna can be found at her clubhouse on the nearby mountain with her odd cat like creature, Mimi. One day Asuna comes across an odd boy called Shun who explains he’s from a different country which goes by the name of Agartha, unknown to Asuna at the time, she would be seeing a lot of Agartha in the coming future. As the story goes on we see the death of Shun which leads Asuna to get talking to a substitute teacher at her school who seems to know a lot about Agartha. He explains that Agartha is a world far under the ground; the world of life and death and that he, Ryuji, has his own reasons for going to this world. As the story continues Asuna meets Shun’s brother, Shin, and along with Ryuji, and Mimi the cat she ends up in Agartha heading towards the door of life and death so Ryuji can bring his dead wife back to life. As the story goes on the group suffers losses, fun and sad times, but overall it’s a colourful and pretty adventure, if not hinting towards a darker undertone that not everyone will pick up on.
You could argue that in terms of animation the movie is a joy to watch, but that isn’t completely true. Children Who Chase Lost Voices only seems to come into its own once Asuna reaches Agartha, which is such a pretty and vibrant world to look at. It’s the kind of place our younger selves dream of and wish to live in. While Children Who Chase Lost Voices is lovely throughout for its animation, it really does jump to new heights once we reach Agartha. That said, the movie doesn’t actually have much of an art style of its own, and anyone who has ever watched a few Studio Ghibli movies in the past will quickly realize that Children Who Chase Lost Voices doesn’t look all that different, even in its character designs. That said, while I would have liked to have seen it do its own thing, I don’t mind all that much that it went for a Studio Ghibli style because it pulls it off almost perfectly.
As far as the movie’s soundtrack goes, I can’t honestly fault it. Every piece of music seems to fit the scene, but that said, the more cheerful tracks to the movie sit better than the dramatics. But then, that seems to be the movie full stop; the more light hearted stuff is more powerful than the dramatics.
In terms of the characters themselves some are very much likeable and show real growth as the story goes on, and some just don’t. Sadly, Asuna falls into the latter comment. While Ryuji seems to grow throughout this trip (and quickly becomes somewhat of a father figure to Asuna), Asuna seems nothing more than just someone for us to view the whole adventure through. There really doesn’t seem to be much emotion to her and she seems to just get on with things, even when Shun dies, it’s a long time before we see any real emotion over the event. The rest of the characters, however, are strong enough to more than make up for Asuna.
The movie really does seem to rely on the theme of life and death running through it more than it does anything else. The viewer must decide if the actions of Ryuji are correct, and if you’d act the same put in his shoes. Personally though, I feel like the movie also teaches an important lesson for anyone who has every lost a loved one, in that you can’t get consumed by the fact you’ll never see them again. You have to move on and find happiness in other ways, always remember them, but always keep on living too. Even if you could obtain the power to bring someone back from the dead, it isn’t to say that is the correct path.
When it comes down to it, how much you care for Children Who Chase Lost Voices will depend on how much you yourself have been through in life. Those who have never lost anyone they care about likely won’t read much into the plot, but those that have will find a much deeper meaning under the surface. It’s an enjoyable enough movie either way, but some will pass it off as not being deep enough because it can seem like a very light-hearted story if you don’t read too much into it.
If you are familiar with Shinkai Makoto's work, Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo shares many elements common to his previous films. His tendency to use comparatively flat characters set in a stunningly rendered world; a story about the ephemeral connections between humans; and a gentle, non-invasive, soundtrack are all well represented here. The level of polish in this film seems evident of Shinkai's maturing talent as a story-teller in the medium of animation, and reminds me of some of the best works from Ghibli.
In particular, I was encouraged that in comparison to his last two films (Kumo no Mukou, Yakusoku no Bashou and Byousoku 5 Centimeter), Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo does not rely on narration as a means of expressing the thoughts and feelings of his protagonists. As much as I enjoyed those films, it is difficult in the best of circumstances to properly translate feelings into one language. Their re-translation into english left me thinking that I was listening to particularly emo livejournal entries at times. The only place I felt this failed him was in establishing the depth of the relationship between Asuna and Morisaki.
I won't be providing a synopsis. I am a firm believer that the story is far less important than how it is told. I will say that in contrast to what I expected, this is very much in the genre of adventure movies. The themes of love and loss are still present, but their emphasis in the film overall was far more subtle than I had anticipated. While I think that it made the film more entertaining than his previous works, I must admit that upon reaching the end of Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo I did not feel the emotional rawness that Shinkai's previous works have left me with, and I find that I miss it.
Children Who Chase Lost Voices is a stunning visual theatrical experience by Makoto Shinkai himself, in which i absolutely asdore his movies. From there, you must wonder why then i rated this movie so low; well that is because it is a Makoto Shinkai movie. As stated while i was watching the movie, Shinkai should not write movies for they make no sense (excluding 5 Centimeters Per Second).
Shinkai cannot write stories correct me if im wrong but i'd be more amazed if you saw one of his movies and understood it. The problem with it is that it jumps a round too often and does not give enough scenario for us to start to lie the charcters we were provided. Not to mention after the teacher was introduced it felt as though they were making things up as they went along similar to Samurai Flamenco. Throughout the movie i kept getting all these hints that they were ripping off old Ghibli movies over and over again, mainly Laputa.
Animation wise, he is a genuius almost on par with Mamoru Hosoda's backgrounds with the action scenes looking fluid and that sky i tell you. When i started to doubt the show i saw that animation and went Shinkai i forgive you everytime. However it had problems with the key framing being in consistent with one frame she threw Mimi off the table and the next frame Mimi is on her head whoch was very odd.
The sound was ok, when i go back to think about it the only song i can vaguely remember is the ending song but that doesnt do well for the show seeing as though that was a terrible song. I did not watch the jap dub so i cant say much but this was a Sentai dub its kind of a given it would be bad which i was fine with except one part in the movie where the wife spoke incorrect English (where they showed a flashback of him sick) that was the only dubbed part i had a problem with.
The characters, frainkly i believe i should make this score lower but i forgive it a bit only because of Mimi. Yes Mimi, that cat god thingy was the best thing in the movie but was at a fault due to poor key animation, charcterization, and plot device (similar to Ai from Kyoukai no Kanata). The other charatcers had similar problems with not enough charcterization i mean look at it they expect you to believe it took that long to figure out you cant get what you work for and they show a flashback montage so you understand what she wants but my god those charcters were like filler to us in the first like 10 minutes of the show it felt like that part was uneeded and if that is true then there was no reason for her to go to Agartha. There actually was no reason throughout the entire movie she was just dragged around and did nothing. Yes she saved a girl but that part made no sense i mean wh the heck did they not save the girl themselves if they knew where she was taken and wanted her back. moving to the girl i thought she couldnt speak why was she making so much noise and her father why isn't he hated he freaking married a topsider. The man what was his deal i saw no reason for him to have smothed over throughout the movie due to poor charaterization and we still dont understand his back story. With Shin he lived in a completely different village the was exiled but there was no reason for hm t be because he sopped the crisis he could have just taken the crystal then go back to his old village i mean its not like they knew what was going on and he could say he was protecting the topsiders because they willingly left and gave back the crystal yet he just went. where could he go as shown before if they were in the wild they wouldnt survive so why didnt he return home. The monsters that crept in the shadows how did they exist if they hated water and te light then when the sun came out just like at the end they should have all died instataniously. Not to mention Shin and Shun kept acting like a Haku wannabe from Spirited Away.
Im going to end this here because i know i would continue if i dont with the rant on the charaters frankily if you like the animation, watch it, for any other reason avoid this feature at all cost
and yes throughout the movie i was laughing at how much sense it made