We are born, we live, and we die. This is the inescapable cycle of life that every living being is a part of in the past, present, and future. Using bugs as a metaphor for life – both big and small – and a curious, cheerful protagonist that does not shy away from death, Dore Dore No Uta is a short music video for children that deals with a topic that not many of us want to think about.
Story: (2/10) The plot is non-existent, other than a girl's journey through the day-to-day life of bugs. They go to work, have children, those children grow up and have children, then they all die. But life goes on, and more bugs will continue the cycle all over again. And the girl will be there to see it.
Character: (3/10) The nameless girl happily sings and plays her guitar during the best and most heartbreaking times of life. Her curiosity about the world around her is best summarized by her favorite phrase: “let me see now.” She says it to everything she watches, from the sunlight to flowers blooming. She's there when the bugs are born and when they send their children to school, but she's also there when the bugs succumb to old age and die. “Under that far, faraway sky, someone lives and someone dies...even when tears overflow,” she sings in a snow-capped landscape full of lifeless bugs. She's the eternal observer and she couldn't be more pleased about it. While the music video succeeds in making her a somewhat likeable character with almost no personality, nothing else is known about her except her inquisitive mind and sunny disposition. The bugs themselves don't matter much as characters other than to emphasize the music video's overall message of accepting, and cherishing, life.
Animation: (2/10) The animation is, hands down, the worst part of this music video. The bugs are all ugly as hell, and the girl does not fare much better. The little color there is in this video looks all washed out – most of the characters only have one part of their body with any color. The girl's face, clothing and her guitar are plainly drawn, almost to the point of becoming a stick figure. Movement is awkward and extremely choppy. Almost no attention was paid to backgrounds, and even many scenes have them entirely absent (only a white screen). The prettiest scene is when the girl strolls through a field of flowers, but even that looks dull and lifeless if compared to the animation of other Ghibli works.
Sound: (7/10) The song itself is nice and quite catchy and there's a very relaxing acoustic guitar playing along with the singer. The lyrics aren't remarkable, but manage to convey the music video's theme well.
Overall: (3.5/10) Unless you're a die-hard Studio Ghibli fanatic that needs to see everything made by them, or have young children that you want to explain the concept of death to in a non-scary way, then you might as well skip this. It's a cute song, but it's nothing memorable.