Brave Story

Movie (1 ep x 112 min)
3.736 out of 5 from 2,787 votes
Rank #2,811

One day, the young Wataru decided to visit a haunted building in search of a ghost, but ended up meeting a boy by the name of Mitsuru instead. He has the ability to use magic, and tells Wataru about another world where the wondrous Goddess of Destiny lives – a goddess who can grant any wish. The next day, Wataru returns home only to discover that his parents are getting a divorce, and subsequently, his mother ends up in the hospital in critical condition. In an attempt to fix his family, Wataru goes back to the building and sets off on a journey to the magical world in order to gather five jewels, and ultimately, to gain an audience with the Goddess of Destiny...

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If I had to sum up this movie, I'd say thus:  A series of events with no logic what-so-ever to them.  I expected, from the summary, it to be a movie about a kid learning to be brave (going from being a coward who runs away from everything to learning to confront things), and...well, it sort of did?  But at the same time, not really. -- Story Grade-schooler Wataru comes home one day to find out that his father is leaving them due to a divorce between Wataru's parents.  As Wataru is trying to make sense of all of it, he meets a strange boy who is somehow able to use magical powers and leaves to the doorway of another world to "change his fate". When Wataru comes back home, he finds his mother has collapsed due to some unknown reason as the movie never deigned to tell us.  Intent on saving his mother, Wataru ventures through the door and is dubbed an Apprentice Hero who has to gather five gems (though he was given the first one) if he wants to make a wish of the Goddess of Destiny. So starts Wataru's journey through the strange world called Vision. The premise sounds good, but there were many times when I was left scratching my head because something wasn't properly explained in the movie.  However, the biggest sin is that there was barely any sort of adventure for Wataru shown.  We saw him collect one or two gems, and then the other couple were a montage, I think?  I honestly lost track of which were gems which went into his sword and what was just an orb; the movie was not very good with that. The story initially went from "beginning of a journey" to "stop some evil empire from invading" and then to "fight demons".  In other words, it was all over the place and didn't seem to have a steady antagonist.  The message is also a bit wonky and contradictory considering the sort of ending we got; the message of "you have to accept the good with the bad" and all, which was the message from the start. Good premise, but the storytelling felt all over the place many times, so I can't give it higher than a 3 out of 10. -- Characters ...are...present?  I mean, there are characters, but none of them came across as being very strong to lead the movie or keep things going. Wataru is a typical kid, though supposedly not very brave, who then musters his courage to go on a journey in another world to try and save his mother.  He is very friendly and has a good sense of right versus wrong, and quickly makes some friends in that other world. Then, there's Mitsuru...who is the complete opposite of Wataru.  He is often "chill" and cold; he'll do whatever it takes to gather the five gems and make his wish to change his fate, even if that means killing animals and people. There are some characters Wataru meets in Vision who travel with him: from Neema the cat-girl whom I believe is searching for her parents, to Kee Keema the water lizard person who is an excitable traveling supplier/merchant.  They occasionally do things, but don't really get "center stage" enough for the audience to really get to know them or care for them outside of "Wataru's friends". Wataru is the "strongest" character, and while it's nice that he shows development, he just sort of bumbles along for the duration of the movie.  Most of the time when he uses any skills from his sword it seems like it's almost an accident (yes, every single time).  It would have been nicer to get Mitsuru's backstory a little earlier, or in the very least bits and pieces of it so that the audience can better understand his motivations since he becomes someone Wataru chases after. In the end, the characters really were not that impressive; about on average for the protagonist and other characters only being "side characters" and only feeling like they are there to help pad the movie.  I didn't particularly feel connected to any of the characters (save perhaps the cute baby dragon). 4/10...and that's only because Wataru actually grows as a character.  Otherwise, I would have rated it a lot lower. -- Sound & Animation I honestly don't remember anything noteworthy in the soundtrack.  However, what I do remember is that the music and ambient volumes were so high that I often had difficulty hearing the characters when they spoke.  And if I turned up the volume to hear the speech, then my ears got blasted by the super high volume of the BGM. That balance was off for the entire dang movie, and I honesly nearly stopped watching it within the first ten minutes because of that.  Eventually, I just turned the volume down and relied on the subtitles to let me know what was going on. From what I did hear, the voice acting was about average.  It wasn't anything exceptional, and the only one I really got emotion from with the voice acting was Wataru's VA. The sound was way too loud, and the voices were too soft.  None of the voice actors left any impression on me, and the movie theme song wasn't too impressive either.  3/10 The animation...this is a difficult one.  The movie is from 2006, so I went into it knowing that the quality would be about on par with anime from that time period.  Having grown up in the 90's, I'm no stranger to lower quality anime; heck, I was re-watching Digimon 02 recently, which is not made for HD monitors/TVs, and could still very clearly see what was going on. Thus, saying "it's old" is no excuse for the piss poor quality this movie was in.  I could barely even see what was going on when the movie wasn't even fullscreened, which indicated a problem beyond just the pixels as I have been able to semi-fullscreen old 90's anime with no issues in seeing what is happening on the screen. For something like that, due to perhaps there being a better quality version and someone just decided to lazily upload the worst quality available (I still don't understand why that occurs; in today's day and age, even 480p shouldn't even be a thing), I'll cut it some slack for that, but not too much. But what compounds that bad quality is that it's often difficult to tell what's going on when there's a fight scene; the characters are often tiny compared to their surroundings, or there is a lot of either flashing light (which did give me a headache, so definitely a warning to photosensitive folks) or other effects which obscured things to the point where I wasn't sure what exactly was happening. The demons, for example, looked like a giant black mass and had no real definition unless one broke away from the pack.  Though I believe they were somewhat supposed to appear that way, when I paused the movie I could see that it looked like there was supposed to be more definition given to them. Even worse was that CGI was used, and it wasn't good.  The CGI was a bit awkward and clunky, and though not the worst CGI I've seen, still stood out rather than blended in. And don't get me started on the scenes at night or in dark places.  I started dreading those because the contrast made it difficult to see what was on the screen to the point where I even gave up a couple times in identifying what exactly was on the screen.  Even now, my memory is insisting that there were just blurred shapes during those parts rather than actual characters. The animation was not impressive; from obvious CGI to sloppy action scenes, and especially any incident which occurred at night or in dark locations.  4/10 -- Overall The movie was about on average and left me with more questions than answers. Did Meena ever find her parents?  How did she get separated from them to begin with?What exactly happened with Mitsuru and his sister?  How was that ending even possible?  Who exactly was that frog person?  How did Mitsuru find the gate in the first place?  Who sealed the demons?How many gems are actually in that world, considering that Mitsuru and Wataru collected some different ones? There are exactly zero answers to any of those questions, plus more.  The only one who has to come to terms with accepting his fate is honestly just Wataru.  It would have been better with its theme if other characters had to come to terms with the hand they were dealt, including ones in Vision. Speaking of, while I don't expect a full lore dump in a movie, I still expect some sort of explanation.  This movie didn't really have any.  The denizens were aware of humans from another realm (called "travelers"), but we never learned of anyone else's journey despite hearing (from Kee Keema, mostly) that there had been plenty of other travelers. Even on a level of "it's magic, don't question it" or with the mindset of a child, things still didn't make enough sense...particularly since the themes in this movie are certainly not ones for children (under the age of 11 or 12, at least) considering it has murder, minor abuse, violence, blood, and death in it. Yet another forgetable anime movie.  I think this would have worked better as a series rather than a movie, since the movie (particularly it being only a little over an hour in runtime) had to squash all the concepts together which meant that nothing was every truly explained. By the end, I just sort of tried to sit back and enjoy the confusing ride as I lost track of how many times I wondered "Huh?" aloud...when I was able to squint at the screen and tilt my head at just the right angle so that I could see what was going on, that is. Probably best to just skip this movie; 3/10, nothing to see here unless you want to laugh at how bad the pacing is.

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