A year after losing her mother, a young girl learns that she must journey across Japan to the annual gathering of gods in the sacred land of Izumo.
A simple and okay watch. I expected more plot-wise because it could have been better but was not executed properly. The story, in a nutshell, is we have our main character Kanna, who's struggling emotionally since the death of her mother. She is dealing with grief and becomes a bit closed-off from her dad and starts having trouble with running (mainly self-doubt and blame caused by trauma) I always loved the dynamic of mixing modern elements with folklore in anime... and a lot of times it's done rather well. Take Studio Ghibli films for example... (though I hate comparing anime films to each other) the beauty in Ghibli films is that it has balance and the story flows very well... maintaining consistency with themes and characters. Somewhere along the line, this film started to lose its balance and consistency, almost like it wasn't there in the first place. The story is average at best and there wasn't anything special about the characters. The main theme of grief and loss wasn't as thought-out and sentimental as it should've been. And the characters all seemed thin... (personality where?) The animation was normal and a few scenes looked rather pretty, but even so, there was inconsistency in a lot of the shots. Though not terrible, nothing amazing. Overall, it's nothing special but I *would recommend it to anyone bored and looking for something new to watch.
We must get there quickly... but also as slow as possible. Not gonna lie, I fell asleep about 2/3 in and had to go back and rewatch it. It's an ok movie, but not that great. It's like a poor man's Spirated Away.
Ahhh...nothing like a slow journey despite a looming time limit. Perhaps the slow journey wouldn't have been as bad if they didn't use a montage to show some of it when they could have dedicated that time to character interaction, but even so it was easy to forget that they were even on a time limit. -- Plot A year after her elementary school student Kanna isn't sure whether or not she wants to keep running; a passion she had shared with her mother. Rather, she even has something of a trauma associated with it...so when she puts on her mother's amulet one day and finds out that her mother (and now her) have the blood of the Idaten God, she accepts the mission given to her by the Inaba minion in hopes that she can meet her mother at the end of it. Kanna is tasked with the Idaten's mission of collecting bounties of the land from various kami (Gods) at their respective shrines, called "chiso" offerings. She has to deliver all of the chiso to the Izumo shrine before 7pm for the yearly banquet of the kami, or bad things could happen. Sadly, the plot moves very slowly. The characters don't seem to "run" so much as they just "jog", though I can't truly fault them for that since an all out sprint isn't something found in distance running until it gets to the final stretch. Still, with the pacing, it was often easy to forget that there was a time deadline as Kanna and Shiro (with the addition of Yasha) very slooowwwlly make their way to the Izumo shrine. There's a sub-plot going on during this of Kanna reflecting about running, as well as negative feelings she has causing some weird black stuff to appear. While that stuff is eventually explained, it's weird that none of the characters ever noticed it until the climax. They tried to explain it away, but the given reason felt half-hearted. I nearly got bored a few times, and most of the points the movie is getting for the story/plot is due to it cleanly wrapping everything up and its premise. 5/10; it's average. -- Characters If you thought the plot was slow paced, the characters are even more so. It's often hard to figure out what Kanna is thinking since we are not privy to her inner thoughts. It would have been nice to have that, as she seems to be a mix of a traumatized and-or angry kid lashing out, one who hates to give up, and one who actually will just give up and run from her problems. The best word to describe her for 3/4 of the movie is "wishy-washy".An unreliable protagonist who is living in denial...what can possibly go wrong? The next major character is a servant of Inaba, who takes the form of "Shiro" (Kanna's favorite school rabbit) to help and guide her along the way of collecting the chiso. Shiro is very focused on their quest, but typically stays in its role as "helper" so it is hard to describe this character. The third major character is Yasha, an oni (demon) child who has a longstanding grudge against the Idaten and wants to become one. Not just his name, but his personality is similar to Inuyasha as he is gruff and a bit hot-headed. He's very focused on his goal, and has a clear vision of what he wants and how to achieve it...but will not sink to underhanded methods.His determination makes him a bit more likeable than our protagonist. If Yasha hadn't joined them on their trip, I probably would have stopped watching the movie as Kanna was too bland and Shiro didn't have much of a personality to begin with. Even now, writing this directly after watching the movie, I'm having trouble grasping at their personalities because they didn't leave enough of an impression on me. It also takes far too long for Kanna to actually confront her hidden feelings, which means that we have to deal with this wishy-washy kid for the majority of the movie. Though Yasha's presence saves the anime, his character type is also very predictable for the most part. The biggest issue slow-paced anime (and anime movies) encounters is winding up with characters which are about as interesting as wet cardboard; they have some movement to them, but in the end they're still cardboard. Sadly, this was predictable from start to finish, as are its characters. 4/10, and I feel I'm being generous with that. -- Sound & Animation The background music is great to hype up tension, particularly since this is such a slow paced movie that it needs all the help it can get to actually make sure its viewers are awake. The montages were a bit unwanted in this particular instance, but the music used was still very nice to listen to. In fact, the entire soundtrack was nice to listen to. For the voice actors, they did a good job in bringing their characters to life (Yasha) or helping a character to remain as interesting as stale bread (Kanna). The biggest issue with the sound was that there was a discrepancy between lulls and when something interesting happened on the screen. Whenever something started to happen and the BGM kicked in, suddenly the movie got about three times louder...and when it was all over with and we went back to the doldrums of the movie, it was sometimes difficult to hear the dialogue. I got used to the fluctuating sound by the end and merely cranked down the volume of my speakers; thankfully I was still able to hear the dialogue, and it was a good thing since the subtitles were not exactly spot-on. 7/10 Animation...was a bit awkward and weird in places. For the most part, it was good; it was very fluid and helped to give a sense of motion or movement despite the bland atmosphere of the actual movie. The art style doesn't take long to adjust to, and characters are easy to tell apart...though adults still have a very youthful appearance. But sometimes, it just felt very awkward to watch the animations...ironically, the running animations. I don't know if it was done on purpose, as Kanna's running form has been criticized by Yasha, but the way she runs just does not look or feel natural. It's mostly the way her arms move when she runs, and it actually makes me feel a bit weirded/creeped out; it was difficult to watch her run, which was a problem since running/jogging was a bit part of the anime. ...even though the characters still seemed to walk most of the time instead. Due to the sheer amount of times we had to watch Kanna run, that means that we got to see that awkwardness in the animation for a good chunk of the movie. Thus, I can't give the animation higher than a 6/10. -- Overall Meh. I mean, it was a movie? It's not very memorable or unique in any way, and was dull more often than not. For a feel good movie, it isn't as good as a couple others out there (even Seven Days War has more moments in it) and that's mostly due to a combination of the extremely slow pace and Kanna switching between moods faster than a child playing with a lightswitch. It wasn't until the ending when I really got that "feel good" moment, and most of it was actually spent being rather depressing and sad. The subtitles...that's something I don't usually mention, but I've seen better quality translations with fansubbers. I don't possess great knowledge of Japanese, but I can at least understand a good portion of it when it is enunciated. And oftentimes in this movie, the subtitles will make it seem like a character said something which actually was never said. It's often a minor thing, and at least the major plotpoints and character points are properly translated, but there's one scene where Kanna repeats saying "okaasan" (aka, "mother"/"mom"), and I guess the folks who subbed it were trying to break up the amount of times she said it because they tossed some other phrase in there (I don't recall exactly what it was). I don't mind creative liberties, but only where they apply. Translating another language is not one of the places where a subber should take creative liberties with the dialogue...unless they're just goofing around (look'n at you, Ghost Stories). One of the tags Netflix gives it is "gore"...it does not have any gore in it. I was worried when I saw that tag because Fullmetal Alchemist is about the limit of what I can stand when it comes to gore...but all this had was a tiny bit of blood. Like...cut-tiny. As in, there's more blood in (unedited) DBZ than there was in this. It should have just had a "blood" rating if they wanted to warn audiences who might be adverse to any sort of blood in anime; it certainly did not need a tag of "gore". It's been about half an hour or so since I finished watching the movie, and already it's all slipping through my fingers. It's a good waste of time or "sleepy day" movie, but beyond that it really doesn't have enough substance to imprint it into the viewer's mind; not the story, and not the characters. 5/10
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