This review contains soft spoilers (and spelling/grammar mistakes :P maybe).
Lately I find the films that animation studios create disappointing, they waste resources in creating empty, meaningless and forgettable works, that they're visually beautiful doesn't change anything because they don't contribute anything to the industry or to the consumers. This work is just one more and as such I will forget about it and of course I won't recommend it, not that I expect all the anime films I consume to have the narrative quality of Studio Ghibli, far from it, but if there's a team behind it I expect them to be at least competent when it comes to putting together a story with sense and coherence.
The main idea seems good to me, but the development of it isn't, without touching the fantasy elements (which btw have been used terribly bad) it would have been much more correct if it had been a story mainly about survival and that this point wouldn't have been a fleeting resort. It would also have been correct for each character to overcome their traumas/problems thanks to "the power of friendship", that would have given these characters a development and an evolution but no, here we have 2 hours of flat children's characters who simply exist, cry and complain (I had to pause the film several times because I got saturated).
I'm not going to try to fix this nonsense anyway.
I have nothing to say about the animation, is good and consistent, although it doesn't stand out, it's in line with what is currently available in similar productions.
I honestly don't remember the soundtrack and I've only just seen the film.
The voices were of excellent quality (Kana Hanazawa, Mutsumi Tamura, Asami Setō, Ayumu Murase, Inori Minase, Nana Mizuki, Yumiko Kobayashi, Bin Shimada and Daiki Yamashita), I feel sorry for the cast for having to do this job, I hope they have been well paid.
The characters are flat, boring, undeveloped with unbearable and overwhelming conversations. I think choosing teenagers instead of children would have made the drama better. If we put ourselves in reasonable and logical mode, children in that situation would have cried all the time, but dedicating a 2-hour film to them seems ill-advised to me precisely for that reason xd leisure is there to entertain, not to bore or saturate viewers. Btw, Reina's character is horrible, I can understand the stress, overwhelm and anxiety after the events but before that she's unbearable and deserves a slap (or several) to stop being so inconsiderate, selfish and hurtful to others.
In short, I personally don't recommend watching this, it's too many hours wasted and there are other films that are more worthwhile (I have recommendations in my profile if you're interested).
What a mess. I'm usually very easy to move to tears, but this movie did absolutely nothing for me...probably because the protagonists (look'n at you, Natsume) spent about 90% of the movie moping. It got very old, very fast.
While the concept was good, the execution was far from it.
When investigating his old house for the "ghost kid", spurred on by a friend, Kosuke bumps into childhood friend Natsume who is taking a nap in the condemned building. After the two get into an argument which nearly leads Natsume to falling off the roof because of the world's dumbest game of keep-away, a sudden downpour drowns out visibility and the kids find themselves in the middle of an ocean when they can see again, which the building is somehow floating on.
Things get even weirder as a strange boy with practically zero personality, named "Noppo", shows up and joins up with their group due to Natsume.
From there, the group (or more like Kosuke) tries to figure out how to get back home and how they even got there while squabbling amongst themselves (Reina), being antisocial (Kosuke), and bemoaning the situation (Natsume).
There was actually very little time spent on the kids trying to legit figure anything out. The only one who was even interested in attempting to understand their situation was Kosuke, and it rarley led to any sort of lead or information.
While it seems the story is one about reconcilation as well as letting go of the past, it takes the movie way too long to arrive at that point. Not even halfway through, audiences will figure out what is going on and why things are happening, as well as the general theme it seems to be trying to convey. However, Natsume has to be the worst protagonist to try to propel things forward as she's constantly living in the past.
By the time the story starts to actually reveal things, it's more of an eye-roll to the audience...and don't get me started on the personification of a certain thing which shows up so randomly near the end that I burst out laughing at the sheer absurdity of it.
The idea was good, but even two hours wasn't enough to make it interesting as it dragged on and felt like it was trying to have multiple themes (buildings with souls, reconcilation, and letting go of the past) at the same time and did not manage to combine them properly. 4/10
...should all just sink into the ocean because they range from stereotypical to annoying.
Let's start with the protagonist, Natsume. She mopes around and doesn't want to see the building she grew up in destroyed, so she visits the building without telling anyone (and even camps there). She's pretty much depressed and sad for nearly the entire freaking movie, and just when it seems like she might be improving she then goes back to zero.
Honestly, I don't think they could have chosen a worse protagonist if they tried. I'm all for a good dose of angst, but hers was constant. It brought the mood down all the time, and made it hard to enjoy the movie...not to mention that the cause of her whinging was due to some joking offhand comment which she ran away from in the first place instead of confronting.
Kosuke is the next lead, and at first comes across as a rather cold and unsocial kid. He worries about Natsume, but she can't seem to realize that (leading to even more frustration for not just him, but the audience), and is the only one who actually takes their situation seriously.
Then there's the reason they got in the mess in the first place, Taishi. He's probably the character with the most personality, and he's still just the one-dimensional "goggle boy" type character. You know...the moodsetter. If he wasn't in the anime, they might as well have used dull monochrome colors because he typically was the one to bring a splash of life into it.
Yuzuru is a soccer teammate, and friend, of Kosuke and Taishi. He's the "big guy with a heart of gold" trope...
...and oh, does Reina needs to shut up. She's the epitome of the "spoiled rich girl"; whining about every little thing and constantly blaming Natsume whenever something goes wrong (so...pretty much the entire movie). If it's not Kosuke and Natsume clashing, Reina can be found in the middle of every single petty and childish argument. She wants to go home, but never attempts to help figure out a way how.
Juri is the tension-breaker, and often attempts to break up arguments. She's Reina's friend (no clue how, as their personalities are different), and just the "all around nice person".
Then, there's the mysterious Noppo who barely talks and always has a blank look on his face. Cardboard might have been more interesting. What they attempted with his character could have been awesome, but was more bland than unsalted, unflavored oatmeal.
I was rarely interested in the characters, Natsume's sulking and whinging grated on my nerves, and there was almost zero character growth until the very end. 2/10...for potential.
I have no complaints with the music and animation. The character movements were fluid, and the music often was used to montage things happening.
That said, it's two hours of my life I'm not getting back. This was...not good.
I can't really get into what made it so terrible, concept/story wise, without going into spoiler territory. But, I stand by what I said that it was a good concept on paper but it did not translate well to the actual movie.
The characters were really what killed the movie. When I wasn't annoyed at Natsume for dragging her feet over every little thing, I was annoyed at Reina for being unbearable. When I wasn't annoyed at her, I was annoyed at Kosuke for being abrasive instead of honest...and when I wasn't annoyed at all of them, I was annoyed at Noppo for obviously having knowledge of the situation but hiding it.
So basically, I spent most of the movie annoyed at the characters. I understand that they're kids (5th grade, I believe), but I've seen plenty of anime with children that age as protagonists and even they weren't as cringe as this group was.
It was almost like watching a teenage romance: You vaguely know how they're going to screw up and what they're going to say (or not say) to do so, and then it's like watching a train wreck as those things come to pass and the characters spend more time than they should acting stupid.
Again, two hours of my life I'm not getting back. I nearly wasn't able to finish watching it, and certainly when a certain soul showed up I completely lost it and started howling with laughter even though it was not a funny situation at all; it was that bad. Random character shows up and then disappears as I guess they attempted to make Reina have a redeemable personality.
Spare me. This was a trainwreck from start to finish, and there's still no answer as to what that weird stuff was at the bottom of the ocean (or why a couple characters didn't die in a certain scene). It would have been better if it focused more on the souls of the buildings and the memories surrounding them rather than...well, whatever this absolute mess was.
Part of me wants to rate this lower, but I'll be nice and give it a 4.5 out of 10 because, hey...it tried.
What if buildings had souls? This is the intriguing premise behind Studio Colorido’s 2022 supernatural teen-drama. If you loved “Penguin Highway” (2018) and “A Whisker Away” (2020) then you are on for a safe bet with this, the same studio’s third feature length movie. However, what should have been an enjoyable romp evolved into a mini-saga. It really struggles to get to the point. Why? Let’s explain. First, the story: (this may be a bit of a spoiler but not much of one) Noppo is an anthropomorphised teen-ghost that occupies an old apartment building scheduled for demolition. He is, essentially, the building’s ghost and it long overdue for his journey to the afterlife. He befriends a girl, Natsume Tonai, who used to live in one of the apartments and now returns to reminisce about her time there. The building holds happy memories for her. It was here she grew up with her best friend Kousuke Kumagaya and his grandfather, after her parent’s marriage breakup. She is having problems letting go of this happy past and now she feels she has nowhere to belong. Between this, and a heavy dose of teenage guilt, she has stopped talking to Kousoke - much to his frustration. On summer break he and his friends head over to the old building to go on a “ghost hunt” (hint hint) and come across Natsume. An argument breaks out between them and in the ensuing fight the whole apartment building is sucked to a remote ocean world far from land. They are literally adrift at sea… Where are they, why are they there and how will they get home?
The movie is gorgeous to watch and there are fair few moments that remind you of the magic of “Penguin Highway”. Unfortunately, it is spoilt by the way the middle-act is padded out unnecessarily. The script drifts (if you pardon the pun) from magical-teen-adventure genre into gritty-survival-nightmare. Things get pretty grim for these kids – nasty even. To make things worse they spend a lot of time shouting at each other and blaming poor Natsume for their woes. She plods around feeling sorry for herself and apologizing to everyone in a fashion that grows irritating for the audience. The story finally builds to what seems like a climax – but then isn’t – and after several false starts the story finally reaches a conclusion. Then, for want of something more profound to happen, the kids magically get whisked home. There are several characters in the cast who have no specific function in the plot. They have no back story and might as well not be in the movie at all. The audience is pretty clued up as to the nature of the coming-of-age drama unfolding between Natsume and Kousuke but boy does “Drifting Home” drag this one plot element out for way too long. It isn’t sophisticated enough and doesn’t carry enough emotional weight in its delivery. The story is only held together by its fine visuals and relentless action. This, all-told, was still a likeable film. It could have benefited from much tighter story-editing yet it still manages to get its central idea over the finishing line. It is chock full of ideas – maybe enough for two movies. Despite its obvious flaws most audiences will enjoy this. We did.
Kept putting this one off even though I was very excited to watch it when I first saw the PV.
Long story short, the concept was good, and the themes were there, but they tried to do way too much and ended up with poor execution (aka a big mess). Not everyone can do fantasy mixed with modern elements as well as studio ghibli... in a way that's consistent and balanced, that is. They could've explored more in-depth either the fantasy aspect or the 'survival/dealing with trauma aspect', that way the characters would've been more 3 dimensional instead of flat and annoying... (I'm looking at you Natsume).
Yes, there were some moments that were enjoyable but there's only so much crying and stupidity I can take. Did I shed a tear in the end? yes, but it was for Noppo aka best boy, I would sacrifice a thousand Natsume for him <3
3S Review no. 66 (short, simple and salty/sweet/spicy)
How to waste two hours of your life.
Step 1: watch this movie.
Thank you for coming to my TED talk.
I didn’t mind the start of the movie, it could have been a nice young drama yet the moment that I thought it might be good, it was the exact moment it went to shit. Took a deep dive straight to the nonsensical wanne be mature and allegorical writing full of shit pool. It’s fine, wanna make something metaphorical, do it, wanna make something supernatural fine, but making this kind of shit, that everything happens just for the sake of happening, completely disregarding the viewer is just writing bullshittery at its finest. Writer just do as he pleases, and yeah, you can cynically say that in the end, every work is the writer doing that, and you are right, except that is what happens in all works, not the great ones. You never see the writer, you only see the characters moving the story, not the writer pushing it like a broken car on the highway. Everything happens just to happen, without consistency whatever, so you come to expect nothing, you come to worry about nothing, you realize there are no stakes, just writing nonsense, so you end up not caring about the story.
Same goes for the characters, but who am I kidding, what characters, show only cares about the main two, the rest are mascots, with Reina being the annoying type of mascot of course. You do not really care about them, and even if you take them at face value, why the fuck is this even happening, they don’t act like kids, they act like stereotypically annoying kids that fight over a toy like they are 4 years old. The rest of them just got dragged along, they had nothing to gain out of it, just collateral damage I guess, why, cause if all the writer did was exploring the relationship of the main duo using his utmost brilliance, show would last like a couple of minutes.
Animation is very good though, the feeling, the scenery, everything is well made.
Same goes for the music, very good job. Voice acting is stellar as well. It is such a same really that this kind of production values were wasted on this writing crap.
So, is it worth a watch? No, definitely not. Great picture and sound can’t salvage this boring nonsensical story that should have never existed in the first place, never mind dragging on for two hours on top of that.