Alt title: Twilight

Movie (1 ep x 52 min)
3.289 out of 5 from 470 votes
Rank #10,816

Koyama Sachi, a high school girl living in Iwaki City, Fukushima, has been deeply scarred by the Tohoku earthquake of 2011. Since it occurred, she's distanced herself from her friends and family, and shows no interest in people or romance. A violinist since childhood, she's a member of her school's music club and practices every day to prepare for the quartet performance at the school cultural festival. In the midst of all this, she meets Yuusuke, a boy who took refuge in Iwaki after his family was left unable to return home following the great quake, and the two begin to fall in love...

Source: Crunchyroll

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Yutaka Yamamoto’s 2019 teen-romance was produced by the studio he created for the project. He is known for several things including writing & directing some of “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya” (2006) for which he issued a personal apology for its notorious “Endless Eight Arc”. He has written, directed and created artwork for numerous other shows including “Kanon” (Kyoto Animation 2006) and “Air” (Kyoto Animation 2005). “Hakubo” was his first effort in the Producer’s chair. How did he do? When he finished the show he announced he would quit the animation business. Make of that what you will. The 52-minute one-off is a simple tale of teenage romance set against the backdrop of the nuclear shutdown at Fukushima after the 2011 earthquake. High School girl Sachi Koyama enjoys playing violin with her friends and long solitary walks in the countryside back to her bus stop on the journey home. The blurb for this short movie makes out that she has been “deeply scarred” by events in 2011 when she became a refugee. However, this is not really apparent in her personality and it is only the opinion of her family that those events changed her. She likes solitude but there is nothing unusual in that. On her long bus journey home, she spots a boy (Yuusuke Kijinami) her age who intrigues her yet she is not looking for romance. However, events take a twist one day when her turns up at her bus stop and asks for her help finding locations from where he can paint landscapes. She soon learns of his artistic nature, his refugee status and his love of music. They have a lot in common and romance in inevitable. Yet can she overcome her shyness to make it happen? She has a measure of insecurity about her growing fondness for him which is put to the test when he reveals a sketch of his first love. It is an uncomplicated story with little or no drama. Its simplicity is much of its charm. Lovers of Ghibli movies will find elements here that are familiar and occasionally the artwork rises to the challenge. It is full of lush landscapes and sunsets that bring an air of grandeur to the show. It is only really let down by some of the character animation. The close-ups of some of the female characters sometimes appear like poorly defined caricatures and similar quality problems manifest themselves when characters in background move to foreground. The jump in art style and quality is jarring. Other than these quality-control issues the show is occasionally delightful. It is undemanding and lacking the emotion of, say, “Garden of Words”. It just isn’t special enough to warrant further praise. It’s a boy-meets-girl story. That is it. Nothing more.

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