Hal is a one hour movie about a robot made to become human to comfort a girl, Kurumi, for the loss of her boyfriend. The girl's grandfather, unable to go on seeing her suffering and shutting everyone out, decides to make his robot an exact replica of Hal, the deceased boyfriend - hoping that all this will, in some weird way, relieve her of her pain.
The visuals are lovely: the colours and drawings and the blending of traditional and CG animation all give life to something that's extremely pleasing to watch. I also think the music fits well with what's being narrated. And the voice acting, too, striked me as well done.
As for the story and characters, that's where I gave this anime lower marks. Even if I'm not exactly sure why I feel the anime is so lacking in these aspects. The characters are likeable enough;both Robot-Hal and Kurumi are sweet. And the story, even though simple, is a good one. There's a plot twist that you don't see coming and quite a few flashbacks to give you some insight in Hal and Kurumi's relationship. There isn't obviously time to develop the characters much, but it's kind of funny and amusing to see how Robot-Hal asks questions about the real Hal and how he tries to make sense of human feelings and relations.
So what's missing? I don't know. I am aware that in a review you should motivate. But I just feel that something important is lacking and whatever it is subtracts something fundamental from the overall value of the anime. Why should an android replica of a dead person help those who stay behind feel better? That's the first flaw I can think of. Just recently I saw a similar concept carried out in a British tv series, Black Mirror, but in that case predictably enough the woman after a short while started being revulsed by the fake replica of her partner and the comfort she had initially found was replaced by an even greater pain. In this anime however they seem to hint that Robot-Hal becomes human - but you can't even start wondering at the implications of that (and as a matter of fact there is no mention of this topic in the anime) because that isn't how it is. So in the end maybe the anime deals with the grief for the loss of a dear person and how to overcome it. But that final plot twist I mentioned earlier makes it also difficult to justify this kind of interpretation. The only thing that I thought was a significant clue as to what the creators of the anime were getting at was when the grandfather says that in his opinion dead people don't go anywhere but stay with you and then he adds that he often talks to them about the most mundane things: how delicious a meal is, how hot a day is; save for the fact that he is made to notice that that is exactly like talking to oneself. It's a bit lame.
Maybe I just don't get what message they wanted to get through.
You know the surefire way for an anime to win its way to my heart? Have a bittersweet love story that makes me cry. Well, apparently the creators of HAL know me all too well.
How do you cope with the loss of someone you spent every waking moment with? After the death of her boyfriend, Kurumi holed herself up in her house. Not wanting to see her suffer anymore, her grandfather decides to get her a robot that looks exactly like Hal. Reluctant at first, the girl slowly opens up her heart. When reading the synopsis I didn’t really know what this movie would be going for. Is it going to be a kind of impossible love story between android and human? Is it going to address how people can/can’t simply be replaced? In the end HAL turned out to be a story about learning how to move on. The movie has its fair share of twists and turns that may not really surprise the attentive viewer, but will surely make you jump out of your chair, going ‘Whaaaat?’. The pacing felt really nice and there was never a dull moment, even though you could call this a rather slow-paced movie. I loved how the Rubik’s cube was used as a way to tie the plot together. Unfortunately, there were some plot points left dangling at the end with a few hints to the past of several characters that I would like to have seen explored. Even so, I felt that it wrapped up pretty nicely and the ending was satisfying nonetheless.
Wit Studio is fairly new to the animation industry, but are definitely a force to be reckoned with. You know, being the ones to produce Attack on Titan and all that. The animation for HAL is beautiful to look at. There’s a nice blend between the traditional stuff and CGI, making it not stand out too much. If there’s something I hate, it would be ugly 3D models in a 2D world. There were some really interesting shots and camera angles and the way they made the water look was amazing.
Anime food always looks 4.2 times better than real food. Fact.
Character movements were well animated and had a certain charm to it. I don’t know why, but I really liked how they moved. Like everything else in the movie, it was just very cute.
The OST was composed by Michiru Oshima. I love her work, but her pieces have a tendency to be a bit overbearing. While a lot of the BGM was really good, some didn’t really fit the mood or were somewhat too powerful. Having said that, when the music did blend in with the story, it certainly managed to elevate the scenes to a higher level.
The voice acting was very enjoyable. I had only heard Yoshimasa HOSOYA in more stern roles before, so seeing him pull off a cutiepie like HAL was a pleasant surprise. The other voice actors did a pretty good job as well.
HAL is the sweetest guy ever. From the moment he first appeared on screen, I knew I would love this character. He has a charming innocence going on that really just melts my heart.
Look at this adorable little punk
Kurumi was really cute as well. Seeing these two interact almost gave me diabetes. Even for a short movie like this, I felt their characters were rather well developed. There’s definitely more to them than first meets the eye. Also present is a colourful cast of minor characters. Little kids, a bunch of old ladies, a rather peculiar scientist, a dangerous childhood friend and a caring grandfather. Though they don’t add much to the story, they’re pretty fun to watch.
In a mere 50 minutes runtime, HAL manages to stir up tons of different emotions. It’s a movie about learning how to cope with loss and moving on. About remembering the past, but not letting it take over the present. The story is more than just that of a lost love and after finishing it, you’ll probably want to watch it again. Simple, heartbreaking and yet all warm and fuzzy as well. HAL is the perfect movie to watch on a rainy day.
Warning this review may contain spoilers
So Hal the android romance movie that everybody seems to love but honestly I found it alright, it was good in terms of animation and sound but something just felt off to me. It follows the story of a boy who is in love with a girl (and vise versa) but stuff happens and the drama starts (but this is really hard not to spoil T^T)
I'm not a fan of android based anime, especially when it comes to romance ones such as this but I was surprised. It wasn't bad and it was kind of interesting but I felt like it dragged on quite a bit which to me was a bit of a downfall. And even though I know to some the ending may not seem to be predictable, I felt parts of it was but I guess there were a couple of surprises.
It was beautiful, the animation was truely amazing and I really have hardly any mistakes but even so it wasn't perfect.
Music was nice and the voiceactors weren't bad but there isn't really anything I can say about this section. It was all quite nice but nothing amazing, hence why I rated it like this.
Another section I found well done was the characters, being a movie there was enough time for you to grow towards the characters and when you watch it the ending would effect you more than something of 25 minutes or similar. Hal our main boy was quite sweet, and he had quite a bit of development even with it being quite a short movie. Kurumi our female was a perfect match for Hal and I just loved their overall relationship.
Overall for a Android SOL this was pretty good, highly recommended xx
PS This was for the Daily Anime Marathon CLub in March 2016
Well. Because it was Slice of Life + Androids + Niceguy's pick, I thought it would be shit. I've seen an android/SoL before that was picked by Niceguy on two separate occasions and both were shit. This movie, wasn't shit. This has feels, it has some laughs, it has more feels and some heavy depressing shit. It has the whole drama package and for some reason giraffes. The giraffes are very important to the plot which I will get to soon.
Giraffes man. I have no fucking idea why they were so relevant or so important to the plot but the title drop had them for some reason and apparently it's a goal to have one? I really have no idea. But this giraffe, looks like a hooker. This makes it all the more confusing and you know what? The 5x5 rubic cube makes more sense. Everybody but Hal being able to do them makes sense. Hal being the only fucking person, including old geezers, grannies and brats, who can't do that shit makes more sense than the giraffe.
Oh, and there are feels, and stuff. It has drama as the first tag (For me at least) for a reason, that reason being that it gets all feels on you. Kinda like the movie Her with Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson. It gets to you sometimes, even the budding relationship between Hal and Kurumi is feels, but in the good way. It's heartwarming to see the barriers break down since Hal is such a great guy and Kurumi needs a hug.
Feels... giraffe... rubic cubes... yup, that's everything.
Looks pretty good.
Sounds pretty good.
Hal is a nice guy, Kurumi is a nice broken bird that gets fixed up by Hal's golden, perfectness, old man prof... scientist guy (?) is a mad pimp that in the end is alive, kicking and going to a mad young peoples orgy because he is a baller, anything else might be spoilers but those three are the important ones. But Hal, he carries this shit. He is that good of a guy.
It's actually a real good flick. You got emotions, heartwarming crap, a giant ass stuffed bear that reminds me of Kuma who mauls the nuts of evildoers and it's all about Hal and Kurumi. Their relationship is worth the price of admission. Good drama stuff man.
If I could rate it Feels/10, I would. But instead, it's an 8.
This is also dedicated to Jake from the DAMC chat, in particular the second paragraph.
This is basically a story of love, loss, grief, coming to terms with said grief, and moving on. Be prepared for many "feelz" in this movie. Then there's the plot twist that will make you change your perspective on things. The only thing really negative about the story is that some of the subplots feel slightly under-developed (which is probably due to the movie being only an hour long). That said, the story is still quite enjoyable and will probably make you cry.
The animation is quite beautiful and well done.
The background music is great and fits the scenes very well. While the credits song isn't the most memorable song in the world, it's pleasant and fits the movie. Also, the English dub (though probably not as good as the Japanese version) is pretty decent.
While there is only so much character development you can put into a hour long movie, most of the characters (some more so than others) do get at least semi-decent development.
Overall, I find this to a very enjoyable movie. While I think this movie could've been even better if it was 20 or 30 minutes longer (which would allow for more development for characters and certain sub-plots), even as it is it's still worth watching.