What I Liked: Beautiful picture book-esque backgrounds. The animation has a nice fluidity to it, expressing the surreal feeling of war and invasion from a child's perspective. The use of Night on the Galactic Railroad as both parallel to the movie and its themes, and as a motif for escapism, childhood innocence and loss. The two choir scenes. The soundtrack is understated, yet perfectly matches each scene.
What I Didn't: Older Sawako and Junpei in the English dub sound deathly bored. Character animation could've benefited from some more shading - it's awfully flat at times.
Final Verdict: A bittersweet, heartfelt story about war, first love and adversity told from the perspectives of two young boys, Giovanni's Island sidesteps politics in order to explore the human impact of the Kuril Islands dispute. Unlike similar films, it manages be dramatic and emotive without feeling overwrought thanks in part to the parallels it draws between itself and Kenji Miyazawa's Night on the Galactic Railroad.