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mdchan

  • USA
  • Joined Aug 9, 2011
  • 40 / Other

Drifting Home

Oct 5, 2022

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.

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Story

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

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Characters

...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.

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Overall

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.

4/10 story
9/10 animation
9/10 sound
2/10 characters
4.5/10 overall

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