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Fowler’s Flix 03.06.19: 真新しい日本のアニメ!

Shout! Factory
A lonely teenager meets a mischievous mermaid in Masaaki Yuasa's "Lu Over the Wall."
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Even though I’m not a maniac about it like some people are, I do enjoy the odd anime film every now and then. I still remember when I first encountered them at the now-defunct Blockbuster Video section—then titled “Japanimation”—and an enthralling rental of an fantastic anthology film called Robot Carnival.

Even though that was over 25 years ago, labels like Shout! Factory are keeping the fandom alive and kicking, releasing titles that even the most ardent of detractors would love.

It’s amazing the subjects that are made into anime, with Liz and the Blue Bird being a great example. Mizore and Nozomi are in the high school band and have been assigned to play a duet for flute and oboe.

As their friendship grows from playing the piece, it grows apart as well from not only the pressure to perfect the music, but the looming fear of parting as they grow up and go separate ways. With a wholly emotional conclusion, Liz and the Blue Bird is great respite from tentacle aliens and all that other stuff anime is mostly known for.

A night in Kyoto becomes a mildly surreal event in The Night is Short, Walk on Girl. Known only as “The Girl with Black Hair,” as she walks around, exploring the nightlife, her encounters become more and more bizarre as they go on. But, while this is going on, another student named Senpai, who has a crush on her, creates constant fantastical reasons to run into her, trying desperately to spill his feelings, but always failing. It’s an extremely unconventional film that really shows us the unexpected roads that life can take us down, especially in a dreamlike Kyoto.

From the same director, Masaaki Yuasa, comes the equally wondrous Lu Over the Wall. A very original twist on the classic story of The Little Mermaid, here we have middle school Kai, who lives in a very sleepy fishing town. A closet songwriter, when he’s asked to join a local rock band, he heads over to their practice spot on Merfolk Island where he meets Lu, a Japanese mermaid called a ningyo. Their love for each other continues to grow, but Lu’s appearance also means doom for the town in this highly loveable reimagining.

Finally, there’s Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms; a fantastical fantasy that is as convoluted as it is strikingly beautiful. Broken down to the basics, it’s a devastatingly poignant love story, with an immortal girl meeting with a mortal boy and the way that emotion can grow into heartbreak of the absolute worst kind. It’s a gorgeous play on the classic love story and one of the main reasons why these anime flicks are such desperate must-sees.

Next week: Slashers gonna slash!

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About the Author

Louis Fowler

Güicho. Gadfly. Chicano. Choctaw. Cristero. Freelancer. Leftist. Activist. Vilified. PKD....

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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