Tag: 2016

First Love Monster

First Love Monster

First Love Monster anime series cover art
First Love Monster

Series Overview

First Love Monster (Hatsukoi Monster / 初恋モンスター) is your typical shoujo romantic comedy, except that half of the bishounen characters are actually fifth-graders. One day, high-schooler Kaho Nikaido is rescued by fifth-grader Kanade Takahashi, with whom she instantly falls in love.

That basic synopsis of the series may sound bad. And to be fair, the series is bad. But surprisingly, it wasn’t bad for the reasons I thought it would be. The fact that Kanade and some other literal children were depicted as beautiful Greek gods wasn’t actually an issue — and neither was the fact that this technically makes Kaho a pedophile.

Both of these seemingly glaring issues with the series were actually dealt with in entertaining ways. I quite liked seeing your typical shoujo romance scenes involving Kanade acting like an adult only to be followed by him doing something to remind us that he’s actually 10-11 years old.

As for Kaho being a pedophile, I know there are a lot of people out there who will instantly write this series off just because of that premise. However, I’m not someone who’s going to be up in arms over something as inconsequential as a gag relationship in a comedy anime.

And just for the record, it’s not as if the relationship between Kaho and Kanade is portrayed as some great relationship out of a fairy tale. Their relationship breaks down multiple times due to their inability to see eye-to-eye on a lot of matters. And Kaho is somewhat vilified by other characters who think what she’s doing is creepy (which it is).

If you go into First Love Monster anticipating a bad anime, I think you’ll be able to find some comedic value in it. But if you’re expecting a “good” rom-com, this isn’t for you.

Characters

First Love Monster has a surprising amount of characters for a show with a relatively small scope. So with that in mind, I’m going to be focusing on the five who are most important: Kaho, Kanade, Gin, Tom, and Kaz.

Kaho Nikaido is a pretty odd shoujo series protagonist. Normally, these protagonists are fairly air-headed and depicted as being pure and innocent — like Tohru from Fruits Basket. That’s not really how I would describe Kaho, though. Instead, Kaho is a relatively average girl who’s simply blinded by Kanade’s appearance.

She knows that he’s a fifth-grader who makes poop jokes, but he’s so handsome that she doesn’t care.

Gin, Kanade, and Tom from the anime series First Love Monster
Gin, Kanade, and Tom

Kanade Takahashi, despite being a poop-joke-making fifth-grader, is actually one of the most likable characters in the series. He does have a serious side, which comes out whenever he’s reminded of a lesson that his late mother taught him. For example, that you should treat girls well and not make them sad. That may seem pretty basic, but nobody else in the series understands it.

Ginjirou “Gin” Sannomiya and Tomu “Tom” Kaneko are Kanade’s best friends. Like Kanade, they’re complete bishounen (pretty boys), who don’t look like fifth-graders. Gin is the “smart” one while Tom is the “bad boy.” But at the end of the day, they and Kanade are very similar in how they behave.

Kazuo “Kaz” Noguchi is another friend of Kanade, Gin, and Tom, but actually looks his age. He’s a model student, is very popular with the girls in his grade, and serves as the class president. So it’s a bit of a mystery why he hangs out with the other three. But at the end of the day, he’s still a kid who’s naive about many things.

What Went Wrong?

Most of the problems I have with this series seem to stem from the quality of the adaptation. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the source manga is good. But it does mean that there were some choices that were made when adapting the series that weren’t exactly the best, to put it mildly.

The first problem I encountered in the series was the use of an early 2000s rainbow effect. If you watch even just the first episode, you’ll understand what I’m talking about. Luckily, although it was used a lot at the start of the series, its usage disappeared for the middle portion and only resurfaced right at the end.

Next, we have the excessive censoring. Normally, when mentioning censoring in anime I would be referring to visual censors, such as beams of light covering naked characters. In First Love Monster, however, the censoring comes in the form of verbal censors. All of the “dirty” words that are used (frequently, I might add) are bleeped out.

I think this was supposed to be funny and not true censoring. But it was honestly just annoying.

Kanade and Kaho from the anime series First Love Monster
Kanade and Kaho

The last major complaint I have is about the”gimmick” of the series. Often times, I complain about series gimmicks being overplayed, such as in Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks? But this time around, I felt that the gag of Kanade being a fifth-grader bishounen wasn’t used to its fullest extent.

And in the final episode of the series, they did what I like to call the “school festival” problem (despite there not actually being a school festival. It’s pretty well-known that I hate all school festival episodes in anime. But one of the main reasons I hate them is because they often include plays starring the characters performing different roles.

The problem I have with this is that it completely removes the roles, interactions, and relationships I liked about the series. This same phenomenon happens in First Love Monster. In the final episode, Kaho has a dream in which Kanade is a high school student like her. That completely removes the dynamic that I felt was carrying the show, which leads to a boring finale.

Conclusion

I ended up giving First Love Monster a 4/10. It’s a bad anime, but it’s not so bad that I think the series is irredeemable. It does have some genuinely good comedy, but the problem is that there are so many other issues that hold the anime back. It doesn’t look very nice a lot of the time, it’s overly censored, and the finale removed the best part of the series.

As for the OP and ED, I don’t think the OP is anything special. It’s not a bad OP, but I wouldn’t call it that good either. The ED I liked a lot more. There’s not much in terms of visuals, but the song is great if you actually see the lyrics. It’s basically all nonsense.

If you enjoyed this review, remember to click the like button ❤️ down below. Also, follow me over on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on any future content. And come join our Discord server if you’re interested in discussing anime with other members of the community.

Finally, I’d like to thank HeavyROMAN, Key Mochi~, and Rob for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika, Senpai, and Kouhai tiers respectively this month. To learn more about how you too can become a supporter of this blog, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

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Girlish Number

Girlish Number

Girlish Number anime series cover art
Girlish Number

Series Overview

Girlish Number (Gi(a)rlish Number / ガーリッシュ ナンバー) is a slice of life series about anime voice actresses. And before I get into anything else about the series, allow me to just say that I have no idea why there’s an “(a)” in the middle of the word “Girlish” in the Japanese title. There’s probably some reason for it, but I don’t know what that reason is.

Anyway, the topic of anime voice actresses is pretty interesting because that’s not something I know all that much about. I have my favorite voice actors and actresses, such as Kana Hanazawa, but it’s not like I follow what she does. I just hear her voice in an anime and recognize her as a good voice actress.

Even in other anime about making anime, like Shirobako, the voice acting side of things is kind of pushed to the side. I think in that series, the voice actress was the character who got the least amount of screen time out of the five girls.

But, speaking of Shirobako, both it and Girlish Number kind of have the same message about voice acting. In both series, we see that voice acting is a very competitive industry, it’s hard to break into, and even if you do get into it, you’re probably going to have nothing but minor roles for a long time.

Where Girlish Number deviates from Shirobako is that the main voice actress, Chitose Karasuma, is a newbie who happens to land a lead role. So, the series follows Chitose as she learns how difficult it really is to survive in the industry as a new voice actress who, honestly, isn’t very good.

Millennium Princess Cast

The anime being created in Girlish Number is called “Millennium Princess × Kowloon Overlord” and is an adaptation of a light novel series. From what I can tell, it’s basically a magical girl fantasy series in which the heroines are five sisters. I’m pretty sure it’s also two cours long, which is surprising based on how bad it is.

Chitose Karasuma is the protagonist of Girlish Number and plays the lead role in Millennium Princess. She’s one of two newbie voice actresses in the series but prefers to act as if she knows the industry inside and out. Her older brother is also her manager.

Yae Kaguyama is the other newbie voice actress starring in the series. She’s basically the exact opposite of Chitose. She’s timid, respectful of her seniors, and is unsure about whether or not she’s ready for a lead role. Basically, Yae is the embodiment of how a newbie should act.

Chitose, Yae, and Koto from the anime series Girlish Number
Chitose, Yae, and Koto

Koto Katakura is the oldest voice actress working on the series, but is still considered a “newbie” because this is the first major roll she’s landed despite working in the industry for years. The best way to describe her is by saying she’s the “mom-friend” of the group.

Kazuha Shibasaki is one of two true professional voice actresses. She takes her work very seriously, isn’t one for small talk or making friends, and doesn’t have any hobbies that don’t include alcohol. While her personality does warm up throughout the series, I wouldn’t exactly call her a tsundere.

Momoka Sonou is the final member of the group and second professional voice actress. She comes from a prestigious family in the industry, with her mother also being a famous voice actress and her father being a producer. However, Momoka just wants to be seen as her own person.

Well-Written or Not?

My least favorite part of this anime is the characters. That’s not good for a slice of life series, because characters are extremely important in them. But, I really don’t think the characters in this series were all that great aside from probably Momoka and Nanami (a new girl who shows up later).

Yae, Koto, and Kazuha all felt like pretty one-dimensional characters that fell into tropes. You could probably say the same about Momoka, but I felt like she was a bit more dynamic than the rest. I really liked seeing her shifts in personality depending on who she was interacting with: Her parents, fans, and other voice actresses.

Even the supporting characters weren’t anything special. The producer of Millennium Princess was pretty entertaining, but even he was just a carbon copy of Tarou from Shirobako. Those two characters even sound alike, so I was surprised to learn they didn’t share a voice actor.

Chitose Karasuma voice acting from the anime series Girlish Number
Chitose Karasuma voice acting

The worst offender, however, is Chitose. I’m actually not sure if Chitose’s character is well-written or not. She’s absolutely insufferable, which is why I couldn’t watch more than one episode per day. I don’t think I would ever be able to binge this series, solely because of Chitose.

Everything about Chitose’s personality is awful. She acts like she’s the best at everything even though she sucks, she’s a jerk to everyone around her even when they’re kind to her, and she actually never grows throughout the series. Even by the end of the final episode, the only one she cares about is herself and how “great” she is.

Now, I say that she could just be well-written because she’s obviously supposed to be annoying. However, I also feel like we’re supposed to be encouraged by her positivity in the end. And if that was how I was supposed to feel towards her, then she’s a failed character.

Conclusion

I think a 6/10 is more than fair for Girlish Number. I was considering giving it a 5, but I did enjoy certain aspects. As I mentioned, Momoka and Nanami were good, the producer was fairly entertaining, and the series focused on an industry I don’t really know much about. But, I don’t feel like I can call this series “good.”

If you enjoyed this review, remember to click the like button ❤ down below. Also, follow me over on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on any future content. And come join our Discord server if you’re interested in discussing anime with other members of the community.

Finally, I’d like to thank HeavyROMAN for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month and suggesting Girlish Number to me. I’d also like to thank Rob for supporting at the Kouhai tier this month. To learn more about how you too can become a supporter of this blog, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

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GATE 2nd Season

GATE 2nd Season

GATE 2nd Season anime series cover art
GATE 2nd Season

Overview

Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There! Fire Dragon Arc, also known as GATE 2nd Season (Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri 2nd Season / GATE 自衛隊 彼の地にて、斯く戦えり 第2クール), is the second season of the anime series GATE — sort of. I’ll come back to why it may or may not actually be the second season in a bit.

It’s been over a year since I reviewed the first season of this series, and because of that I actually had no idea what was going on when I picked up this season. I knew the protagonist, Itami, was an otaku and I knew Rory Mercury existed, but other than that I had no idea.

Luckily for me, it didn’t take long for the series to remind me that it has a character with one of the best names in all of anime: Princess Piña Co Lada. I guarantee I mentioned how good her name is in my original review, and I just want you to know that it’s still amazing over a year later.

So, the first season was (probably) all about Itami and the rest of the JSDF conquering the people beyond the gate. He made some friends, blew some stuff up, and helped to bring about an inter-dimensional peace treaty — sort of.

But this second season isn’t quite the same. The JSDF no longer need to conquer territory — they have a base camp set up beyond the gate. Now, their primary mission is to strengthen their ties with the empire in which the gate is located. And to do this, they need to defeat some new, and returning, enemies.

First there’s a fire dragon which needs to be dealt with, then a crazy prince, and finally a bunny girl.

Second Cour or Second Season?

However, before I get into the fire dragon, crazy prince, and bunny girl, I mentioned that this might not actually be a second season. Really, it’s more like the second cour of the first season and there just happened to be a break between the two.

The first season aired during the Summer 2015 season while the second aired during the Winter 2016 season. That means there was only the Fall season separating the two. Needless to say, this isn’t exactly normal — though Overlord has done this since then.

The Rose-Order of Knights from the anime series GATE 2nd Season
The Rose-Order of Knights

The fact that these two seasons were so close together makes me think that they may have originally been meant to be a singular season. Further proof for this is in how the second season starts us off right in the middle of the action.

This is the main reason why I was so confused when I started watching this season. Sure, for those who watched this series as it aired, they probably remembered where the first season left off. But for me, someone who had gone a year without watching the second season, the first episode made little sense.

For example, I had completely forgotten that Tuka Luna Marceau existed, let alone that she was mentally broken due to the death of her father. Basically, I didn’t remember any of the main characters’ origin stories. Well, except for Rory Mercury, but how could I forget about the best girl?

I actually did forget about the best girl, because it’s Piña Co Lada, not Rory Mercury.

“New” Characters

The first new character isn’t actually new. This is Yao Ha Ducy, a dark elf whose clan lives in a forest nestled within a canyon. She plays some role in the first season, but other than showing up and asking for Itami’s help, I’m not sure what else she did.

The thing she needs Itami’s help with is slaying the fire dragon which wiped out Tuka’s village. After killing all of the wood elves, the dragon made its way to the dark elves’ domain. And the reason Yao is seeking out Itami isn’t just because of the JSDF’s overwhelming strength. She’s also heard that he’ll help anyone in need.

The next character is actually new as far as I know. His name is Zorzal El Caesar and he’s the elder brother of Piña Co Lada. That means he’s the prince of the empire — well, one of two princes. The other prince isn’t quite as ambitious as Zorzal is and so isn’t named as the crown prince.

If there’s one thing Zorzal hates, it’s the JSDF. After being named as crown prince, Zorzal takes an anti-peace stance against Japan. He also somehow believes that the empire’s army can stand up against them despite the fact that the JSDF could wipe the empire off the map.

Former Queen Tyuule from the anime series GATE 2nd Season
Former Queen Tyuule

The final character I want to mention is Tyuule, the former queen of the Warrior Bunny Tribe and current sex slave of Zorzal. If there’s one good thing we can say about Zorzal is that at least he isn’t racist — and he has good taste in bunny girls.

I’d say Tyuule is the third best girl after Piña Co Lada and Rory Mercury.

Conclusion

Surprisingly, GATE 2nd Season is better than the first. I gave this season a 7/10, and that was actually mainly due to Tyuule. Zorzal was a pretty good character too, but I think it was the inclusion of Tyuule that made him so interesting. Their evolving dynamic was definitely one of the best aspects.

Unfortunately, I don’t think the series actually ends here. The ending seemed to be in an odd spot with a bunch of plot points left unfinished. I assume the light novels continue the story after this point, but I doubt there will ever be another season.

As for the OP, it was very similar to the OP of the first season, probably because it was by the same artists. And, since I also felt like it was similar to the Alderamin on the Sky OP, I looked it up and that’s by the same artists, Kishida Kyoudan & The Akeboshi Rockets, as well.

If you enjoyed this review, remember to click the like button ❤ down below and follow me over on Twitter @DoubleSama. I tweet out every time a new post goes live, so it’s the best way to stay up to date. There’s also a Discord server where community members can discuss both past and present anime.

Finally, I’d like to thank HeavyROMAN for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. To learn more about how you too can become a supporter of this blog and the benefits you’ll receive for doing so, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

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Mob Psycho 100

Mob Psycho 100

Mob Psycho 100 anime series cover art
Mob Psycho 100

Overview

Mob Psycho 100 (モブサイコ100) is a supernatural comedy series from the same creator as One Punch Man, ONE. And if I’m honest, I wasn’t sure if I would really like this series when I started it. I felt the same way about OPM before I watched it, but I ended up really enjoying that one in the end.

However, Mob is a fairly different series and the circumstances surrounding my introduction to it were different as well. With OPM I was originally hesitant to watch it because I’m not all that into superheroes and everyone seemed to love it. And by everyone I mean a lot of people who don’t watch all that much anime, so I expected something like Sword Art Online.

Now, luckily OPM wasn’t like SAO, which is part of the reason I was willing to give Mob a shot as well. But, while I wouldn’t say that everyone seemed to love Mob, those who do often claimed that it was the best anime series. The fact that Monogatari is the actual best aside, when multiple people constantly hype up a series, it tends to disappoint in the end.

Anyway, what’s this series all about? It’s about a kid with psychic powers who just wants to live a normal life, but always gets roped into crazy situations, partially due to his mentor, a washed-up conman. In a way you can think of Mob as simply a supernatural version of OPM, though that’s a pretty broad comparison.

The reality is that while these two series may share ONE’s art style and sense of humor, the stories they tell are very different. While OPM is a story about saving the world, but being bored while doing so, Mob is about being the person you want to be despite the situation you were born into.

It may sound strange, but Mob is actually a much more down to Earth story.

That said, the story wasn’t actually the part of Mob that I cared about. The first half of the season (this is solely a review of season one by the way) was pretty much a supernatural slice of life series. And aside from the episode which introduced Dimple, I preferred it over the latter half which became much more plot-driven.

Speaking of the episode that introduced Dimple, that was by far the worst episode of the entire season. If I had to rate that episode alone it would probably be a 2 or 3/10. Other than the shot that said “Mob loves milk” there wasn’t really anything of interest to me.

Characters

This section is going to include some spoilers. So keep that in mind if you plan to continue on.

The titular character is Shigeo “Mob” Kageyama. Don’t ask me why his nickname is Mob, because I actually don’t know. It must have been explained at some point, but I’m pretty sure the only person to actually call him that is his mentor, Reigen. Everyone else either calls him Shigeo or Kageyama(-kun).

Mob has had psychic powers for as long as he can remember, and as far as he’s concerned they simply end up getting in the way. His silverware bends when he tries to eat, and other kids at school think he’s weird because of his powers. However, he doesn’t let that stop him from attempting to live a normal school life.

And because he’s trying to live a normal life, he doesn’t want to use his psychic powers. Instead, he wants to woo the girl of his dreams by getting in shape. To this end, he joins the body improvement club (who just so happen to be some of the best characters in the series).

But there are times at which Mob will use his powers, mainly when confronted by an evil spirit of some sort which he has to exorcise at the behest of Reigen.

Shigeo "Mob" Kageyama and Arataka Reigen from the anime series Mob Psycho 100
Mob and Reigen

Reigen is Mob’s mentor, sort of. He actually just lies to and uses Mob, but he still does seem to genuinely care about and look out for him. Reigen works as a psychic and “specializes” in exorcisms, though he’s actually just a conman who calls Mob in whenever there actually turns out to be an evil spirit.

He even pays Mob for his work, although it can barely be called pay and is more like he gives him the loose change found in his pocket. However, the real thing Reigen gives to Mob is guidance. He may not actually know anything about having psychic powers, but he does still give actual life advice meant to help Mob.

A great example of this is how Reigen was the one who created a rule for Mob about never using his powers against other humans. Sure, he specifically said humans so that he could continue to leverage Mob’s powers to exorcise spirits, but at the same time, he knew that harming humans would send Mob down a dark path.

My favorite Reigen moment of the series came in during the climax of the series towards the end when Reigen actually intervenes in a fight between Mob and enemy espers. Despite not being an esper himself, Reigen was willing to put himself between Mob and the enemy to prevent Mob from using his powers against humans.

Also, a fun fact about Reigen is that he’s voiced by Takahiro Sakurai who you may know from his other roles which deal with spirits, the Medicine Seller from Mononoke and Meme Oshino from the Monogatari Series. I love how he plays the roles of a spirit hunter, a spirit mediator, and a spirit fraud.

Other notable characters from this series are Dimple – an evil spirit defeated by Mob who often takes the form of a gas cloud, Ritsu – Mob’s younger brother who desires psychic powers, Teruki – a psychic from another school who befriends Mob, and Musashi – the president of the body improvement club.

I could discuss these other characters at length, but I think I’ll instead end this section with a brief word on Musashi and the body improvement club. First of all, despite already being spoiled on the whole body improvement club thing, I still thought that was a great way to subvert a common, school anime trope.

But what I really love about Musashi and the rest of the body improvement club is that they accept Mob for who he is. Despite him being a small, weak, dork, they still cheer him on and empower him to follow his dream of becoming physically fit. They don’t care who he is, what they care about is that he’s committed to exercising like they are, even though he’s bad at it.

Conclusion

In the end, I decided that Mob Psycho 100 was a 7/10. Originally I had it rated as an 8, but after thinking about it more for a few days I decided it wasn’t quite as good as the other series I gave 8s to. For example, OPM is an 8, and I liked that a decent amount more than Mob.

I do hear though that the second season of Mob is better than the first, so perhaps that one will be an 8 or higher. I don’t really feel like it’s going to be a 10 as many people have tried to convince me, but maybe I’ll be proven wrong.

If you enjoyed this review, be sure to click the like button ❤ down below. Also, follow me over on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on any future content or schedule updates. I tweet out every time a new post goes live, so it’s the best way to stay up to date.

Finally, I’d like to thank HeavyROMAN for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. To learn more about how you too can become a supporter of this blog, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

My review of the second season is available here.

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In This Corner of the World

In This Corner of the World

In This Corner of the World anime movie cover art featuring Suzu Urano
In This Corner of the World Cover Art

Overview

In This Corner of the World is possibly the best World War II movie I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen quite a lot of them. Being from the U.S., most of the WWII movies I’ve seen tended to follow American or Allied soldiers fighting on or near the front lines, often in the European theater.

However, In This Corner of the World instead comes from a Japanese viewpoint, but not only that, it comes from a Japanese civilian viewpoint; something we don’t often see in the West. This movie depicts how the lives of Japanese citizens were affected before, during, and after the war.

The first portion of the movie deals with the lead-up to the war in Japan. The war is ongoing at this point in time, but it’s far away and doesn’t really impact the daily lives of the civilians other than the fact that most of the men are employed by the military.

For most of this part, the movie feels like a slow slice of life story about a girl growing up in Hiroshima, but simply from knowing the city she’s growing up in, we should know how the story will end. This section ends with Suzu being married off to a family in the nearby town of Kure.

Once the war reaches the shores of Japan, however, things begin to change substantially. The rations given out to families by the government continuously decrease, the air raid sirens are heard more frequently, and the remains of the dead begin arriving back home.

It’s in this second part that we begin to see just how much the lives of the civilians were affected by the war, something I don’t think we fully understand or appreciate today, especially in the U.S. since the war wasn’t on home soil.

We often hear about how everyone at home had to chip in and do their part to support the war effort, but the same was true of the Japanese civilians, and they were being bombed at the same time. The war wasn’t just a part of everyday life, the war was everyday life.

A great example of this is the character Harumi, who’s about six years old. Despite her young age, Harumi is able to recognize and name all of the various battleships, and other kinds of ships, which are part of the Japanese navy. To her, this was simply common knowledge.

The climax of the movie, at least from my perspective, came during this middle part with the death of Harumi. Other characters had died such as Suzu’s brother who had joined the military, but Harumi’s death illustrated that even innocent civilians could be killed by the war.

The final part of the movie comes with the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, and the end of the war that follows. At first I thought it was strange that the bombing of Nagasaki wasn’t also included in the movie, but since it’s from Suzu’s perspective, this makes sense since she’s not anywhere near Nagasaki.

I also originally thought that the destruction of Hiroshima was going to be glossed over, since it wasn’t something that immediately impacted the lives of the people of Kure. There was a blinding flash of light, and then a large mushroom cloud visible over the mountains, but that was all for the time being.

Then, over the course of what appears to have been several days, pieces of Hiroshima begin to appear all over Kure, including a door to someone’s house which ends up in a tree outside Suzu’s house. Along with the rubble come the first victims of the blast as well, at least those who weren’t killed in the initial blast.

One was so disfigured by the blast that his own mother couldn’t recognize him because his face had been melted. When his body was removed from the roadside after he died, all that was left was a blackened outline of where he had been sitting against a building.

Even long after the city was wiped out, the effects of the blast still ravaged the civilians who had been living there. Just because they survived the initial blast and the intense heat doesn’t mean they were going to live much longer. At the end of the movie, we see that Suzu’s sister, her last remaining family member, is dying of radiation poisoning.

Characters

Suzu Urano is the protagonist of the movie. It begins when she’s a child and ends when she’s in her 20s, so we get to know her character over a fairly large portion of her life rather than just a single year. Over all those years, art and imagination were the only constants in her life.

When she was a child, she would make up stories and then draw them for her siblings. When she was an adult, she promised to draw portraits of family members who had gone to war so their loved ones would have something to remember them by, but she never actually gets around to doing this.

Portions of the movie have a different art style for the backgrounds which are based on Suzu’s art style. Often, this change in background style tells us that the scene is part of Suzu’s imagination and not reality, such as when Harumi is naming the battleships after her death.

When she’s probably in her late teens, Suzu is married off to Shusaku whose family lives in nearby Kure. Despite not knowing Shusaku before getting married, Suzu warms up to him as she discovers that he’s a much gentler person than she first imagined.

When Harumi is killed in an explosion, Suzu loses her right hand which was holding Harumi. However, this doesn’t stop her from completing her daily chores and doing her best to defend her new home and family.

After the bomb destroys Hiroshima and the Japanese government concedes the war, Suzu is visibly upset because she would rather fight to the death than forfeit. There were likely many civilians who felt the same way as her, that if they surrendered, those who have already died, died for nothing.

Suzu Urano and Harumi Kuromura from the anime movie In This Corner of the World
Suzu and Harumi

Shusaku Houjou is Suzu’s husband. He works as a clerk at the local naval base, but is later drafted into the military once the war enters the later stages. However, despite being drafted, Japan concedes the war before he’s ever actually deployed.

He claims to have met Suzu once when they were children, but since we only get the story of their meeting from Suzu’s perspective, and she doesn’t remember him, it’s unclear exactly how they first met. Suzu’s account involves a monster kidnapping them, and they get away by her tricking the monster into falling asleep.

Shusaku’s favorite thing to do is watch the battleships in the nearby harbor, which is something he seems to have shared with Harumi as she too enjoys this. Despite that, it’s unclear exactly why he never signed up for the navy before being drafted.

After the war is over, Suzu and Shusaku adopt an orphan they find on the destroyed streets of Hiroshima.

While there are other interesting characters such as Keiko Kuromura and Tetsu Mizuhara, the final character I want to talk about instead of them is Harumi Kuromura. Harumi is Suzu and Shusaku’s neice, the daughter of Shusaku’s older sister, Keiko.

While Suzu is definitely innocent for most of the movie, Harumi is the character who embodies innocence, which is why her death is all the more jarring. She was killed by a “dud” bomb that had a timer which went off while she and Suzu were trying to get a look at the ships in the harbor.

Other than looking at battleships, Harumi also enjoyed playing with string, and looking at ants, just like any other kid her age would. While her knowledge of battleships likely comes from Shusaku, her interest in them can probably be attributed to her older brother, who she doesn’t live with.

Harumi lives with her mother, and her brother lives with their father’s family. Because the two of them aren’t together, Harumi likely became interested in battleships as a way to feel closer to her brother since he liked battleships as well.

Conclusion

In This Corner of the world isn’t without its issues, but they’re so minor compared to the strengths of the movie that I couldn’t help but give it a 10/10. Maybe it deserves a 9 and I may drop it down to that at some point once I have more time to think about it, but as far as this post is concerned, it’s a 10.

If you enjoy history like I do and want to see a different side of WWII compared to what popular media usually shows us, I highly recommend In This Corner of the World. At the same time, if you’re simply looking for a movie with a good story that’s also visually appealing, this movie is for you as well.

The trailer for In This Corner of the World is available here.

If you enjoyed this post or found it helpful in any way, be sure to click the like button down below. You can also let me know your thoughts on the movie down in the comment section as well. What scene hit you the hardest? Harumi’s death? Hiroshima being destroyed? Or something else?

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