50 of 50 episodes seen
First, a bit about the director, Isao Takahata. He is the only director of animation (that I'm aware of) that exploits the distinct contrast between realism and fantasy. His work generally follows a realistic style, but with sudden outbursts of the fantastic (or "magical"). This style fits Akage no Anne perfectly, as it is about a young orphan girl with lots of imagination. Her name is Anne Shirley and she is adopted by Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, two elderly siblings. They had wanted to adopt a boy, but gradually come to treasure Anne. Those creative whims when Takahata attempts to illustrate her imagination is nothing short of astounding. You might think the series is giving you all it has as early on as in the first episode when Anne is going through the "White Valley of Delight". An unforgettable moment if there ever was one, but there is so much in store for the viewer.
Early on the focus of Akage no Anne can be divided into three different categories. First off, Anne Shirley herself, we get to know her character, what drives her, what saddens her and what touches her. Secondly, the outside world that is "relevant", and driven by human sense and logic, which would be the Cuthberts and all the other people in Anne's environment. And lastly, nature and everything else that is subject to Anne's creativity. The early episodes contain many conflicts between these categories and are often melodramatic, but young Anne is a quite melodramatic character, and the voice actress does a terrific job at making it all feel real. These early episodes are essential and complement the later ones very well as they contain a study of characters, of lifestyles, and of hopes and dreams. They definitely do a character study of a child better than anything else I've seen.
The story covers a wild range of subjects and is always captivating, and often really touching. As the story progresses and Anne grows up, the conflicts sort of dissolve. After the early episodes are over, Akage no Anne turns more into a happy, twee-filled series. Not that there's anything wrong with that. In fact, I'm completely in favor of this happy part of the series, because after watching some of the last episodes (which are very moving and had me in tears several times) I understand how incredible the bigger picture of this series is. It is tremendously multifaceted.
The pacing is not exactly slow but the series takes its time which could potentially alienate those who have only acquainted themselves with today's commercial anime. Some scenes or perhaps entire episodes could be deemed as pointless, but it all depends on how much you are willing to take in. Be open when watching Akage no Anne because I promise you, it has so much to offer!
Now, about the visuals... Oh man, those backgrounds! The amount of care that has been put into the scenery is absolutely breathtaking! And god, the music... I have already acquired the soundtrack. The music here generally takes on the traditional task of heightening the mood, but it also grants the series even more layers of depth. I'm telling you, the music plays a huge role in this series. If you're a fan of orchestral arrangements (who isn't?) then I'd be surprised if you don't agree with me.
As you have probably noticed, I have nothing but good things to say about Akage no Anne. It is a masterwork and I urge anyone with an interest in something other than the mundane to see it!
1 of 1 episodes seen
The entire film is like a dream that goes through many different emotional states. It moves much like a symphony, not unlike the music that accompanies it. I won't discuss things such as meaning because I don't really think I could, but I will say that I believe this to be one of the finest anime's out there, and that if you get into it with the right state of mind you're likely to at least partly agree with me. I've seen it several times and I always love it. Recommended to a certain crowd, and quite underrated on this site. read more
1 of 1 episodes seen
Memories depicted feels completely genuine, corners of the screen fades away into nothing during past. This film has some of the finest animation i've ever seen, as immaculate as the Hedgehog in the Fog, but 120 minutes in length, and with a much, much more elaborate narrative.
Above all, Only Yesterday is immensely heartwarming. I don't necessarily buy into sentimental stuff very easily, there has to be something to it, a rough edge to complete the bigger picture. Here we see a very unique approach to displaying the past and the relationship between past and present. You'll have to see for yourself to understand what i mean, the contrast is apparent. It also has one of the most brilliant endings ever.
The more i think about it the more i think this is truly one of the greatest films ever. Sure, it's naive, but completely sincere. i give it my warmest recommendations. read more
3 of 3 episodes seen
Anyway, just what is this great movie about? Mainly the distance between human beings. In the first chapter, physical distance. Second chapter, emotional distance. If this sort of thing interests you I suggest you look this anime up as soon as you can, because you'll most likely be very fond of it. The third chapter also does a very good job at steering the movie in the right direction, it does not have a cliché-ridden ending (and, like it or not, such an ending will displease a lot of people)
The movie has some aspects i'm not too fond of which changes my overview accordingly. Shinkai obviously knows what he's doing, and at it's core 5 cm per second masterfully depicts loneliness, hopelessness, and even the will to push on. However, i never really liked the glossy animation, this is purely subjective of course, but this visual style did nothing but distract my emotions from what's really important. I'd like to say the same thing about most of the soundtrack and the way the voice actors deliver their narration.
Still, while I may not agree with Shinkai's style completely, his work is at least compelling, and this movie especially is a pretty mature piece of art. Warmly recommended for lonely, melancholic guys and gals. Surely we all felt such distance between ourselves and others. read more