This is the autobiographic tale of Kobayashi Chitose, a young Japanese girl growing up in a Japanese-occupied North Korea. As World War II progresses, Chitose begins to realize that her family will not be able to escape the effects of the conflict. From the simple disappointment of not being able to get the type of backpack she wants for school, to her father's recruitment as a soldier, the war begins to impact her life in a very real manner. But the end of the war does not mean the end of hardship for her. The Koreans, fed up with years of Japanese rule and persecution, have joined forces with a Chinese-backed communist government and are systematically making life a living horror for the Japanese left in North Korea. Fearing reprisal since he was a Japanese veteran, Chitose's father risks everything to get his family out of the north and to the US-occupied area south of the 38th parallel.
There are so many war drama anime out there (Barefoot Gen, Grave of the fireflies, Himeyuki and Rail of the star to call a few) that you nearly even can call them cliché, but since everyone that I have seen have big differences in the part they focused, I wouldn’t recommend calling them cliché at all. So we got the war dramas that focus on the probably most famous tragedy, the nuclear explosion of Hirushima (Barefoot Gen), one that focused more on the survival after a bombing without parents (Grave of the fireflies) and so on. In this case, Rail of the Star we got
the focus on the, in Korean living Japanese during and after the war, which is a pretty interesting setting but wasn’t made that well.
About the story: We got a few main protagonists, but the most screantime I guess was spend on chiko a young girl whos father leads a coal mine in Korean( propably to support the war). Chiko also got a younger sister and a mother. The start of the show focused more about the time during the war and wanted to show the suffering of the Korean and the torture of the Japanese, but since its on the one had a movie for children and on the other hand on the Japanese side the whole “toture” part is limited to a few Japanese kids beating up a Korean kid. So the start was rather showing the kids play to create a emotional connection to the audience, which wasnt made that bad, but aslo not very suprisingly in any way-
Later on we see the end of the war (Korean celebrating) and the gloomy Japanese which know that they should go back to their homeland as soon as possible. It’s a typical for such a show to let the Russian military appeal to the audience as the “bad guys” and the Japanese refugees appeal cute (chiko) innocent and “good”. For me this representation is pretty naïve but like I said before since that movies target group seemed to be children it’s kinda logical to see that.
The characters itself were a pretty poor part of the anime as well. There wasn’t any depth to any of the characters. Chiko was maybe the only one a bit more depth into it, but she was just a plain kid, not much to go into anyways. The other characters where swallow shown with only the typical character interaction between them for such a show.
The art wasn’t much outstanding but it wasn’t bad. It looks like a children movie with cute characters and it’s a bit older as well.
Soundtrack was ordinary, not much to say about it. There were some nice dramaparts followed by fitting music but that’s just normal.
So over all this movie isn’t very special. The premise was quite interesting but the movie overall was filled with only very few consequences, no mature storytelling and no depth into characters. If you are completely into these war dramas it is watchable, but it’s not recommended for getting into these kinds of movies.
After my rating system:
48/100% Score 4