Kenji Seki's daily routine was set in stone. Every morning he walks his dog at the beach to get a glimpse of his crush, Kahori Harukawa, as she rides the waves on her surfboard, and walks to school together with his childhood friend, Natsuki Suzuura. Everything changed on a sunny spring morning when he stumbled across Ryouichi Kyougoku, a handsome new transfer student who claims to be a psychic, musing about how amazing it was that he was finally on Earth...
Nerawareta Gakuen tells the relationship-driven story of how Ryouichi's presence sets the wheels of fate in motion for Kenji. Not only are his ordinary days challenged by growing jealousy from seeing Kahori falling for the young psychic, but his friend Natsuki seems to be troubled by problems of her own. And then he still has to deal with whatever plans Ryouichi has in store for him.
After watching this, I was torn between regret of even trying it and a slight satisfaction that I was able to complete it.
This movie starts off in a cliche manner. There's a new transfer student who, from his very first lines, we can confirm is not from Earth. We are introduced to the main set of characters- a typical, "you pervert!", finger-pointing anime girl who is the neighbor of the main character, the girl that the main character likes who's talented, shy, and also typical, and the main character himself who seems to be the typical anime guy who does not measure up to
the hotness of the transfer student. To sum it up so far: typical. Then, out of nowhere, cellphones are accused to be the spawns of devils and the reason why teens are unable to communicate efficiently. Magical powers and sparkly objects begin their work in damaging your eyesight by attempting to blind you at every turn. You suspect a love triangle, a love square? How about some conversation? Oh wait, no. Apparently this has something to do with telepathy. Or no wait, physics? Which is it? Oh look! There's a back story between the neighbor chick and the main guy! Wait, I thought they were just neighbors? Where's all this water coming from? Why do we need to see this scene? Am I supposed to be reading into this? It's symbolism isn't it? No? It's just pretty? Wait a minute- are they trying to throw in some Shakespeare in here? Is there going to be fighting? This seems to have potential but seriously what's happening? And these questions are what lead to headaches- which is precisely what you'll have after you're done watching this. So please, for your concern, I suggest you watch this movie on your off-time, during a free day, and certainly not when you're ill because then you'll just suffer from migraines.
It's truly the art that keeps you watching and still hoping that there's some thread of story line you haven't picked up on. The color palette is gorgeous and everything is so shiny and clean and bright that you begin to appreciate your eyesight- even when you're being blinded by the bubbles, rays of the sunset, odd glowing magical items, and school floorboards. Movement is fluid, and it leaves you feeling fresh and wholesome with its incorporation of nature in every aspect. You'll even pause or replay some parts in order to appreciate the hues. Overall, it's magnificent. Consider making some screenshots.
Just as wonderful as the art. With soft piano (played by the transfer student, of course), the music comes across as subtle and easily blends in with the feeling provided by whatever scene is playing. Voices, tapping, the blowing of the wind- all are displayed to near perfection. Any vocals you hear are softly sung and blissful to say the least.
As I've stated before, the characters are undeniably second rate- the female ones more so than the males. While at the beginning they seem unexpected and interesting, they quickly fall into the routine of what every other anime school girl/boy does. I particularly detest the female characters' behaviors on some occasions. The neighbor chick (Ryouura Natsuki) is an emotional wreck- and not even the hot kind. She's ridiculously agile, jumping everywhere, and teasing one moment and the next she's slapping the main guy (Seki, Kenji) for one, naive statement before crying and running off despite the fact she's the one who just shoved him to the side of the road. I really despise the fact that violence is displayed acceptable by female anime characters simply because she's doing it since they're 'close' and 'joking'. It's not funny, it will never be funny, and personally, I would never want to be friends with someone who smacks me every chance they get.
The second girl (Harukawa, Kahori) is another lackluster piece of recycling. She's shy, has big boobs, is in the student council, does music and surfs in her part time, is friends with the violent neighbor chick, and interested in the transfer student (Kyougoku, Ryouichi). We see these two talk more, bond over the piano, and this girl goes on her merry little way- gasping dramatically at everything he says and clutching her body parts as if- despite being under the pretenses that they're trying to display her as nervous and cute- she's coming across as someone who's being turned on for the first time. It's sort of awkward to say the least, and I couldn't even spare a pitiful smile for her despite having a soft spot for quiet characters.
But perhaps I'm being too harsh, the magical guy seems to be rather intriguing after all and he's got that mysterious aura going on too. Maybe he'll turn out to be evil or even cross the line into the gray area an-- oh nope, there he goes. He starts preaching about the 'kokoro' as its some sort of heart condition people must be made aware of... And, now he's glowing..
Finally, the main guy. Well, let's see- how would you define a guy who lets himself get beat senseless by his female neighbor/childhood friend, continually forgets to zip his pants, breaks windows in attempts to apologize for something which he hasn't even done, and walks into a council room of people wearing a horror which even speedoes can't outdo, puts his hand in there, pulls out a cell, and throws it across the room while uttering some dramatic line that I'm pretty sure was supposed to add to the plot had we not all been busy screaming no? You don't define that sort of guy. You give him the one eyed twitch before getting the hell out.
Overall, the characters aren't horrifyingly annoying to the point where you want them all slaughtered, but they are rather mediocre, slightly disturbing, and highly disappointing because they had some essence of potential.
So, should you watch it? On boring, event-less days during which you are healthy, sane, feeling as if you could care less about story lines, and prepared to let the confusion mold itself into a ball that rolls off your back with a shrugging ease. It's not a bad movie, but it's definitely not something you'd want to share with your friends when hanging out for fun. It's an anime you'd watch twice in order to appreciate the animation once again and perhaps attempt tackling whatever mumbo jumbo is thrown at you- crafting it into a plot you can actually comprehend without having to be part of that niche group that read the novel (who knew there was a novel?), but it's not a film you'd consider worth mentioning as an award-winning production since it clearly did not make it a goal to cater to the general audience. All in all, give it a shot, but keep your expectations low- even those of the art and music, just so you'll have something to be pleasantly surprised about.
Having just returned from the apparent world premier, I can assure you that if you are a fan of anime with compelling stories, well constructed plots, and a suitable amount of intrigue, this film is most definitely not for you.
I'm sure the original story is as nuanced and engrossing as the reputation of its author would suggest. However, what the director of this film has managed to cram into these (approximate) 90 minutes is not so much a tale of psychic rivals and their attempts to impact history as it is a mishmash of awkward, stereotypically 'anime-ish' relationships and overt use of inanely pretty
scenery and characters. The first 20 minutes of the film are unnecessarily accompanied by the constant falling of cherry blossom, for example.
Indeed, in making use of as much cliché and anime trope as he could muster, the director completely destroyed any semblance of an engaging story line, reducing the plot to a series of awkward encounters, embarrassing emotional confessions (that see the constant and mind numbing use of anime's favourite phrase), failed philosophical musing, and out-of context and particularly unmindful quoting of Shakespeare (which seems to, of late, be quite the fashion in anime).
So, yes, if you enjoy anime simply for awkward teenage crushes and angst, as well as cute characters and pretty images, then you will likely enjoy this. Anyone looking for a tale as touching and well constructed as the likes of "The girl who leapt through time" or "Millennium actress" should look elsewhere.
I was looking forward to this movie for some time after reading MAL's synopsis, but after completing it, I felt as if I set my expectations too high.
Nerawareta Gakuen, or Psychic School Wars, is a misnomer. Not once did anyone have a psychic battle against one another, let alone a war. From what I saw, a new handsome transfer student brainwashes all the students that had an aptitude to do some little magic, and were sent out to bully those who do not have powers. This in turn led to the tyranny of the student council, who created an inquisition hellbent on reprimanding those
who bring cell phones to school, because of course cell phones are the root of evil in a learning institution. Hypocritical I say. Of course, the underdog hero saves the day with his pervasive powers and changes the heart of the transfer student responsible. Turns out, humans were living on the moon in the future.
Admittedly, the art was very good. Very fluid motions throughout, and very beautiful scenery. I had a problem at the beginning with the sakura petals floating everywhere in every scene: on the beach, outside on the streets, at the edge of a cliff, and somehow inside a subway train. Reflections of the most random things like stairs and tables did also irk me a little. The amount of realistic details remind me of Makoto Shinkai's works. But overall, I think the animations were the only thing other than the sound that made me watch this all in one sitting.
They captured everything pretty well to be honest. The wind, the drops of water, and the piano. Though somewhat generic, the soundtrack was soothing and fitting for the scenes they were played in. And with a cast with Kana Hanazawa and Daisuke Ono, you know that the voice actings are not half-assed.
Generic hot guy transfers into school. The main hero is known to be a pervert and at times can be serious. Pathetic-looking, and his heart wavers too easily. His childhood friend loves him ever since they were little and he never took notice. He also cracked her windows yet no one actually cared to mention anything about that. A girl whose past we barely even know attempts to commit suicide, however a hot time traveling transfer student saves her and she becomes his henchman. Another girl from the student council falls in love with the transfer student at first sight. They all have a some form of relationships with one another. Be reminded that they are all in the 8th grade.
I was seriously looking forward to Nerawareta Gakuen. From reading the synopsis, I thought that the new transfer student will rule over the school and create a brainwashed army to send them to defeat the badass main lead. With awesome battle actions and stuff. Boy, was I disappointed. Near the end of the movie, I thought they were going to go all out since the main character realized his powers. Instead, he offered to have a gathering at a beach. Pretty anticlimatic.
All this anime had were very pretty and fluid animations. The plot was pretty generic, the characters generic, and my expectations were not even close to being met. When I think of psychics, I think of people reading each other's minds, planning out each other's next moves in some sort of strategy. Not feeling each other's soul or whatever and create a cliche with other psychics. I would rate this lower, but averaging the above scores, I got a perfect 7. Should the score be lower? Maybe. But I decided to be fair and just average everything together. Unfortunately for Sunrise, this work has disappointed me.
With a story so convoluted, characters so dull and cliché, art and animation so top notch and a beautiful (but basic and boring) soundtrack makes this a mess of a movie.
The plot is stupid. Half of the time I didn't even know what was going on. It starts of as a sort of slice of life, school romance with a touch of sci-fi but and then moves into weird territory concerning cellphones (and their banning), psychic powers, time travel and a troubling dictatorship subplot. And the characters, my god, don't get me started.
There's the dull and boring main character, the life-long best friend neighbour girl
(who, obviously, has a crush on the main character), there's the best friend of the neighbour girl (who the main character, obviously, has a crush on, leaving the neighbour girl jealous for half the movie) and then finally there's the mysterious (Nagisa Kaworu clone) transfer student that the best friend of the neighbour girl, obviously, falls in love with and thus creating a love triangle (love quadrangle?). As you may have noticed, the plot is very obvious.
But then you start to notice something. The art and animation. It's beautiful. Well, the backgrounds that is. The character design themselves look like you just straight-up copied whatever you found under the google search "anime character", but the art, from the 2D backgrounds to the 3D water, look amazing. But then there's the thing with the animation that caught my attention. It doesn't look right. It'd look great if it was an action movie, because the characters are always jumping around and wailing their arms about utilizing a neat (but disorienting) motion-blur technique, but it's not an action movie. And then there's also the excessive use of lens flares and colorful special effects that is definitely not needed.
It's also obvious that they recorded the voices after the initial animation because the mouths are almost never in sync. It makes for an unpleasant experience.
It's as if the movie tried too hard to look and sound like a Makoto Shinkai movie that it ultimately forgot what the movie was about. It's obvious that more time was spent on the art and animation than the story itself, which is good in some cases, like Ghost in the Shell and The Sky Crawlers, but in this case it flat-out doesn't work. There's just too much dialogue and too much jabbering about with the story for that Mamoru Oshii approach to work.
My final verdict is, if you're looking for cool new computer wallpapers, then you've hit the jackpot. But if you're looking for something cohesive with a good story and interesting characters, you're better off with the jokes you find on the opposite end of a popsicle stick.