A "Slice of Life" in Kure and Hiroshima in 1940s, Involving Love, Laughter, Fantasy, Hope, and Death.
The protagonist is a nonchalant (at least on the surface) and a bit dreamy ordinary girl who loves to draw and paint. She is raised in Hiroshima and marries into a family of a young man employed in the naval town of Kure,
The movies goes into great detail showing the life of an ordinary family of that time. It starts as a great slice of life, of her old-style marriage with a new husband, sharing life with in-laws and communicating with neighbors. There are happy, sweet, and tender
moments although the life is set in wartime, and the hardship gradually creeps into life. The relationship with the sister-in-law is a bit fictitious, but the protagonist forms a solid bond with the family and the relationship to her little niece is just beautiful.
And I will stop there, as it would be a great spoiler.
I will only add that air raid scenes were really terrifying, although it was not right in your face bloody. The reason why almost excessive showing of daily life was necessary becomes evident when the war becomes very personal and relate-able to the protagonist, and you are shown what war can do to people leaving emotional and physical scars. The effects of the A Bomb is not directly shown apart from a later brief horrifying scene (as the protagonist was in Kure, 30-40km away from Hiroshima), but depicted as a culmination of personal tragedies in a mass scale (if one could feel the great tormenting pain and sorrow of losing a loved one in Kure which was attacked by conventional incendiary bombings, then imagining the tragedy of hundreds of thousands lives lost in Hiroshima can evoke fear and despair without showing it right in the face).
I groaned in the theater as shedding tears was not enough to control my emotions. After the film finished I was in the streets with Christmas lights and happy faces around among families and friends. The world felt very ordinary yet very fragile. I kept on half-weeping on the train heading home.
This is a very well done film with a distinct art-style (it is realistic but it's a reality only achieved by animation and not a photoshop production using photographs or rotoscope), thorough research in history, and passion. I don't know if this film is the best of all war films, but I think it is one of the best animated films produced dealing with war (I can't say which is better- the Grave of Fireflies, or this).
This should be seen at theaters with a wide screen and good audio.
I'll begin by stating my strongest gripe: the show feels disjointed due to the abrupt way it cuts the scenes and how little time is dedicated to deal with certain problems within the story. My guess is that they were trying to create this monotony that most people experience in their daily lives. It makes sense considering the show is a sort of "mundane" approach on the issue of living under bombing raids and military pressure. Still, everytime a work attempts to present a lighthearted atmosphere in the middle of such overall grim situation, I can't forgive but to think it's limiting itself by not
adopting a solid stand. See, there's nothing wrong in trying to convey this contrast between innocence and cruelty, but trying to force that by moving from one moment to another without a time to breathe isn't quite rewarding. An example of that done right would be Hotaru no Haka, which regardless of how emotionally intrusive or morally ambiguous you consider it to be, is masterfully directed and avoids major discomfort regarding pacing by simply not suddenly changing the mood of everything just to convey the banality and mundanity of sordid events.
Aesthetically speaking, my only gripes are how the character design seems marshmallowed and doesn't fit with whatever mood the show was trying to convey. At first, I found it to be overall pleasing and cute, but as soon I realized it was confusing me on whether I should be relaxed or tense, it began to bother me. Aside from that, it's overall gorgeous with a unique touch of visual realism that's always welcome in any war drama. The backgrounds are detailed and cozy, rich in colors and identity, vivid and with an endearing picture book-esque look. There are also several angles only properly done through aerial photography, which again denotes the commitment to realism where it's due. It's simply undeniable the amount of care put into it. The animation is fluid enough, though I believe it wasn't the focus as more often than not it's obvious they want you to pay attention to the scenery instead of how things move. However, once the bombings take place, the animation reaches its peak and realistically depicts war explosions battering the screen in a manner that I doubt has ever been so accurate in anime medium.
I won't lie, the protagonist's voice doesn't fit, but it's still a great voice. It doesn't fit due to the cartoonish look that is like seeing a little girl talking like an adult. I appreciate how natural the voices sound; in contrast to the artificial screeches that exist within the medium, the voices are closer to what real people sound like. Odd as it may seem to have a new type of voice to be your main character, it is these little actions that diversify the search for new talents and different approaches in the industry, thus, commendable.
Characterization-wise, it's obvious that the protagonist is the main focus. It's a coming of age depicting the development of a female character who faces several minor conflicts involving her family while dealing with the war and its outcome, and honestly, a lot is left to be desired. Most of the movie details a very generic situation: Suzu coming to acknowledge her own capabilities and trying to cease fire with her sister in law Keiko. The mundanity of events is way too clear, so much that it begins to beg for something more substantial to happen. Some major events like death and moments of extreme doubt are, unfortunately, rushed and not properly developed. It does not suffice to dedicate a mere few minutes to explore the regret, anger, and mourning involving an important and present character's death. In the end, Suzu doesn't really change beyond one would expect from the very beginning, as she doesn't draw a very innovative conclusion out of the whole picture the show provides to us. War is bad and we need to do our best. This is a rather common problem I perceive in most anime about war: they don't really do anything with the premise. It's interesting to explore different facets regarding a theme, but it's not actually leading anywhere. The mundanity of war isn't ambitious enough. Even then, its execution could have been superb if it wasn't rushed. This would give both the protagonist and the audience enough time to contemplate, feel, and think beyond the monotony she was trapped in but not necessarily brainwashed by. It'd be a lie to say that 90% of the film isn't simply Slice of Life in War. In itself, it's not a bad concept, but it requires extremely careful directing to hold an air of poignancy. It's possible to delve further into other characters, but I don't believe they're worth analyzing when they mainly just set a conflict with the protagonist or contribute to the lighthearted vibe that weaves throughout the movie. It is indeed a character-driven movie, but by a character who isn't very deep or interesting past what's presented from the beginning. She does change, but just a little and we are mostly presented to how she reacts and interacts with others rather than how those reactions and interactions change her through time, which in my opinion should be the focus in any character study sort of story (as in Ashita no Joe for example).
In the end, In this Corner of the World can be a very good movie depending on what you're expecting and planning to enjoy out of it. I can't stop thinking this is a "feels good" sort of anime and no matter what tragedy they tried to convey, it just didn't resonate with me at all. Maybe I had set the bar too high and got slightly disappointed, but my biggest gripes are without a doubt the pacing that's occasionally repulsive and the abrupt cuts that can annoy some viewers, myself included. I do believe the movie had a solid and genuine intent as an adaptation made with care and I do believe its execution, albeit flawed, manages to deliver enough to constitute itself as a worth watching piece of animation.
This is another film I saw at Annecy, and a considerable part of my review is going to focus mainly on the audience's reactions to it since I think they were pretty telling. I will also be reviewing this as a person who has not read the manga the film is adapted from.
I was fortunate enough to go to the very first screening of this film at the festival, which featured a short talk by Mr Katabuchi and, needless to say, the audience was very excited to watch the film. French isn't my best language but what I got from it was that Katabuchi believes
younger generations in Japan don't realise how the war affected people, and it's perhaps likely that foreigners don't either (as a foreigner, I feel this is true of me). He felt that the original manga helped educate people about it through a very personal lens, by immersing them in and exploring how it affects the life of an ordinary woman from Hiroshima, and he hoped the film would do the same.
Well, that it certainly did. The film itself is slow, and beautifully so. The actual plot, as in most slice of life, is minimal. There is no big conflict to be resolved. Just life, and the war that affects it. And this was all extremely unnerving.
From the very beginning of the film, you could feel the tension in the theatre. We, as an audience, didn't all know about how the war affected individual Japanese people, but we all knew about the war, and certainly about what that meant for Hiroshima in particular. As the film progressed, and more and more time passed, the tension in the room grew stronger. People were, quite literally, at the edges of their seats. It's an awful feeling - you know what will happen. You see all this stuff happening to people but you know it's not the culmination, because you KNOW what will inevitably happen in Hiroshima, and you're just waiting for it to happen. With most films, there's often the potential of something terrible happening, and you're waiting to see if it will happen. With In This Corner of the World, a slow-moving 2 hour masterpiece of a film, you don't wait to see IF the big bad thing (that the characters don't even know about) happens. You wait to see WHEN it happens, and that is the most unnerving feeling in the world.
And I think In This Corner of the World knows how unnerving it is, and it plays with that. At several points in the film it builds up the tension and the feeling that something bad will happen, and you could hear little gasps in the audience. We were being played with in a very cruel way that only a very good film could. Once a character is invited to go to Hiroshima for a festival, and I heard someone whisper "oh no".
And when IT inevitably happened, it was... brief, and unspectacular. It was not the huge culmination we had all been waiting for which, instead of underwhelming, made the whole thing even more uncomfortable. The entire theatre felt more silent than it had been the entire time.
I suspect we, as a majority of foreigners, expect that the bombing of Hiroshima would be the absolute worst thing to happen (I know I sure did), but it wasn't. The aftermath, of course, was another deal, but that's what I feel is so special about In This Corner of the World. It's not spectacular in the sense of being a spectacle, it's spectacular in the sense of being quietly real. We know the experience of an entire nation, more or less. We know what happened. But what we're shown is the experience of just a handful of people. It makes it personal, and it makes it special.
And, through all the suffering you see in this film, in the end you can't help but feel a certain... hope. In the end, even after all the hard-hitting stuff you see on screen, you're left with a feeling of it gets better. You know it gets better, and you remember not just the hardships of the characters but also the message of sheer human resilience, and hope, so much of it.
In This Corner of the World is an absolutely beautiful film. It truly is a masterpiece, for any film - animated or not, and if you have a good supply of tissues, I can not recommend it enough.
War. A strong word that could be described with multiple meanings. A word that brings joys to the winner while also brings miseries for the lost one. A word that brings dooms, sufferings, starvations, destructions, loss, and fears to people that live in that zone. A word that makes me ask, what is actually a word called justice? A word that makes me wonder, is the word of "peace" just a lie that disguised as a beautiful dream? Are humans actually equal , just like what people always tell? That is me, an ordinary person that ask this question. Just imagine to live in a
war period or warzone already gives me a shiver and chill.
War is often illustrated in many medium like film, book, comic, or even animation medium like cartoon and anime, shows the cruelity of the war itself. And when we are speaking about war movie(anime), Japan often released anime which the theme is the war time, especially around World War II period, a war which Japan won but also lost at the same time. WW II period is often portrayed in various perspective on this medium. Grave of Fireflies with survival of two siblings during that period, or The Wind Rises with the bittersweet life of aeronautical engineer during that period as the point of view.
From the movies that I mentioned above, they have some interesting point of view to tell the story during World War 2 period. While Hollywood war films are more focused on the glorifications with their patriotisms and prides, Japanese movie anime take another approaches to depict this period. Wrapped with more dramas, they tend to tell it through the poignant sense or with the spirit to rise up again and again. Deliver a really powerful message for the generations henceforward, and telling that war will and always bring tragedies and grieves behind the short victory of war. Delivering the theme that could make the viewers sob while being wrapped with a powerful messages. That very portrayal of the theme which makes Japanese war movie really special.
Behind the cruelity of war and the effect that it caused to people, there is always a slight ray of hope and the will to survive during this dreadful period. And it is clearly portrayed by a movie which adapted this theme as the meat of its story, a tale from the corner of this beautiful world, that resonates through the emotions; ladies and gentlemen, here I present you the movie that won many awards reaches its peak by bringing home the highest award in Japan's film, the 40th Japan Academy Award, and the movie has the title named Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni, known as In This Corner of The World as its global name.
Kono Sekai no Katasumi Ni is adapted from a manga serialized from 2007-2009 by Fumiyo Konno. It is a movie that being brought by Studio MAPPA (Yuri on Ice!!, Zankyou no Terror) and directed by Sunao Katabuchi (Kiki's Delivery Service assistan director, Black Lagoon) through a crowdfunding from 3374 supporters. A brief synopsis :
Kono Sekai no Katasumi Ni kicks off in 1933, following a young girl, Urano Suzu, beginning with her childhood in Hiroshima. There, we get glimpses of her life as a kid full of laughter, familial love, and artistic skill – painting and sketching her surroundings whenever possible. It becomes quickly evident that Kono Sekai no Katasumi Ni is told in the form of the young girl’s personal diary, quickly skipping through the formative events of her childhood and as her personal history runs parallel to the grinding gears of war. Time passes with the same rapid bliss with which it does in real life, and come 1943, 19-year-old Suzu agrees to a marriage proposal from Shusaku Hojo, a man that she "never" met before and lives in Kure, a port town that located over the mountains but also the naval base of Japan in WW II. Welcomed into the new family, Suzu begin to take on the daily chores of household, also quickly adapts herself to the new environment. The emotional intimacy between her and Shuusaku developed soon enough, also with her new family including her niece and scornful sister-in-law. As the story moves forward, year 1945 finally arrives. Smoke clouds the harbor, hiding unseen danger. Far-off friends and family are connected only by occasional letters and visits. The radio warns of incoming air raids or abruptly falls silent. The slur of everyday changes brought on by the war culminate in the air strikes and bombing raids that finally reach Kure. The theater of World War II at its peak.
The biggest strength of this movie lies on its storytelling. By using the slice of life as its gimmick, the director manages to create the magnificent play from the beginning till the climax of the movie through the sublime storytelling. It is as if we are really enjoying Suzu's daily life as an innocent, funny, yet an inspiring housewife as well. The pacing moves pretty slow but it is not boring at all. Instead, we are being immersed slowly into the daily lives of our casts. The movie does a great job building tension toward a specific end date, you are left on the edge of your seat waiting to see how history will affect the lives of characters that we have come to care for.
First half of the movie is dedicated for the story telling of Suzu's daily life as a new family member of her husband. Doing household chores like crafting kimono, laundry, cooking for family, while trying to fit in her new family. The realistic depiction of the slice of life element flows subtly while being followed by the music that plays gently behind the screen. Creating a harmony, slowly but surely, the viewers are being drawn into the narrative; and me without exception. And then, without realizing it, we have fallen into the trap that set by the director. The moment the movie reaches its climax and tragedy after tragedy befalls, like BAAMM, as we were being struck by a fast moving train. Resulting in an irony of war, this movie makes people woobled in feels ride, and it is without injecting the forced drama element into it. The combination of slice of life and its drama blend really well and successfully create a solid and emotional story. The romance element in the movie is pretty simple and a pretty common among people. There is no fictional romance here. It flows really natural and subtle flavored with husband-wife relationship or first love as spice.
In this period, losing your family member and the loved one is inevitable. Kono Sekai depicts every these moments really well and clear. Many scenes portray those moments on the second half of the movie. It is not a strategy to make us, the viewers cry. They bring a powerful message that war only brings misery and tragedy to the people. And the biggest commentary by Suzu near the end really gives me goosebumps after knowing that Japan lost and surrender after failed to fulfill their ambitions in World War II. The tragedy lies in the fact that we know, even before the movie begins, that these characters are doomed from the start. But was it ever about the course of the war? Certainly not for us, and in the end, certainly not for Suzu and her family. For just as this a film set in war, that is not about war, so too is her life one that precedes, and even ascends, the circumstances that define it. Many powerful scenes that show the cruelity of the war and they strengthen the fact of this movie as an anti-war movie.
Kono Sekai no Katasumi Ni itself is told from Suzu’s point of view ,from her corner of the world. This movie knows how to do a character development on Suzu perfecty. We see Suzu as a girl, a bit of a daydreamer, and an artist; a good one, at that. And she has an affinity to often see the art in many situations, although this often means she loses focus on the here and now (in one scene during an air raid the puffs of smoke from the anti-aircraft fire become a beautiful impressionist painting to her eyes – gorgeous but it also means she is too mesmerised to take cover).Without exaggerating, her characterizations are done in a really natural and realistic way. Started from a young girl and then becomed a housewife on her beginning of her adulthood time who should endure all the hardships in this wartime. Suzu is an admirable protagonist not because she’s a stereotypical strong character with superhuman physical strength and mental fortitude, but because she is an ordinary person living through terrible events who nevertheless decides to keep going. Non as her voice actress really did a great job in portraying Suzu's character. Her Hiroshima accent fits really well with Suzu who comes from Hiroshima as well. She knows how to voice a simple yet innocent girl but with never give up attitude on Suzu. Supporting casts like Suzu's family, neighbors, or even a prostitute are adding another new layer on Suzu's life. With all the people around her, sometimes carefully, oftentimes spontaneously, Suzu chooses to protect and love who and what she can as best she can, and to find a future for herself among the ashes of the past. She knows about fighting for what she can change and adapting to the things she can’t, and about the ordinary power of enduring, persisting, and coming out the other side, bent but not broken.
Despite the wartime conditions, the premise of the movie appears at odds with what we see on screen. Kono Sekai no Katasumi Ni prides itself on its hand-drawn animation, a level of effort that's becoming rare nowadays. The rich colours of the beautifully hand-drawn animation seem almost too radiant to be found in a war film. The animations are really simple and give nostalgia vibes to the viewers. The artstyle fits perfectly with Suzu's humility and produce a visual formula which is pleasant and enjoyable to watch. Hiroshima and Kure are beautifully portrayed. The sea is really calm and inviting, the scenery does bring the calmness, costumes, bustling roads of Hiroshima, and naval base with their legendary battle ship like Yamato and Nagato docked. The atmosphere of war is detailed portrayed and bring impacts to the viewers, even without adding tensions or gripping tones. I can imagine how nostalgic and important this film can be to Japan. The film is like an epitome of Japanese history, traditional culture and art. More so, the painterly approach to the look of the film encapsulates the waetercolor goggles through which Suzu views the world. In her earliest moments, the character is established to be an avid artist; one illustrative sequence shows that the young girl has sketched so extensively that her costly school pencil is now an impractical nub.
Sometimes, the animation in the movie shifts from its realist mode to capture an impressionistic vision of the surrounding beauty. The blend of visual styles, one representing the real world and the other representing the imaginary or the idyllic; White rabbits illustrate the cap of waves, the bombs and explosions turn into expressive looking fireworks being drawn by an unseen hand. The most radical stylistic departure follows the movie's traumatic incident. The movie relies on an artistic representation of the scene in order to convey its full impact. For all its impressive attention to detail, Kono Sekai no Katasumi Ni is a painting of history, not a photograph of it. It also answers the question "why anime?" This is one of the movie that could effectively uses animation to deliver the meaning.
The music on the other hand, is very simple and fits very well with the animation. Kotringo's composition brings a melancholic feelings to us as the viewers. Sometimes, the music brings you a happiness with its gently note. Sometimes, it brings you a sadness with its rhythm that echoes through a tragedy scene. The songs on the other hand, remind me with Hitomi's song on Planetes. It gives you a calm feeling. But on one particular scene, one of its songs really hit me with all the feelings from all the tragedies that have happened. A powerful moment with a powerful song and put an end to this movie.
Another think that I believe it's worth pointing out the movie's context is the historical aspect of this movie. The one unavoidable reality that the film largely ignores is that Japan is historically seen as one of the villains in World War 2. The scars that they left to countries due to their colonization still remain. Whether it’s denial of Japanese war crimes, or the enshrinement of the men responsible for these war crimes, I think it’s fair that Japan inability to fully reconcile with it’s dark past is a lingering, festering wound on the psyche of an entire region.
Kono Sekai no Katasumi Ni is a very human movie. Beautiful, artistic, historical accuracy, timely messages and thematic depth, thoughtful, and more importantly, it is a genuinely enjoyable viewing experience that I won't forgot. A movie that echoes with me through its emotional journey. A movie that I enjoyed the most from all movie that I have ever watched before. It’s a provocative, engaging, and thoughtful look at a very problematic time in history. A movie that brings back everything that has been lost for many years on animation medium, especially movies. A great showcase for animation as a storytelling medium, unafraid of using the unique aspects of animation to its advantage. If a person ask me what movie that I should recommmend to him/her, I will proudly answer Kono Sekai no Katasumi Ni. If a person ask what is the best movie in 2016, Koe no Katachi or Kimi no Na Wa? Nah, it is Kono Sekai no Katasumi Ni. And I believe, this movie will yield more blog posts and essays for years to come.~
"In the end, the cicadas do not stop playing just because there is a war. And that's why life should go on while we are busy dealing with its tragedies"
War is never beautiful and I can't decide where you'll see the most damage. The battlefield itself, where the wreckages of men still cry over their fallen comrades, the foolishness and betrayal of being promised glory and fame ending with nothing but pain and loss, wishing and praying they could go home. Or is it the home itself? Father is off in a foreign land fighting, and the women must pull through together with the old yet they do not escape unharmed, with countless bomb raids disturbing their sleep after a hard day trying to make ends meet. A slip or absence of vigilance and
caution of your world might well cost your life. The worry, the fear of living in the dark of utter annihilation as late news of the ongoing war comes in through the wireless.
In This Corner of the World is fantastic at showing the latter of these two scenarios but also not forgetting that life goes on with or without war. It's a beautifully made movie of the regular people afflicted and moulded by World War II and it is just a great movie. One particular feeling this movie has is the waiting of the moment when the first atomic bomb is dropped on Hiroshima, yet it doesn't distract you from what's going on on the screen. It's always there as a reminder for when everything is going to change and they use that knowledge and feeling in the beat way possible.
In peace, sons bury their fathers. In war, fathers bury their sons. This quote fits the story of the main character and is very much her development throughout the movie. What I mean by this is that she during peacetime and during her youth plays and acts like a child in her own world with dancing rabbits. But the years of struggle that follow force her to grow up to develop and become an adult. It is an amazing development and you are left satisfied with her change, almost like a parent's.
It's hard for me to judge wich is better between the Grave of the Fireflies because they show different aspects of this terrible war even though they aren't far from each other, both I believe are set near Hiroshima, where the first atomic bomb was dropped. I strongly suggest you watch both since both are great movies, but I urge you, no, implore you not to give this movie a pass for the artwork. You might feel it's too sketchy or that the Ghibli production is prettier or whatever critic or problems you have, but it works magnificently with the main character and certain scenes that will make you think. "Oh my god, they did that so fucking good".
This will easily fall on the top 10 list of best Movies I've seen this year and also best anime movies I've seen. Don't give this a miss.
There are several ways in which one can engage in criticism.
There are objective determinations on which one can base their criticism. There are also criticisms that come from biases and presumptions that one as an individual have and want to see, presumptions and biases which others might not share. To some extent, there's overlap and ambiguity in the delineation between these two styles of criticism. In a trivial way, what is typically seen as objectively bad writing might not bother someone else out of apathy. For instance, a central drama or conflict which becomes resolved without any proper build up
towards that resolving (viz., deus ex machina). In less trivial ways, individuals may share different substantive views on the moral responsibility involved with storytelling.
The issues I find most arresting about this film come more from the latter than the former, but I did want to express the idea that this film had some issues on this front: a number of scenes could have been cut without any harm done to the film's narrative integrity (if there ever was any) which served no purpose; a number of scene or shot transitions were noticeably rough (the atomic bombing scene as well as the rapid transitions in the beginning portions of the film come first to mind); there's a lot of thematic inconsistency (note the art direction, the main character's childish naivete and aloofness, in contrast to some of the darker themes later on, which aren't themselves that well developed or strongly held onto); similar to the previous point, but some of the darker themes (Suzu's depression, Suzu's wish for the war to continue) are introduced and dropped real quickly without buildup, and certainly without resolution.
On this last point I can imagine some who would disagree. They might argue that Suzu's wish for the war to continue comes from all that she's sacrificed. What Suzu has "sacrificed" for the war however isn't very clear. A lot of the labor she's performed in the film has simply been from her position as a wife in Japan in the early 20th century, much of the seriousness of her labor is further reduced by the naivete of Suzu and the lighthearted approach of the film which seems to take no interest in displaying Suzu's labor here as what would be seen today as a loss of liberty. Without having access to these grounds for Suzu's exhortations, the disagreer is forced to say that Suzu's sacrifice comes from the loss of her hand and Harumi, but Suzu's relationship with Harumi isn't well developed. In any case, the conclusion seems to be that Harumi and Suzu's hand are lost to ground Suzu's wish for continued war, which makes the point seem forced. And for what? A single scene which is completely abandoned once we've transition to the next.
What was most arresting about this film however was its glossed naivete. Our main character, Suzu, is a character without much thought or intelligence behind her. This is not a character well suited for viewing the Second World War and what it meant. As I discussed in other ways before, Suzu's naivete actually collides with the narrative at certain points. For instance, Suzu's wish for the war's continuance when she has never expressed any feeling or thought about the war or what it means. This film could have used such a character's naivete to make a point, but this film didn't seem interested in that. There was no dramatic irony in the early bits of the film when Suzu is married off and is forced to labor for her new family. The film doesn't treat this as if we, the viewer, know better about what's going on than Suzu does. It instead plays it lightheartedly.
The sharpest expression of this naivete, was the contrast between the character designs and the moral context of the film's very setting. It strikes me as not an accident that all the characters in the film are designed with childlike intimations. The film seems to wish for the viewer to view the characters as innocent children. This is a very troubling request given the moral dynamics of the Second World War, and Japan's role therein.
This may or may not have been intentional. I'd actually have a lot more respect for the film had it not only been intentional, but had it been part of a larger message or purpose. I don't view this film harshly because of some perceived immorality to it, I view it harshly because it offers no artistic or narrative contribution to the subject of Japan in the Second World War, has seriously flawed writing, all the while contributing aimlessly to a morally problematic viewpoint with contemporary ramifications.
Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni is yet another shining example of how much more critical the story is to anime than actual animation. When I first began watching it, I was immediately turned off by the animation. I thought it simplistic to the point of where it was similar to Charlie Brown. It actually looked very childish to me. However, experience has taught me to overlook poor animation and wait for the story. By the end of the anime, as usual with unconventional drawing styles, you aren't even paying attention to how its drawn, rather than what is being drawn
and what is happening.
The biggest draw of this anime is Suzu. While she is a dim-witted character oblivious to everything around her, she is incredibly charming, as is most of the cast, with the exception of her sister-in-law which takes some time to grow on you as they humanize her. Watching these individuals as such a happy, care-free family at the start, to seeing them get thrown through the horrors of living in a warzone, truly draws you in to the story and gets you invested in their fates. If I were to compare this anime to anything, it's very similar to Grave of the Fireflies, but perhaps a little less oppressive with the misery.
I also appreciate the maturity of the anime. Not a great deal of childish tropes, no really immature characters or cliches that you find in much of anime. It was a very realistic depiction not only of surviving through war, but also of love and growing deep social bonds over time.
If I had one complaint, it would only be that they completely minimized some major events in Suzu's life that happened off camera. As she was learning about certain events that should deeply effect her, it seemed to just brush right off of her as if it was nothing. That's really my only complaint, plus the artwork.
Regardless: I would highly recommend this anime to anyone. It was fantastic and you will enjoy it.
TL;DR: Watch this movie for the love, loss, and war you can expect in Japanese war movies. If you've seen any, like for example Barefoot Gen, you should know kinda what to expect walking in.
Right after the overall score is the "should you watch it" chart.
There is also a spoiler section at the very bottom for detailed commentary. Most people would not consider these spoilers, but they may hint at plot developments indirectly. Whether or not you wish to view them is up to you.
This movie takes place mainly around World War II, and talks about a ditzy and dreamy little girl called Suzu
from Hiroshima. She loves drawing, but is a bit clumsy at a lot of other things. In 1944, when she was 18, she was forced into a marriage with Shuusaku, a man she had never met from the city of Kure. With WWII raging on, how will Suzu and Shuusaku's life change? How will the people they meet change?
You probably already know what will happen, the question is just how it will get there. The themes are the same as most war movies, with perhaps just a tiny sprinkle of romance and beauty mixed in it. The movie's story does not really veer into the realm of the unexpected, yet the presentation of it is captivating.
A criticism of this movie that I have is that it moves extremely slow early on, and the pace is just all over the place. Sometimes years are just skipped, whereas sometimes you have events happening one after another on the same day. Though I get that it's kinda the point, it's unfortunately not something I prefer.
One thing I like is that the movie takes advantage of Suzu's dreaminess in order to give some fantastic surreal animation. Sometimes, you have no idea if something actually happened, or was simply the product of her imagination. The art contributes to this, which leads me to the next section.
It's a shame that I cannot give 11 for art to this movie. It is dynamic, abstract, and dreamy. It looks a bit like it was drawn with watercolor. As I was watching the animation of this movie, I couldn't help but feel that this was exactly how Suzu saw the world with her eyes. There are many climactic moments and significant events that are portrayed to convey feeling rather than realism. The art floats above the clouds and is not shackled by the restrictions of reality.
Sound: 9.5 (rounded up to 10)/10
It's hard to do sound wrong nowadays. I don't have much of a requirement for sound, as long as the music makes me feel what I think it's trying to make me feel at any given point. I usually don't have much to say about voice acting either, but in this case I found Suzu's voice acting in the very beginning of the movie slightly strange, as her voice didn't quite match the age of the character at the time. Once the movie progressed over to 1944, it became a lot more fitting.
Character: 8.5 (rounded up to 9)/10
Character development for Suzu and Shuusaku was very substantial. The movie does a great job at showing their development without explicitly telling you. However, there were characters that got the short end of the stick, per se. Look in the spoiler section for commentary there.
I have a somewhat personal grudge against this movie. As a person that loves watching romance, arranged marriages just do not sit with me very well. It took out a lot of enjoyment from the movie for me. The movie was also a bit too predictable, and did not try anything new with its approach. Perhaps I have seen too many of these movies; I found it hard to immerse myself into it, and frequently found myself pulled into reality saying 'oh that reminds me of such and such war movie'. Overall though, it was rather enjoyable regardless of all of these things. I also have some spoilers regarding enjoyment at the end pertaining to the romance aspect of the film.
As in my other reviews, my overall score is based only on enjoyment, and my enjoyment takes into account pretty much everything about the movie and summarizes it into a single number. Despite not having any emotional impact on me whatsoever, I was still glad I got to experience it. Although I personally did not enjoy it as much as I liked, I believe that there are many people, especially those that are fans of war movies or emotional stories that will love this movie and hail it as a masterpiece.
The "should you watch it" chart:
- like Japanese history?
- enjoy Japanese WWII movies? animated movies?
- like themes such as learning to live with people, coping with what fate gives you, and other themes of war movies?
- enjoy slow paced movies that are grounded in the realities of life?
- enjoy subtle, emotional stories?
Then you will likely watch this show. If you do not like all of these things, you may or may not like the movie. Your mileage may vary.
Very light spoilers ahead. You have been warned.
My personal enjoyment of this movie was impacted not only just because of the arranged marriage, but because the arranged marriage broke a pairing that I just kinda expected would happen based on the events of the movie. When true love gets torn by circumstances like that, I like it only when I expect it to happen. That was probably one of the few unpredictable things about the movie, but unfortunately that took away a lot of my enjoyment rather than add to it.
One other thing that was rather annoying was that it introduced characters, then did basically nothing with them ever again. This would've been fine for me if it had just been left alone, but the characters reappear, making them more than just insignificant characters. Just when they have shed the identity of insignificant character, they disappear from the rest of the story. I doubt this is by accident, and was probably intended as a sort of realistic portrayal of how sometimes we just never find out about what happened to some people or meet them again. This didn't do anything to alleviate my frustration, however.
Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni (I will call it KonoKata from hereon) is a slice-of-life, historical movie that details the life of a normal Japanese citizen during the latter days of World War 2.
For an average citizen, war is a very undesirable thing. It disrupts the peaceful routine that makes us very comfortable with our lives in the first place, food has to be rationed and thus you won't be eating much and deliciously for a while. Air raid alerts are very frequent and may happen anytime so chances are you won't be getting much sleep if an alert blared off in the middle
of the night. When your beloved ones are drafted for war, the mixed feeling of sadness, fearfulness and loneliness came flooding in fear of losing them and not seeing them again.
KonoKata tells its story in a very simple and honest manner, purely from the perspective of Suzu Houjou, who is an ordinary Japanese citizen during World War 2. We follow her life story of her growing up and ends up having an arranged meeting with her husband, then we see her doing a lot of household chores just like how a married Japanese woman was expected during that era. War came, and its devastating effect was felt by Suzu and her close ones, just like how it would impact an ordinary Japanese citizen.
The pacing of the movie is pretty slow, and doesn't attempt to manipulate the viewers by using any overly dramatic methods. When they are under attack, it would be presented in a slice-of-life way instead of a dramatic way, where we simply follow Suzu and her family move towards a shelter as fast as they could, hiding there bracing themselves as the shelter quakes from the air bombings, once everything has subsided, they come out from the shelter and life goes on. When tragedy really struck, there isn't much going on, other than we see how the victims overcome their sadness of losing their loved ones and return to their normal lives being stronger than before.
The characters are presented in as realistic as possible as well, there aren't any ridiculous bravado only seen in shounen shows, nor are there any crazy personalities that are always found in shows with school setting. Everyone is normal in KonoKata, just like your friendly neighbor who greets you every morning, and that strict military police who arrests you because they have to be overly alert at all times, etc etc. While it is one thing to be complimented for having very realistic characters, it is a pity that these characters will not be very memorable to you in the distant future.
As the first scene shed its light onto the big cinematic screen, the animation style by MAPPA (Zankyou no Terror, Yuri on Ice) can be seen as very traditional - mostly hand-drawn animation with very minimal CG being used, the backgrounds are illustrated akin to a watercolor painting. The character designs are simple yet sufficiently distinct to give everyone a different face. Overall, the movie is a delight to watch. Colors are very balanced, not too bright nor gloomy, which is rather nice seeing most war-themed movies can get overly dark sometimes. If you had been following the newer productions recently, you might feel a little unfamiliar with the older style KonoKata utilizes.
For the sound presentation, the great speakers from the big screen do the bombings a huge favor, highlighting their powerful impact and damage every time a bomb is landed. There isn't much to say about the soundtracks used in the movie, however, as they are pretty much standard piano themes that aren't memorable, and there aren't many of them as most of the movie doesn't have any music behind it. Seiyuu performance, although solid, isn't anything to be touted for, either.
KonoKata is one of those movies that does an honest and simple job in portraying how life of an ordinary citizen looks like during World War 2, serving as a great reminder on how war is truly an undesirable thing. Being simple and honest doesn't make a great movie, however, as the slow pacing, lack of drama and being slice-of-life heavy may turn many moviegoers away.
+ Honest portrayal on how life was during World War 2.
+ Realistic setting and characters.
+ Doesn't use sappy drama to hook you on.
+ Decent art presentation.
- Slow pacing, nothing much happens throughout the movie.
- Can be quite boring if it isn't your cup of tea.
- Ordinary soundtrack.
Recommended – Yes.
Read the Manga – No.
Best Characters – All.
Worst Characters – n/a
This anime focused on the micro aspects of war – how life goes on in wartime, the effects of war on everyday life, and how the people at home are facing their own share of problems. The amount of loss and sadness is appropriate for a war-time anime, yet the movie overall remains optimistic. Rather than focusing on the politics and combat aspects of war, which seem remote and irrelevant to a normal person, this movie focuses on the relatable sentiment of wanting to protect one’s loved ones and the peaceful days
shared with them. What’s clear at the end of this movie is that no one truly wins in a war.
Characters are simple but genuine. All of them are kind people, but they aren’t unbelievably kind to the point where they’re boring. That said, while the characters were easy to understand and sympathize with, I didn’t particularly care about any of them.
ART STYLE ❺/❿
Young looking characters match the innocent tone of the anime. Lots of detailed scenery/backgrounds.
A simple plot that is executed well with characters that are not particularly unique or interesting, but realistic and relatable. The story is innocent and touching and didn’t shy away too much from the horrifying realities of war. All in all, a very human take on the life and struggles of normal people in wartime. Solid, but not phenomenal.
No, this is not another Grave of the Fireflies. No, this is not another Barefoot Gen. No, this is not a Hiroshima movie, and it barely is even a movie about WWII.
In This Corner of the World is merely a snapshot of a woman's ordinary life with an ordinary family. It just so happens to take place in the Hiroshima prefecture during WWII.
From the promotional material, it definitely seemed like just another tearjerking tale dealing with themes of loss, death, and the horrors of war. And yes, although the film does have those themes, they are all naturally introduced during the runtime as incidental, never
abruptly brought into the forefront because the script wills it; the film focuses more on themes of adapting, adjustment, change, and the dreamlike nature of time and nostalgia.
Instead of comparing it to Grave of the Fireflies it would be more apt to compare it to his later works of Only Yesterday with a focus on the family aspects from My Neighbors the Yamadas.
Following the life of Suzu, a very absentminded daydreamer with a penchant for drawing, we see how she grows up, develops, and forges relationships before, during, and after the war. Along the way, the characters and places she goes to eventually change as time goes by, but it never takes too long to dwell on those changes or losses.
Indeed, when I first watched the film, I was honestly surprised at just how languid and leisurely it dealt with the subject matter. Most if not all of the film felt very...comfy, for lack of a better word. The progression of time from the beginning of the film was very deliberately drawn-out (no pun intended).
As for Suzu herself, her ditzy, quirky nature really was the glue that kept everything together. She has a lot of comedic moments, but just as many serious, dramatic ones. She's a very well-rounded, well-written character and that general aura of hers was very magnetic. I loved seeing her work hard to earn her keep, but also her attitude at just taking everything life throws at her in stride.
No matter how bad things would get, her quiet confidence and gentle aura really would keep everything at ease.
It's that juxtaposition of the endearing warmness of Suzu's perspective and the horrors of war that is usually the sole focus of a film like this that really made this film stand out to me. Even during the most intense situations, the film undercuts the brutality and death with lots of humor and lightheartedness, bolstered by a feathery score and the pastel of the film's comfy, comfy color palette.
(That nonchalance might rub people the wrong way; lots of the death in the film is kind of brushed over, some of even the closest ones to Suzu are almost an afterthought. But it personally didn't bother me too much, because the film is really more about Suzu and her life than anything else anyway.)
The animation really adds another layer to that comfiness. The character designs are very cartoony, but not overtly so; they reminded me of Ghibli's signature style, with a hint of Peanuts. There's this soft-around-the-edges feel to every key frame of the film, as if we ourselves are watching the events through nostalgia.
An aspect that furthered that was how director Sunao Katabuchi (this is his first feature film; he's notable for working on Black Lagoon, of all things) would add the artistic imaginings and daydreams of Suzu into the world. The painting splatters during the bombings, the imaginary creatures coming out of thin air, they all came during the perfect moments to further let us see how Suzu sees things.
In This Corner of the World really is just a very comfy wartime film. It isn't trying to be groundbreaking, nor is it emotionally-manipulative, trying to tug and tear out your heartstrings.
It's a film about how life can go on even during the most terrible of times, of holding on to love against the relentless passage of time, of just going with the flow of things. Despite an ending that was a little tonally-jarring, the film really does its best to keep us in its warm, fuzzy hug of a grip.
It's a charming movie, a reminder that wherever life may take us, or whatever life may throw at us, maybe we should take a step back, take a page from The Dude and Suzu's playbook...and just abide.
In This Corner of the World is a fairly decent anime about a woman as she grows up in pre-war Japan and how her life changes during the later years of World War 2. This anime’s undoing, however, is due to the fact that it focuses on a specific niche of people and this niche is one that is not very prevalent in the anime community.
The movie itself takes a look at the effects of the war through the eyes of a young bride named Suzu who claims she is always dreaming. This dream state, however, can lead to some confusion as several of
the events in the story can feel surreal while only a small fraction of those events are actually dreams. An example of this is when Suzu visits home for the first time after her marriage and comments upon waking up from a nap, “that was a good dream” personally confusing me as to whether or not the events we had witnessed were real. I do feel that this lens and idea of a dream is a unique way of looking at war, avoiding the gritty aspects of it and viewing it in a more positive light, encapsulating the Japanese nationalism at the time. This ongoing theme the anime has also becomes very important in the story; specifically when you’re identifying the anime’s climax.
The movie itself has a very obscure yet dull climax. The director of the film, Sunao Kabuchi, was asked at a French screening of the movie “what the climax of the movie was” and didn’t give a decisive answer, leaving it up to speculation. This anime has (in my personal opinion) multiple climax’s though there is a singular event, a singular climax in this story, that shifts the plot from it’s rising to its falling actions. I won’t say what this event is, but I will say it “wakes” Suzu up from her dream like state and the reality of war becomes much more apparent and the anime itself takes on a different, more gritty perspective on the war as it slowly begins to penetrate Suzu’s peaceful life.
The anime’s falling action is very unique as, instead of slowing down the pacing and bringing the anime to a close, it leads to more exciting and thrilling events with a much faster pacing. I think this can also be connected back to the dream like state Suzu has been awoken from. Though some might say the event that woke Suzu up from her dream was “unnecessary” and it’s only goal was to arouse the audience, I’d argue that, without this event, the anime would not be as impactful as it is. Without an event like this occurring, Suzu would never have awoken from her “dream” and the anime would have no decisive conclusion.
The pacing of the movie, however, in the first half, is poorly done as it skips around through different periods of Suzu’s younger life, sometimes skipping weeks to years. This is something I and many others are not fond of as it seems to pick the time and place it wants certain events to take place. Though this might be connected with the historical accuracy this anime presents, I still feel that the skips, especially since they vary in length, are uncalled for. Many of these small tidbits of Suzu’s childhood provide little information to the viewer and much of it becomes irrelevant later in the movie.
The movies animation, though beautiful and exquisite, is also very bland. Many characters are similar in many ways because of this animation style and I often mixed them up. The animation, though part of the anime’s aesthetics, could have been done in a way to make the characters more identifiable. The animation, though it focuses on making the anime, in a way, realistic, falls short of making their characters stand out amongst both each other and their environment.
The characters themselves were very well thought out. Each one had a unique personality that matched their short but interesting backstory and though a majority of them don’t develop over the course of the story, those that do, like Suzu and her sister-in-law, Keiko, do so in a very well scripted and realistic way.
The film itself is very well directed and I find less and less anime as well written and directed as this one. It has many impactful and heartfelt moments that truly make you feel for the characters it presents. I feel that many people will not understand why certain events in this movie are so overlooked and skimmed over and that’s because we have a very different culture from 1940s Japan. This unique culture which Japan has lost much of in its post-WW2 state is what makes this anime very selective in its audience, something I see as a major flaw. However, this movie becomes much more immersive if you do look at it with the mindset of a Japanese citizen in the 1940s, making it a big hit or miss.
The music the anime has along with its placement, however, dilutes these heartfelt moments. The OST itself is charming but the placement of the music is where this anime is its weakest. The film has many very powerful moments both spoken and unspoken but the placement of the songs focuses primarily on the spoken moments of the show. These spoken moments, though powerful, are not as powerful as some of the unspoken ones and drowns out much of the softer music. The music itself would have had a much more apparent effect on the audience had it been placed into some of the more powerful, unspoken moments such as when Suzu is pushed into a ditch by Shuusaku, effectively saving her life. However, as it seems the priority of giving those spoken moments more impact, much of the music in the anime was used in them.
Personally the coolest part of this anime is how historically accurate it was. The anime itself has been in production since 2010 and everything from the locations to the weather is accurate and, had you been in each location on that date, it would have been the exact same as it was presented in the movie. I feel this unnoticed but unique aspect made this movie (once you find out about it) much more enjoyable and likeable.
Overall, In This Corner of the World was one of the more enjoyable anime I’ve seen these past few years, competing with other popular titles such as Koe no Katachi and Your Name. Though each of these titles has their own unique strong and weak points, overall I feel this one is the one I personally found most enjoyable (though objectively it lagged slightly behind the other two).
In this Corner of the World is a Japanese wartime drama set during the second world war but plays out more like a slice-of-life show if you were to examine it closely. The movie features around a young girl named Suzu Urano who spends her childhood in Hiroshima. She is suddenly shipped off to another family as a product of arranged marriage to meet her would be husband Shuusaku Houjou who is the successor of the household.
A significant portion of the movie centers around the household activities that Suzu is soon accustomed to. She is for the most
part a domestic housewife while her husband is recruited for the local navy base. Furthermore, she exhibits a profound aptitude for art in general, which is showcased in her numerous sketches that have relevance later on. Though this talent of hers can be problematic at times when the Japanese military police are snooping around. Beware!
I'm going to be brutally honest, this movie is strikingly similar to the events seen in the Grave of the Fireflies. The timeline that passes continuously brings suspense as you anticipate what is going to come around that corner. At this point, you'd have to be living under a rock to not know how WWII concludes, yeah America emphatically crushed Japan with the infamous weapon known as the Atomic bomb. To avoid this getting political, I'm glad this movie tried to portray the aftermath realistically with its eerie depictions which were at some point revolting when looking back. Expect maggots, uhh...
The main characters of priority are sparse, with Suzu's husband Shuusaku being featured a lot as well as his sister's family that includes her niece Harumi. Most of the interactions include the main family which makes the movie isolated and is befitting for a witness who has given a historical account of the events.There is also childhood friend Mizuhara who is portrayed as being quite close, perhaps even intimate with Suzu considering they shared tender moments with each other. This character just brightens up the mood in a somewhat bleak situation, there is never a dull moment with him which caught me off guard.
The art style is contentious for me as everyone is small in stature, just envision enlarged chibi figures, that's what your getting. This was evidently a problem for me as Suzu was apparently 19 when looking like 10. There's something wrong with that, however, I would attribute that to being unfamiliar with the art style. The animation itself seems rather standard for the most part during the SOL scenes but is of sublime quality when the "bombings" start occurring. Even after countless sequences, I'm still amazed by its consistency. The colour palette was appropriate for the art style used and was complementary throughout its running. The best take way from an aesthetic standpoint would be the vast landscapes, truly incredible for one to behold. The music was standard fanfare with orchestral tracks and piano compositions making their way through here but I felt they were drowned out by the events currently taking place on screen.
I would not say this provides any new content regarding WWII but offers a different perspective seen in the Grave of the Fireflies. Expect tragedy as there is a lot of it, that is all.
I was going to write something about its vivid portrayal of life in the early Shōwa era, obsessed with immersive, animated detail and focused on the mundane, but director Sunao Katabuchi has made his apparent approach explicit in an interview:
”[Manga artist] Ms. Kouno researched everything about that era and was able to create an accurate account of what life was like back then. This was necessary because what we have come to understand about that time has changed over the years. For the anime, we did the same type of research for the same reasons. It was very important for us to recreate what people
looked like at the time.
"The important part of ‘In This Corner of the World’ was to portray everyday life. When we spoke to the elderly who lived during the war, they will tell us about the air raids and the hardest times. However, when it came to their everyday lives, they didn’t feel like that information had any value. Our generation hasn’t had the opportunity to talk with them about their everyday lives during the war. I felt that those experiences are invaluable.”
We observe war and the Japanese Empire’s last days through the lens of suburban civilian life. Hiroshima is within reach but just hidden from view over a mountain range. Battleships such as the iconic Yamato can be seen treading water in the bay. The boys are sent to war and, like the Yamato itself, never return. The girls pick up the pieces of their shattered families amidst the hastening tempo of air raids that presage the ultimate doom.
Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni is often criticized for its verbatim portrayal of its time period. Modern audiences expect modernity superimposed over their historical dramas as a way to right the wrongs of the past. But there’s no assertion of feminism or an explicit statement of the wrongs of the Japanese Empire (though I believe an implicit case is sufficiently made within the film's narrow scope). Instead, Kono Sekai is a time capsule unconcerned with our desire for historical power fantasies. Helplessness is the core of its experiential being, as it likely was.
Yes, the women do as they are told; wedded off to unfamiliar families, severed from dreams of what could have been. Though the film is hardly without moments of happiness and beauty, the war eventually encompasses all. They scrape by in loss of limb, loved ones, livelihoods and eventually the culturally provided rationale for all their sacrifices: the dream of the Japanese Empire.
Evangelion creator and nationalist Hideaki Anno, whose works portray the Japanese spirit overcoming American oppression (Shin Godzilla, Gunbuster), criticized the protagonist: “What a woman, doing nothing. I wanted to strangle her.”
Unfortunately, there’s no super-robot to climb into. No way to make history as we prefer it to be. No way to give meaning to loss. History just is.
”[Audiences] will be able to experience the world and society that once existed in a very raw way. I’d like to think that ‘In This Corner of the World’ is like a time machine where you can experience life and a culture of a different time.”
Let me start of by saying if you want a straight answer WATCH IT IT'S WORTH IT.
this show is one of the greatest anime i have watched in a long time even the art style is so better then the cliché anime art style were so used to the Character looks a little bland and the story sometimes feel a little inconsistent but the Character development is one of the key things about the anime that make it so great the music didn't stand out that much but it wasn't bad either the show shows what we don't see in typical war movie instead of
seeing the war from the soldier's perspective we see a the war from the perspective of the people and shows the hardship of there life in a war torn world and since this is based on a real war that make the anime that more convincing so i have to say this show is MUST WATCH
I saw a gif from the movie and decided to watch it. It is a very slow burner kind of movie that mostly drew me in from the comfortable vibe. I should mention the first half of the movie actually isn't about the war, and is more about Suzu meeting her husband. The second half of the movie is very emotional and I thought it told Suzu's story very beautifully. I appreciated that the ending was focused on recovery and moving forward. I would have given it a ten but I didn't really understand the part with the monster putting the kids in the
basket or the girl in her grandma's attic and I don't really think they added much to the story.
At first I thought the art style was too simple but the way they changed the art to represent Suzu's feelings did a really good job of grabbing my attention. The use of colour throughout did not go unnoticed, in particular during a scene where Suzu and her husband are sitting together and the weather gradually changes around them as the emotion of the setting changes. Overall, very unique and very good.
I don't know how to describe what good sounds are but I mean the soundtrack was really good and the quality of the sound effects and voice acting were also really good.
At first everyone seemed kind of the same but once they all got older they had more dimension and Suzu's husband quickly became my favourite. Suzu was also developed really well and there were a lot of powerful scenes that showed the audience her personality. The characters all essentially wore their hearts on their sleeve.
I thought I wasn't going to like the movie seeing as I knew going into it that it was going to be sad but I actually really liked it. I definitely cried a bunch but not all of it was sad crying because Suzu and her husband made me very happy all the time. The ending was satisfying which is pretty rare in the stuff I watch.
I'm glad that this wasn't another Grave of the Fireflies or some carbon-copy war movie but it definitely had its ups and downs. The movie is very very sad and is most definitely a slice of life, slow burner so if you don't like being sad and don't like slice of life then maybe sway away but if you are a big crybaby such as myself, then give it a try ! Seriously its very sad but the ending is very satisfying so I recommend it.
"A dragonfly flitted in front of me and stopped on a fence. I stood up, took my cap in my hands, and was about to catch the dragonfly when..."
-Hiroshima Peace Memoral Museum
In the coastal town of Kure, just outside of Hiroshima is where we find the characters of Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni. We follow Suzu and the family she marries into at the age of 18 as they live during the Pacific War of World War II. The majority of the plot takes place between 1943 and 1945, a turbulent time in Japan as we know from history. The characters
find themselves on the periphery of the war initially; the countryside is calm, peaceful, idyllic. As time progresses however, they become shrouded in the cloud of frequent air raids and struggle to ration their dwindling supply of food.
This film is not per se about World War II. We do not see or hear about the Battle of Midway or the Battle of the Coral Sea. Rightfully so, as information about the progress of the war was closely guarded and hidden from Japanese civilians at the time. The characters do not become aware of the rapidly approaching American Navy and Air Force until their skies become full of bombers and fighter planes. In this way, viewers are allowed to see the unfolding terror through the experiences of Suzu with a certain naiveté, which when combined with prior knowledge of World War II and how it ends, makes the whole affair feel even more tragic.
This story does indeed earn its tag as a slice-of-life. The first half of the film is light-hearted, though a sense of melancholy resonates in the background. There are themes that explore what it means to be part of a tight-knit family and community. However, this film is much more than a simple SOL or family drama. It is about the terrible consequences of war and how war's destruction is apathetic towards innocent civilians. Even deeper so, it is a character-driven story about perseverance in the face of unthinkable grief. Reflecting this, some parts of the story are told in brief bouts of magical realism, alternately emphasizing and offloading the harrowing course of events.
The technical aspects of this film are excellent. The art, animation, and music (in particular two incredibly heartfelt insert songs) are all well-produced. The sound editing is superb and demonstrates the sheer horror of war. From a technical standpoint, there are no glaring flaws. But the star here is the characterization and the emotional punch the story packs. Nearly all of the characters suffer in some way and are provided a chance to show how they respond to hardship. I found it difficult not to empathize with Suzu in particular, especially after an event which happens mid-way through the film which I shall not detail here for risk of spoiling it. I rarely cry during movies, but I found myself choking back tears at multiple points throughout this film.
This is a film that will transport you out of your corner of the world and for two hours have you ponder the fragility of life and the human capacity for resilience in the face of overwhelming disaster. Watch with an open heart and mind and I believe that you will find this film to be a bittersweet work of art.
I'm not surprised that this was highly praised after watching all of it.
Its a history movie well-drawn, well-structured, and VERY impactful.
To be honest, after watching anime, Japan and its culture, and reflecting the past, I wondered what WW2 looked like on their end.
I wasn't prepared on what to say after all those eventa that happened in these "fictional" animations. I quoted "fictional" because mind you, this was real, including all the emotions that they made after such....unregrettable moments..
I...couldn't relate...to the story at all, but all of it left me reflect so much....
A beautiful, unique autobiography of Suzu Urano, growing into the world that she never
imagined that it will come down as the biggest events in all of the world's history...
The story deserves the perfect 10, despite the....surprises that gave me....such sorrow...
The artstyle that they drew for this story not only FITS, but it all connects so much to Suzu. It breaks, then softens my heart to realize how much effort they drew into this....I'm running out of words of praise to the animators that made the overall theme of the story alive.
The realism that they've maintained in this story would make the past historical movies some jealousy. Depending on the mood, the background sounds and music is either smooth or timely impactful, it kept me the edge of my seat when there was none at all!
All of the characters has a role to play for our Suzu. From parental roles to loved ones, even supporting characters. All of them may have done their parts, but all of their actions always reflect to Suzu, from beginning to end.
I never would dare watch anime that has history in its genre, because most of them would mix other genres and lots of unrealism that I didnt bother pick up.
So this would be my first historical anime, and I thank the studios, the creator and the VAs for this story.
I highly recommend everyone to give this a watch. It's a perfect 10 from me.
I will never forget how much WW2 left an impact to your past lives.
May we move on in peace and prosperity, and I say this truthfully as a Filipino.
I visited Hiroshima May 2016. It was a bleeding experience that I can only relunctantly reiterate.
The city nowaday is a vibrant metropolis, a dramatic contrast to its own 1945 past. As busy as other mega Japanese cities, Hiroshima stands in a profoundly solemn atmosphere, a city still mourning, especially at the Peace Memorial area. You can hear the Peace Bell, you can see the Peace Flame is still on and it will be on until the last piece of nuclear weapon is destroyed, you can visit the Children's Peace Monument and count those thousands upon thousands of origami cranes for Sadako Sasaki. And you
can pay a visit to the Peace Museum.
Lots of Japanese school children were there at the Children's Peace Monument. Lots of foreign visitors were at the Museum, turning their heads away out of instinct when they saw the first exhibit right after the entrance, and regained their hope after they saw the photograph and read its caption at the exit: "In Hiroshima where it was said, 'For seventy-five years nothing will grow'. New buds sprouted in the green that came back to life. Among the charred ruins, people recovered their living hopes and courage."
Therefore I want to make a small claim here: without visiting Hiroshima, one can hardly imagine the scale of destruction depicted in "Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni". Few, if any viewers here, lived through WWII. There are not many ways we can get in touch with that event. This film, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, tell us, never forget the devastation of war, the threat of nuclear weapon. And, this should never happen again.
Like Firefly, this film is not an outright verbal condemnation of the Japanese warmongering in WWII. Instead, it is about the life of Suzu. Compared to the siblings in "Firefly", Suzu and her husband's side of the family, though not unscathed during the war, could be counted as one of the fortunate survivors. Her life in that period were alternated bewteen war time shortage, her love of painting, humorous precious moments and tragedies. "Firefly" slowly cornered the people around our protagonists to subsistence and at the same time peeled away their charitable nature. In contrast, "Kono sekai" was full of human love and never took away our hope, with some small bumps on its way. What's more, laughter was plentiful, a luxury during a war.
This whole viewer experience is largely delivered by Suzu. Heavy with Hiroshima accent and often sunk in her own thought, she is an easy, honest and kind-heardly young woman, a Yamato Nadeshiko. Yes, she might not see the "Big Picture" about what was going on around the world at that crazy time, she might only see the limited small world around Hiroshima and Kure, deep-down she might even stand on the side of the imperial Japan and hoped her country victorious, all these didn't change the fact that she was a young wife, among all the other civilians, that bore the weight of the War and took the brunt of the devastation.
It is hard for us, some 70 years later, to feel the hardship of the time, to imagine how delicious was the leftover from some U.S. soldiers, what Nankou meshi tastes like and how desperate it was at the sight of Hiroshima after the devastation. It is through Suzu's narrative, a walking kleidoscope, that we have got a glimpse at the wrath of war. After watching, you are free to feel and to interpret author's intent. For me, is this:
A seriously overlooked movie of 2016, In This Corner of the World proves to be a phenomenal retelling of the struggles of the everyday citizens of Japan during the final years of the Second World War. The striking reality is extremely effective in showing the story for what it is: a while lovely, peaceful and occasionally funny coming-of-age slice of life, the struggle, sadness and melancholy is a reminder that war is not something to be fantasized about. If you weren’t Japanese then the notion of bombing the enemy was probably indifference, or even supported; but looking through the other lens is a lovely and
heartbreaking tale of Urano Suzu as she progresses through her life from pre-war Japan to post-war Japan; a character who will be the reminder that war destroys the very hope and creation we hold dear.
Urano Suzu is a character that resembles a striking metaphor for the cost of war. As alluded to earlier, I mentioned how war is the destroyer of hope, of color and of creation. Growing up as an artist, Urano has been drawing with a passion. To avoid any more particular spoilers I’ll digress from detailing her character but the method to which her character transforms over time during the war was done beautifully. Nothing was overdone nor overdramatized. We see her as she struggles with tasks, such as cooking or making a kimono; usually her creativity gets a bit too ambitious; and it's a joy to watch. It’s relatable and down-to-earth, and we get a really good feel for her will to be a better person for her milieu. The cast of characters were also a pleasure to watch, as well. The subtle lives of the members of this family life is beautifully drawn.
However, this happiness would not last long, as we approach the second half of the story. While the joys of the normal life was shown in a quiet, colorful manner, it was only contrasted by the shocking raid bombings that occurred after. And boy was it shocking; loud, shaking, grey; but nothing overdramatized. It was heart wrenching to see Urano and the rest of the characters struggle so meaninglessly. Urano’s subsequent injury would then become a metaphor to the cost of war; what was already beautiful and full of life, like her paintings, only to be taken away forever; only one can hope to struggle on with something new, for which it does.
I don’t believe In This Corner of the World to be an anti-war film, much like Grave of the Fireflies was claimed to be by the critics. A beautiful yet striking coming-of-age slice-of-life, the end of the story gives what I think to be the integral moral of the story: a stark reminder that war takes away humanity’s need to love, to create and to imagine. We has humanity need to place our hopes in growing, in nourishing and in loving what we hold dear: our family, our friends and our dreams.
As a final note, massive props to Katabuchi Sunao, who was the director and scriptwriter for this film. Every frame is a beautiful painting that exudes emotion through color and framing, and while very rarely does the editing seem a little erratic his vision and work culminated, with the help of kotringo who composed the music wonderfully and the massive efforts from the artists at Studio MAPPA, the culmination of all that work comes produces into a wondrous, an outstanding work of animation: In This Corner of the World.