This is a hidden gem. The fact that only 340 people have got this on their list is quite disappointing. I am currently taking part in the recommendation clubs August/September challenge. I have to watch a show from each year from 1985-2004 in the next two months. I found this browsing the archived seasonal charts and thought, "Hmm, this might just be stupid enough to be enjoyable!".
Let me say, I was wrong. This is not stupid at all! This was such an eyeopener for me! This film looks silly. Bearing in mind my thoughts going into it, the first shot was a
bunch of penguins lined up in bush firing M16's at other penguins and I laughed so hard I had to pause to take a breather. However, once this action tones down a bit, we are introduces to our main characters. Three best friend penguins, one of which was just wounded. They have a good talk and at this point it all sinks in. This film is serious.
This film focuses less on the combat and much more on character development and what war does to an individual. An individual who has lost things very close to them. An individual who wants to live a quiet life as a librarian, where he can be surrounded by the poetry that motivates him to keep pushing forward through tough times.
This was released in 1985, and I would say that the artwork is average even for its time, though with the exception of the first and third scene, there isn't a lot of heavy animation anyway. It is a very dialogue and character driven story. The music and sound was also pretty average, though I couldn't point to anything I disliked.
A 7/10 is a good score, something I give to anime that I don't want to forget about. It isn't given to a "meh" piece of throwaway entertainment. Its something that I enjoyed immensely.
Shiawase Monogatari is a strange little film that has nearly been lost in the annals of history. You aren't likely to find it and are even less likely to find someone who has watched it. As an example of this, I only made the decision to watch and review this film because hardly anyone else has, and I cannot even recall how I heard of this movie.
The plot follows as such: Mike is a (presumably) Little Penguin who is an American Vietnam War (referred in the anime as the Delta War) veteran who (like the rest of world) speaks Japanese. The story revolves
around Mike dealing with his PTSD and finding out if he can lead a normal life after the horrors he's been subject to...
...yes, it is an utterly odd as it sounds. A movie filled with Club Penguin-esque penguin deals with a shell-shocked veteran and it's played 100% for drama. Odder still is that Mike was the mascot for a brand of beer, something that you would not realize watching the movie. The strangeness of the movie is the only reason it's still remembered. The fact that cartoon penguins can have thousand yard stares or shoot automatic weapons isn't the most bizarre part of this movie.
The most bizarre part is that it works.
Or, at the very least, it did for me. Bear in mind that y profile is also of a screaming Kamille Bidan coupled with a cryptic image of Lain, thinking that it's cool or mysterious. I'm not the best gauge of seriousness.
But if you can look past the admittedly jarring character appearances, you;ll find a solid drama.
While it's mostly known for being "Club Penguin in Vietnam," Mike is out of the Vietcong-invested battleground within twenty minutes, meaning that most of the movie involves our main character trying to adjust back into life as a civilian. This doesn't go well at first, with everyone egging him to talk about the war he wants desperately to forget. Not being able to take it anymore, our avian ally flies the coop and leaves his hometown.
I believe the movie handles PTSD really well, and I felt some of the best parts where when Mike initially tries and fails to live his life.
In a new town, Mike finds love and the drama amps up. While the middle of the story is pretty "meh," the story gains its footing again towards the end, and I was surprised that I found myself legitimately invested in the characters. The characters all act logically, and no one is annoying that isn't supposed to be. The ending may or may not surprise you, but this reviewer,at the very least, was pleasantly surprised.
One of my biggest gripes was how Jill was encouraged to give up her dream just so she could be with Mike. I guess I can chalk it up to a different time and/or society, but it still doesn't sit right with me.
Overall, I thought Penguin's Memory was a solid drama. It wasn't phenomenal or anything and if you're a diehard drama fan, you've probably seen this story before, though probably not with cute penguins. Despite this, I had a surprisingly good time, though I'll admit my expectations weren't too high, and me being a sucker for romance gave it a few points. I could do without some of the songs, as I felt they didn't add anything to the movie, but I adored the ending song.
Who doesn't love birds? Complete monsters, that's who! So if you're not a complete monster, you might be interested in looking at this writer's list of some of the best manga and anime birds, right? Time to bird up!