Ahh.. Ringing Bell. Ringing Bell was a very pleasant surprise for me. While I had heard of this film through message boards and such while digging through anime schlock for hidden gems, I never imagined I would find something soul crushing by any means. That's what Ringing Bell is.. soul crushing.
Before I get into the meat and potatoes of this little review (how much of that i can include for a forty-five minute film is unknown to me presently,) I would like to give a short disclaimer. Although I found the surprise of this film pleasant, others may not. This film tackles concepts like loss,
childhood trauma, emotional manipulation, futility, and the inevitability of death. It even subtly touches upon the grieving process and stockholm syndrome. This could be jarring, depressing, or even "triggering" for some viewers, regardless of prior knowledge. If you aren't looking for doom and gloom then I'd avoid this extremely heavy little film.
With that somewhat spoilerific disclaimer out of the way, I can get into the actual film. The animation is extremely fluid for its' time and the art style is very moody and dark. It has that classic end of the world feeling that some older animated films have. The colour palette and design choices just exude absolute doom. There is a great deal of intensity with the interaction between audio and video in this one. You'll know what i mean when you watch it. The soundtrack is well done and the theme is.. dare i repeat myself again.. soul crushing. I hate using repetition but there is nothing else i can think of that encompasses this film more. Just read the lyrics before and after the film. You'll understand.
Unless I wanted to ruin the whole of Ringing Bell, this is as much information as i can give you with good conscience. If you want a truly thought provoking and emotionally devastating film then go for it. If that isn't your cup of tea or you are being courageous and trying to become an edgelord.. your life is in your own hands. Have fun.
This movie was like a very violent Disney film... It reminds me alot of Bambi for some reason... accept Bambi doesn't go around killing people after his mom dies.
A young lamb's mother is killed by a wolf. The Lamb leaves determined to become stronger and ends up becoming an apprentice of the very wolf who killed his mother in the first place. You see the transformation of the innocent child become a disturbed killer. The moral of the story is actual very deep for something that should be viewed as a child's movie.
Overall this anime hasn't claimed a spot in the hall of
Origenal movies~ But it was ok.
A bit depressing though despite being about baby lambsXD
Everyone knows Sanrio. They're the company responsible for creating characters such as Hello Kitty, Chococat, Batz Maru, and any other character so cute they make your head explode. But little did most people know that back in the 70's-80's, Sanrio used to make anime movies. GOOD movies at that! One of their known works is Ringing Bell, aka Chirin no Suzu. They stopped making movies after they made Fairy Florence in 1985.
This movie is about a little lamb named Chirin, who is happy-go-lucky and innocent but is quite adventurous and gets lost and wears a bell on his neck to
let his mom know where he is, which becomes the symbol of the series. On a dark autumn night, a wolf breaks into the farm and nearly kills Chirin...but his mother's life is taken instead. Chirin is openly distraught and angry, as a result, he leaves the meadow to get revenge, even if it means learning at the knee of the one who killed his mother. This movie is obviously a dark movie which talks about the consequences of going against who you are or paying for your choices in life.
Even though this movie was made in 1978, the animation is very well-done and well-drawn, making the series really come to life. There isn't really a hero or villain in this show. The wolf doesn't even count as a villain. He's the most realistically portrayed character in the whole movie. He just does what he does to survive and doesn't eat animals to simply "be evil". Plus, this movie doesn't end well, but I shall NOT spoil it.
I first saw this in January of 2009 on YouTube when someone on Anime News Network wrote a detailed review about it. This movie may seem like a children's movie and start off lightly in the beginning, but it takes a VERY dark turn after the first 10-15 minutes. The Japanese version is very hard to find (though I have a bootleg DVD containing the Japanese version with no subtitles, but I don't care), and the English dub can be found on YouTube. I personally love this movie because it really sticks to you for who knows how long. It really makes a strong impact and shows everyone that not all the paths people take in life are happy and colorful (like how nearly 96% of Disney movies don't see it that way).
Death is inevitable. Even if you can control of your fate, you pay a price by doing so. In the end, death still comes and your life will be forgotten.
Let me back up for a moment. Did I mention this is a childrens' movie? The plot of this short movie follows Chirin, an innocent lamb whose mother is killed by a wolf. Vowing to never be weak again, Chirin trains to become a wolf and exact revenge on his mother's killer. Ringing Bell is likely the darkest children's film ever made, but is well worth watching.
The plot of Ringing
Bell is really where the value of this film lies. Though the plot is very grim, it is intelligent and mature. From the halfway point of the film to its end, the movie poses a series of difficult questions and doesn't really give complete answers. The viewer is left to watch the story unfold and draw meaning for themselves.
As for the other aspects of this movie, I should warn that I was only able to find the English dub. This dub however is surprisingly good. In particular, the narrator, Ron Gans, has a great voice and does an excellent job. The handful of songs (also in English) in this movie are rather annoying and are reminiscent of the songs from the old animated Hobbit movie. The character design and animation is nothing spectacular, but my perception might be skewed as a 2013 viewer assessing a film from 1978.
I first heard of this film on the Anime World Order podcast, where they remarked that the message of Ringing Bell was "If you are born a sheep, then be a sheep; don't try to be something you're not". This is a perfectly fine interpretation, but I believe that the message of the movie is about the consequences of how you live your life. Living a life among the weak is easy, comfortable, and happy, but as a consequence, you are susceptible to violence and despair from the actions of the strong. You can try to be strong, but to do this you must discard the comforts of a simple life and live a hellish existence. If you are successful, you can reap the benefits of being strong, but someone stronger will inevitably come along to knock you down. Either way, your life will be forgotten eventually, so make a decision about the direction of your life based on what you want and accept the consequences of your choice.
My biggest concern about this film is that the message it relays may not be something that its intended audience, children, are ready to receive. Even with "adult" themes, it is definitely aimed at children, who may even be scarred by having such a brutal message about the world forced on them. I suppose it does however, provide a contrast to the overwhelming amount of mindless childrens' entertainment which is produced today.
Even for adults, the movie is worth a quick, 45 minute look. At the very least it serves as an unique entry for film/anime history. As of May 2013, the film can be found in its entirety on YouTube, though I will not provide a link to avoid copyright infringement. Just search "Ringing Bell Anime" at the website.
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