"I" died and was kicked out of the cycle of reincarnation because of the sin "I" committed. An angel told me that "I" won a lottery and he gave me a chance to remember the sin. My spirit possessed the body of the 14-year-old boy Makoto, who committed suicide and "I" tried to recollect my memory. "I" felt distressed by the terrible circumstances of Makoto and the fact that "I" was borrowing his body. "I" have started to realize that people are hurting each other because the world is too colorful to distinguish the true color of themselves from others.
Based on the novel by Eto Mori, published in July 1998.
Colorful won the award for Excellent Animation of the Year at the 34th Japan Academy Prize and was nominated for Animation of the Year. It was also awarded the Animation Film Award at the 65th Mainichi Film Awards.
Being a fan of drama anime, especially ones that exemplify harsh realities of life in a real-world setting, I didn't think twice about giving this one a shot. Like Haibane Renmei (which I liked a lot) it deals with recollecting memories of one's past life and getting a shot at correcting the errors of the past. An unknown soul who commited a grave sin lined up, along with other souls in heaven, to receive his judgment inadvertently wins a lottery that gives him a second chance at life by doing an "internship" trial. A test that takes him back to earth and has to be
able to remember the grave sin he committed and be able to enjoy and live life again through the body of someone who recently committed suicide, 14-year old Makoto Kobayashi.
The plot's idea of the afterlife and another chance at life is quite amazing. Although it's not so new, it provides a more understandable view of second chances and acceptance of real life circumstances no matter how difficult it is to cope with. The movie doesn't fail to capture reality through the view of a seemingly normal yet troubled family and the eyes of their youngest, melancholic, junior high school son who experiences disasters one after the other pushing himself to do the worst thing. Character development in the movie shows another positive, particularly with the protagonist who has zero knowledge and idea on Makoto's circumstances yet tries to cope with it all despite how unsettling it is to live another person's life and adjust to a new, albeit indifferent and sometimes distasteful, environment. And Makoto, who really fell on hard times, deciding to end it all, whose life the protagonist must pick up where he left off. Being a a film in the drama genre, this movie didn't fail my expectations of one that really digs deep and touches the heart.
The art for Colorful looked really great and fitting for an anime movie. The CG background was beautifully drawn and given much detail and the characters are drawn well fitting each character's personality. Both Saotome and Shouko were really depicted as goofy and/or eccentric, two people who really get along well with the similarly strange Makoto whose former self is isolated from other people. Makoto's father looks as simple as he is an ordinary low-rank salaryman and his brother who is academically strong but socially indifferent especially to Makoto, fits the four-eyes, tall and brooding character. Makoto's mother really shows the deep and emotional yet motherly figure and Kuwabara, Makoto's crush is really pretty and takes advantage of it. The images of the city landscape were also breathtaking and the places portrayed definitely shows a realistic imagery.
Of course, the best part I liked with regards to the music is the ED theme "Aozora" sung by miwa (who, by the way, has that really clear, beautiful and emotional singing voice). Beautiful song that perfectly fits the story which is about going through and living life no matter the diversity of life's "colors" may put you through. Although most of the movie plays with little or no ambient background music. I can say fitting music is put in the right places where the emotions are most intense.
Overall, the movie definitely lived up to my expectations of a beautiful drama. Emotions are spot on, at times even, Makoto's character might get on your nerves because of his attitude despite his family's efforts to show their love and support but hey, as they say, everyone is fighting their own battles. Also, even with the fantasy theme of reincarnation it didn't fail to portray reality, its harshness, and the beauty of living life despite the former. Definitely something you can't miss especially if you love drama like me.
Despite a wonderful opening sequence and captivating premise, Colorful turns out to be a mediocre disappointment that doesn't manage to attain much depth despite its attempts to do so.
The film's main failure can be attributed to its lack of focus and scope, choosing to jump between several different characters that were related to the life of the protagonist. Whilst each of these characters and their inner conflicts had the potential to be very interesting upon exploration, the film never delves too deeply into any of them, choosing to take more of a touch and go approach, jumping from character to character, and developing none of
them fully. It is due to this that it often feels as if there are jumps in characterization - most notably with relation to the crush of the protagonist, who is left forgotten by the film after a chilling and memorable scene, only to be brought back at the very end in what seems to be a very clumsy attempt to tie up loose ends. Much of the film feels that way - Despite it taking 2 hours, it doesn't really feel as if we really got to know the characters.
Beyond that, the film can sometimes come across as preachy - it oftentimes lacks any subtlety at all. The message of the film is simple, about how us humans are often multifaceted and multicolored, how each of us have many different sides, and how each one of us are often suffering under our own burdens under the facades we put up. We are not alone in this world - your depression and sadness is not something that only you feel - but rather something that everyone goes through, and that we must push on and live life to the fullest even through sad times. It's a beautiful message indeed, but I personally don't feel that it is delivered well. Most of it is literally spoken out by the characters to the audience, most notably in the closing scene of the movie. It's a weak way to deliver a message, and it probably would have worked much better if the film found a way to show it more rather than simply preaching it in our faces.
That said, the film does do some things well. For instance, the final twist, as predictable as it might be, works wonderfully for such a film, and would perhaps have been much more effective if the rest of the film had managed to develop a stronger emotional attachment to the protagonist. It's also beautifully animated and wonderfully drawn, making for a great visual experience at times.
Overall, Colorful is a film that is perhaps brought down by the weight of its ambition. It tries to tackle a range of important issues and explore how we humans tick, but it never really delves deep into the characters and at most times only lightly touches on them. Jumps in characterization and relationships are probably the most problematic point within the film, and it simply doesn't make good use of its runtime.
I myself have been particularly fond of anime that venture towards conveying an important message rather than predominantly focusing simply on mere entertainment as its driving force. By doing so you not only deliver an intellectual ambiance to your viewers but an inventive one as well. For some this may appear too contemplative or be adding excess perplexity unnecessarily. Rather than enjoying this type of anime for mere amusement or pleasure, one should be prepared to learn a valuable lesson or two. By all means there is no urgent need for concern, since you will feel just as content and ecstatic with the conclusion
as you indubitably would with any other distinguished anime.
Story: The story has a cleverly mixed assortment of themes that are prevalent throughout the story. You’ll find just as much optimism as you will pessimism, the outcome of events and development are erratic yet with a serene overtone theme.
Straight from the onset our main character is utterly bewildered, he is neither deceased nor living. Believing to be in Nirvana(hope I’m correct on my wording there) he soon arrives face to face with a bizarre outspoken individual he surmises to be an angel. The “angel” instructs him that his soul is to replace that of another temporarily. The state of his new body’s situational status must be amended if he has any hope of returning to his former self. In addition to this, he is informed that the severity of his current results till then are a direct representation of the sin the he himself had committed. So he must amend a person’s life utterly foreign to him while simultaneously delving deep within himself for his own personal reconciliation.
Along the way our protagonist will uncover several shocking revelations as he becomes desperate and resolute to succeed. Though this progress does not go without doubt and uncertainty in the process as he eventually loses confidence with his own capability at some stage. Even when he eventually becomes convinced that he’s now cognizant and in control of this seemingly futile enigma with all the answers to our protagonists abundant issues, he evidently couldn’t have been more mistaken.
Characters: As you steadily learn more about the characters you come to realize that they don’t consist of your typical archetypes. Colorful’s intriguing, exotic, and riveting set of characters are a perfect surreal personification of any commonplace individual in the real world today. We all have our own vile and appalling secrets that could dismantle our lives as we know it if uncovered, and our protagonists in Colorful are no different.
Why certain individuals make the choices or decisions that they do and very often take action upon them, whether deliberately or simply out of blind impulse is a prominent theme in Colorful’s primary cast of characters. As depicted with Koboyashi’s mother and his crush in school, they both committed sins but don’t know how to reconcile them since they either believe it’s justified or are still essential in their lives. Discerning a sin or scar from their past that still prevails or lingers within their minds and personality is already a dreadful experience, but for someone dear to them it’s likely more difficult. As Colorful portrays in a genuine and flawless manner, for a loved one attempting to resolve a situation such as mentioned above, it’s a near incomprehensible conundrum, since you’re aiming to discern another one’s perspective for the solution.
Though there are other characters that reflect and orient on the more optimistic side of Colorful, the endeavor of lasting friendship. Koboyashi had always been a deviant in society even before the soul swapping, and his school life was no different, he was ranked as the second worst of his class academically. The one student who performed worse than he did was Saotome, who was otherwise a very commendable and admirable individual. Eventually they form a bond of unyielding tight friendship and Saotome becomes the predominant for Koboyashis hope and aspiration to go on living.
Art: Simply the art itself it fabulous but is not the reason why it is truly groundbreaking, what is was the style in which it’s portrayed and utilized. The intent and driving force for the varying and noticeable differences in art styles throughout was undoubtedly meant to amplify and magnify the substantial changes in the characters personalities and situational revelations occurring that had lasting effects. It quite simply makes a fantastic epic drama film even more emotionally thrilling to experience.
Music: Though the music might have been more subtle than the art and visual execution was, this certainly doesn’t lessen its value or magnitude that it carried very well.
Overall Enjoyment: Colorful has easily surpassed my disproportionately high expectations, especially for its gallant and comprehensive realistic drama. I felt passionately connected to each and every major character, not despite of, but because of their individual deficiencies and fortitude. This is the essence of what profound and astute drama can become if you truly are striving for it.
Yet another glorious movie that left me thinking about life more seriously than I should be at my age. Words can't express how outstanding this story is.
The description would capture anyone with enough interest, I didn't care if I hated the story I wanted to know the answers to the synopsis - that's how much the storyline had me going. Luckily - there was 0 chance of me disliking this movie because it shed light on every doubt I never had.
MC is strong-minded and arrogant BUT this is not a problem! Don't get me wrong, we want MC to be this way - he
takes the biggest learning curve anyone could take in a lifetime and pursues it in the most creative way possible.
The story is simple but within its simplistic nature is a complex core and by the end of the movie you will either be feeling super-duper happy and satisfied or super-duper happy and satisfied whilst crying lots.
There may be parts of this film that you question why? But honestly, if you look at it from less of a " This is an anime movie" point of view - it will make sense I guarantee it 100%
If there is only one thing I can press onto it would be the obnoxious and weird classmate of the MC - she can get on the nerves a little just for cramping the mood BUT that is just me trying to find something negative to play upon for the sake of this review.
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