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11 June 2011

Anime Review: "Children who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below[2011]" [**+]--- The fantasy is not enough

Several weeks ago, I watched "Children who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below"(星を追う子ども, 2011). This is the latest work of Mr. Shinkai Makoto.

Here' my short review. (Please note, it may have some spoilers.)
(Note: full-marks is *****)

(日本語版は、こちらへ。The Japanese version is available here.)

54hoshiwoou

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[Script/Storyline: **+]
This story is based on the legends of the underground world(*1). I didn't feel that the story is remarkable. Moreover, I can't understand why the era of the story is based in Japan, several decades ago(*2)

[Characters: **]
(Please see ANN for detail casts/staffs since the official HP has no English entry)
Unfortunately, all the main characters are neither attractive nor impressive, I feel. The only person who I like is Mr. Morisaki(a relief teacher).

Shinkai says in an interview "The characters look like those of World Masterpiece Theater series(*3)" However, I feel that this work has strong influences from Mr. Miyazaki's old anime works. For example, Morisaki apparently similar to Muska(*4) in Laputa(A castle in the Sky).

[Animation(artwork, and motion): **+]
Shinkai is very good at CG featured expressions. He does good jobs in the work, too. However, the other scenes(including depicting monsters) are just fair.

[The performance of Voice-actors/actresses: **+]
The performance of INOUE Kazuhiko(who played Morisaki) is excellent. However, the performance of the heroine:Asuna(pls see a photo above) is unsatisfactory for me.

[Music: **]
Tenmon is the composer of this work like other Shinkai's animes. But I don't like Tenmon's music. The music of this work is just average.

[Overall: **+]
This is not a bad anime, I feel. Taking limited amount of budget into account, it's quite an achievement. Incidentally, I re-recognized the excellence of Miyazaki's old anime works.
I know that Shinkai is a good creator. The point(2.5) is not for the result of Shinkai's talent. But the pioneer is still too great to this day.

[misc]
1) The words(the world has lots of underground utopia legends) which Morisaki speaks on a classroom podium is true. Please see Wikipedia for Agartha, and Shambhala.

2) As a token of the age of the set, Auto-Sanrin(three wheeled car) can be seen in the scenes of Asuna's daily life. Auto-Sanrin was really used till early 70's in Japan. This can be seen in other movies like "Always Sancho-me no Yu-hi[2005, movie]".

3) World Masterpiece Theater series was very influential TV anime series from the 70's to the 80's. The early works(e.g. Moomin, Heidi, A Dog of Flanders) got outstanding viewership rates in Japan.

4) The original Muska is a villain[pls see LINK-1 or LINK-2 for detail]. To the contrarily, Morisaki is a good person  in this work.
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