23 December 2012 | Quinoa1984
the raccoons just want their forest. what to do? Fight back with magic powers!
Very, very, very strange. And of course the whole magical-ball/scrotum thing is weirdest of all... but once you get over that, it's a fun, sometimes sad sometimes very (yes) heartwarming story of these shape- shifting raccoons (or 'Tanuki') who are trying to fight for their land from being destroyed. Next to Tokyo? You don't say! Beautiful animation, especially inspired and delightful when the raccoons do their BIG parade of crazy crap in the middle of the city, and the narration from Maurice LaMarche (yes, Brain from Pinky and the Brain) works more often than not. Surprises me most of all that this is from the director of 'Grave of the Fireflies'. Guess he just wanted to have fun here, though not without a heavy-duty environmental message via Studio Ghibli (from Hayao MIyazaki? You also don't say).
I'm not entirely sure I can recommend it to, you know, a newcomer to the studio's works. It's at times just so leaps off from anything bound to reality (well, hey, talking 'Tanuki', you gotta go with it from there) that you just got to stick with it. Some of the comedy is very funny, some of it just feels odd, especially with the English translation (some folks like JK Simmons and John Dimaggio provide good voice-work too). It's like hearing a long but involving story from a friendly source, who in the end turns out to be someone who makes the story more profound and striking than it would have been otherwise. It's clever, trippy, and kids will be perplexed but may love it for its subversive quality. I mean, seriously, their scrotum are showing - but nothing else, so for Disney, it's okay (as opposed to Only Yesterday, which has a brief conversation about menstruation, but I digress).