23 September 2014 | cteavin-1
Excellent live action adaptation of an anime
I really enjoyed this film.
I've seen the anime a few times, but I could never get into it. The film leads someone with no experience carefully into their world while (according to my friends who've seen it) pay a nod in all the right places to the original work.
I can see where a non-Japanese audience is going to have problems with the film:
How do you shoot a film with an international cast which live in a world where Japanese is the lingua franca? You dub it. I came close to leaving the theater to tell the staff the tracking was off but it quickly became obvious what they were doing. Honestly, it could be distracting but if you think about it, every animation works on the same principle.
(One benefit to the dubbing is that they could use actors with animation quality voices to fill the voice roles for many of the actors, or allow the principals to animate their voices in a way that would look unnatural in real life.)
Also, they shot the film in HDR (high dynamic range) which really animated the facial expressions and heighten the the boundary between real and imagined scenery -- a huge plus in this kind of film, and especially beautiful to watch on the big screen.
Oguri Shun's performance was top notch. He nailed the role. The other characters hit their character's tone, too. And when you see the situation the characters will find themselves in, you'll see they are not played as one dimensionally as the typical anime/cartoon to live action film. Their situations are complex and multifaceted.
I recommend this film. It's entertaining, beautiful to watch, presents the genre in a new way, and gives you a dose of Japanese-isms.