Drifting Home: An Anime Film That Captivates with Visual Brilliance
I must confess, I find the Netflix model for anime films more appealing than that of anime series. Take the release of Drifting Home, for instance. With Netflix, I can enjoy this movie in real-time with English subtitles, whereas a theatrical release would mean waiting for months to access a subtitled version. Moreover, considering the exorbitant prices of movie tickets in Japan and the ongoing pandemic, this distribution model is truly a winner from my perspective.
The significance of the studio behind an anime production, both generally and specifically, cannot be overlooked. For instance, Ame wo Tsugeru Hyouryuu Danchi is created by Studio Colorido. This studio holds a unique position in the industry, being a creator-centric hub that nurtures young talent and encourages experimentation. Unlike many other studios, Studio Colorido has crafted a positive environment for animators and staff. As an outsider, I deeply admire their exceptional approach, and I’m personally invested in their success.
The Creative Vision of Ishida Hiroyasu
One pivotal figure at Studio Colorido is Ishida Hiroyasu, a 34-year-old director who has emerged as the creative center of the studio. He directed Colorido’s most remarkable work to date, Penguin Highway, and also helms Drifting Home, along with co-writing it with Mori Hayashi. Notably, Penguin Highway was based on a novel by the renowned writer Morimi Tomihiko, who is widely regarded as one of Japan’s best writers across any medium or genre. The bar set by Morimi’s storytelling prowess is incredibly high, making it near impossible for any work or director to match.
The Signature Style of Studio Colorido
Ame wo Tsugeru Hyouryuu Danchi encompasses everything one would expect from a film by Studio Colorido, directed by the mastermind behind Penguin Highway. It offers a visual feast that seamlessly combines traditional animation and CGI, showcasing stunning background artistry and meticulously designed characters. This fantasy film transports viewers into a world brimming with wondrous and occasionally terrifying imagery—achieving an immersive experience that mirrors the vivid imagination of a child. However, it is important to note that unlike Penguin Highway, this movie may not possess the same depth, thematic ambition, and character authenticity expected of Morimi’s work. Nevertheless, considering the exceptionally high bar set by Morimi’s writing, it wouldn’t be fair to expect similar qualities in every subsequent film.
Exploring uniquely Japanese Themes
Drifting Home dwells on two distinctly Japanese ideas that add a captivating layer of thematic grounding to the narrative. The first concept is rooted in Shinto beliefs, which assert that every object harbors a Kami, a divine spirit or deity. The second theme revolves around the fascination with abandoned places, known as haikyo. In Japan, there exists a vibrant semi-underground subculture dedicated to exploring these abandoned sites. While it is generally done illegitimately, some exceptions permit official visits, such as Nagasaki’s “battleship island,” Gunkanjima. As an enthusiast of haikyo myself, I appreciate the allure of these forgotten spaces and have personally visited a few.
A Tale of Two Protagonists
The story of Drifting Home revolves around two eleven-year-old protagonists, Kumagaya Kousuke (voiced by Tamura Mutsumi) and Tonai Natsumi (voiced by Asami Seto). After Natsumi’s parents went through a separation, she moved in with her neighbor Kousuke and his family when they were around five or six years old. Over time, Natsumi formed a close bond with Kousuke’s grandfather, Yasuji (voiced by Shimada Bin), until her own mother returned and took her away. As Yasuji passed away and their apartment complex faced condemnation, the two children drifted apart. However, Natsumi frequently visits the now-abandoned apartment, scheduled for demolition, and there she befriends a peculiar boy named Noppo (voiced by Murase Ayumu), whom she suspects is squatting there.
A Harrowing Adventure at Sea
The narrative takes an unexpected turn when the apartment building mysteriously becomes adrift at sea, leaving the three protagonists and four other friends stranded within it. Although the four additional characters are somewhat stock figures, the story primarily revolves around the main trio. Together, they embark on a thrilling adventure depicted through beautifully composed scenes of buildings adrift in the vast ocean. The film presents quite terrifying imagery, suggesting that the past hungers to consume the present. While the interactions between characters may be hit or miss, the premise itself evokes genuine pathos—especially when considering the poignant exploration of the two primary themes mentioned earlier.
The Power of Outstanding Writing
Ultimately, the quality of writing plays a pivotal role in distinguishing between a very good animated film and a phenomenal one. When comparing Drifting Home and Penguin Highway, the distinction lies in the fundamental aspect of writing. Drifting Home possesses all other essential elements that contribute to a remarkable production, but it falls slightly short in this crucial aspect. Nonetheless, I firmly believe that every anime fan should legally watch this movie to support Studio Colorido, which deserves recognition for its outstanding contributions. Moreover, it presents an opportunity to witness the product of immensely talented artists given the freedom to explore the vast realms of their imaginations.
Drifting Home, a visually stunning anime film by Studio Colorido, takes viewers on a fantastical journey filled with breathtaking animation and artistry. While it may not reach the same depths as Penguin Highway, its exploration of Shinto beliefs and fascination with abandoned places adds a unique touch to the narrative. The film showcases the undeniable talent present at Studio Colorido and exemplifies their commitment to fostering creativity and providing a platform for young artists to thrive. Despite its slight shortcomings, Drifting Home offers an experience that captivates the senses and leaves a lasting impression.
1. What is Studio Colorido known for?
Studio Colorido is celebrated for its commitment to creativity and nurturing young talent. Unlike many other studios, it provides a positive environment for animators and staff, fostering experimentation and pushing boundaries in the industry.
2. How does Drifting Home compare to Penguin Highway?
While Drifting Home showcases the visual brilliance and storytelling prowess of Studio Colorido, it falls slightly short in terms of the depth, thematic ambition, and character authenticity present in Penguin Highway. However, both films provide unique and captivating experiences for anime enthusiasts.
3. What are some notable themes in Drifting Home?
Drifting Home dives into the themes of Shinto beliefs, highlighting the concept of divine spirits inhabiting every object. The film also explores the fascination with abandoned places, known as haikyo, which holds a prominent place in Japanese culture.
4. What makes Drifting Home a film worth watching?
Drifting Home offers breathtaking visuals, combining traditional animation and CGI flawlessly. It provides a glimpse into the imaginative minds of talented artists, while also supporting Studio Colorido—a studio renowned for its commitment to nurturing creativity and pushing the boundaries of anime.
5. How does Drifting Home resonate with anime fans?
While Drifting Home may not reach the soaring heights of other acclaimed anime films, it offers a unique and visually captivating experience. The themes explored in the film, along with the dedication of Studio Colorido, make it a noteworthy addition to any anime fan’s watchlist.