(Spoiler Alert) This anime movie release from 2016 was a mega-hit , claiming countless fans around the Pacific and beyond. A colleague of mine does not see what is so good about it though, so here I am, writing down my thoughts on why I think it is a good movie.
The story itself is perhaps not something that will particularly stand out. Boy swaps body with girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy saves girl and a happy ending with just a dash of of time travel and memory loss to mix things up a little.
But here is why it is a good movie…
- Great pacing. Each part of the movie flows into the next without abrupt interruptions.
- Complete content. Everything is covered in its entirety. There are no loose ends, cliffhangers and such.
- Attention to detail. Special terms are covered in background conversations and the lessons given in the classrooms. If the viewer paid attention, there are no “what just happened?” moments. As such, there is no wasted time. Every bit of the movie adds a little to the content. Even the abstract concept of the red fate thread is physically represented by the “tradition” of braiding to make it more palatable.
- Satisfying ending. Boring happy ending? Well not really. Yes, that train part is super cliche but who cares! The last couple minutes had me wishing intently for the two of them to end up together. There is also that teaser failed reunion that just makes you scream a silent “nooooo” inside. This makes that moment when they turned on the steps to call out each other all the more “f!@# yeah!”.
- Cross cultural (at least in Asia). The concept of en-musubi (縁結び) is shared among all nations that has traditional dealings with China. Basically it is the idea that your destined one is connected by a red fate thread to you. So…broad appeal there. Of course, this particular anime has its thread go across time boundaries, which while not unique, adds a bit of additional “oompf” to it. Love transcends all, including space and time…right?
- Real locations. That steps where they reunited is now a tourist hot-spot. Go figure…
And so in my opinion, it is not a surprise that this movie became a super-hit. This anime is just perfect for that little bit of romance in a otherwise dreary working life.
Makes you want to find that special someone in your life…doesn’t it?