It isn’t just Studio Ghibli that makes great anime films.
Synopsis: Based on the award-winning manga by Fumiyo Kouno, In This Corner Of The World tells the emotional story of Suzu, a young girl from Hiroshima, who’s just become a bride in the nearby city of Kure during World War II. Living with her husband’s family, Suzu has to adjust to her new life, which is made especially difficult by regular air raids. But life must go on, and Suzu — through the help of her new family and neighbors — begins to discover the joys of everyday life in Kure. Much is gained in Kure, but with war, many things cherished are also lost. (Shout Factory)
Starring: Non, Yoshimasa Hosoya, and Mayumi Shintani
Writers: Sunao Katabuchi and Chie Uratani
Director: Sunao Katabuchi
Rating: PG (Canada)/PG-13 (United States)
Running Time: 130mins
For showtimes and more, check out In This Corner of the World on movietimes.com.
We don’t always get a history lesson in our animes. This film just happened to take place in and around the city of Hiroshima during WWII but it wasn’t the focus, at least not until later. The story followed a young woman from Hiroshima named Suzu (Non) who received a marriage proposal from a stranger in a nearby town named Shusaku (Hosoya). Now married, she had to get used to her new life, living with Shusaku’s family all while a war is happening around her.
This first half of the film perhaps moved a little too slowly as we became acquainted with Suzu and her life over several different dates in history which was a nice touch, leading up to the moment where a bomb is dropped on Hiroshima. Suzu was a person who enjoyed life and everything it had to offer, using it as inspiration for her many artistic endeavours. As she grew older, her artistic side began to fade away as she focused on making a life for herself with her husband and his family for which she knew nothing about. It was probably too long but it was definitely heartwarming.
Once the war ramped up, so did the intensity and the stakes for the characters. Suzu still maintained her love of life while her and the community around her were just trying to survive themselves despite what was happening but it wasn’t easy. This different perspective was compelling to watch and became emotional at times as characters began to feel the effects of the war firsthand. Because of the lack of developed characters whose only purpose was for contrasting perspectives, it wasn’t as powerful as it could have been. The film did not shy away when it came to its depiction of the war so its subject matter may be a little too intense for some.
The animation style felt very similar to that of Studio Ghibli films with plenty of color and detail in its characters and environments while also bringing Suzu’s life paintings to life. The voice acting was also good across the board.
Overall, this was a a beautiful animated film, grounded in reality, about the triumph of the human spirit over great adversity that takes a little while to get going and lacked enough emotional impact outside of the main character. While respectful and an important history lesson, the subject matter may be a little too intense for some.