Who is ready for another post-2000 obscure fantasy anime movie that is too modern to have become a cult hit and it never may?
I certainly am, it has only been like four posts since the last one, but unlike the previous one. I’m less conflicted on this movie. To put it simply, this movie is pleasantness and fun in animated form. Even though it have some darker and sadder moments to change up the tone of every well-told story does. It still keeps and overall poppy and fun tone before it explodes into epic during the climax. They even manage to make it fun when they spit in the face of God and commit the unspeakable sin of casually resurrecting dead people. It even is a detail that the main character Yoyo is very insensitive when it comes to death when she is in our world.
Even though death is present in this movie, It is present in a mature and almost muted way, reminiscent of Harry Potter. Even if the movie contains dark subject like death and can even be seen as an undertone, It handles it so well that it managed to get a “G – All Ages“ rating despite on screen and confirmed death and some intense action scenes. And I agree that this movie is stellar and can be enjoyed by the whole family, but maybe don’t show it to the youngest toddlers.
The biggest strength of this movie is definitely in the visuals. Especially any scene involving flying and chasing. Especially in the scene where Yoyo is chasing a monster with a rocket skateboard propelled by magic. And the animators show off in this scene their ability to animate solid impacts and high energy movement that makes every single action scene a sight to behold. These people also know how to deliver the emotions in the scene. There is a scene where YOYO have to fend off a magical catastrophe with a magical shield. And even though we have no idea of the limitations of magic or even how hard it is to cast, it doesn’t matter at all because the directing and the music in this scene is so powerful that it feel like a battle between titans. They also did something interesting with the visual portrayal of magic; they have lent a few cues from Fullmetal Alchemist where the characters have to draw out magical symbols to make stuff happen. And this makes it a lot more visual interesting rather than just pointing fingers, and fancy lightning comes out.
A critique that has popped up towards this movie is how uninspired it sound on a synopsis level. And granted, the story of a person travelling from their magical realm into our mundane world where they have magical shenanigans and have to fix some otherworldly threat is hardly a new concept. I think this is an inherently flawed approach to any medium. Christopher Booker has made the case that if you boil any story enough down you will be only left with seven plots. So a case that “someone has done this before” is not a particularly helpful critique. So I don’t think we should ask the question “have this been done before?” but rather “have this been done before in this way?”. I also believe that Execution is more important than concept. You can have a bad concept saved by a good execution, but you can’t have a bad execution saved by a good concept.
I think that Yoyo and Nene did a stellar job with their execution with solid characters, excellent presentation, fun magic and blood pumping thrills. If you are a fan of family animation that works for all ages. You owe yourself the pleasure of this movie.