Okay, time for me to review another really obscure movie that I stumbled upon a few weeks ago. Chocchan’s story is an adaptation of an autobiographical story of a mother during the second World War. Unfortunately, the only version that I could find was a Finnish sub, of all things, so unless you happen to know Finnish or Japanese, don’t bother to ask where to get it. If however, you do get the chance to watch this movie and don’t mind a quiet and slow-paced story, then I really recommend it.
The thing with this movie is that it’s wonderfully down to earth. Even though it plays during the very dark World War II, it never forgets its main focus: the characters. A lot of horrible and depressing things happen throughout the movie, but it never attempts to do things over-theatrical. This is a movie full of subtle details in the characters’ developments.
It’s also one of the few movies I’ve seen to pull off some actual credible and believable character-development. It shows the life of the main characters, starting right from the moment she gets engaged until more than ten years later, when she bore her fourth child. there are numerous time-skips throughout the movie that also allow her children to be developed this way. Seriously, in anime it’s very rare to see a mother or parent with this much depth; let alone in a movie.
The downside to this movie is its music. Whereas the storytelling is full of subtlety, the music isn’t. The story is supposed to be subtle, but a lot of the most dramatic moments lose their touch when an incredibly loud set of violins thunder through the speakers, overpowering just about everything else. A soundtrack often does wonders in enriching a story, but this is one of those few anime that would have been better without any music at all.
Nevertheless, this series really succeeds in creating a cast of “real” and likable characters and does a really good job at showing the struggles of a mother during the second World War, not knowing whatever happened to her husband who was recruited by the army. It deals with heavy themes and struggles, and yet it’s well acted without crossing the borders into melodrama. Especially if you’re a fan of the World Masterpiece Theatre, you’re bound to like this little movie.