Here’s one that surprisingly flew past the radar when it first aired. Furusato Japan (or Japan, My Homeland) really surprised me with what a powerful movie it turned out to be. Seriously, at first sight it’s just another one of those movies about grade schoolers, which starts out with slice of life and eventually introduce tragedy that the lead character has to cope with… and in a sense it is, and yet somehow this movie hit me more than most other movies with this premise.
I believe that the key is subtlety and realism. This is no story with the simple message of “war is bad, pity our lead character”, there is no evil bad guy running around, and neither is time wasted with a silly love triangle. There is no moe, no emo excessive crying. There is no unrealistic amount of tragedy, and the bad stuff that does happen is gripping, yet in no way exaggerated. This is a movie about the stuff that could have happened to anyone who grew up in japan in the 1950s.
This movie chronicles the lead character and the class he’s in, and it shows how they get shaped throughout the various events that happen in the movie. The development is realistic: the characters change, but only slightly and subtly. It’s a movie about forgiveness; about coming together and doing something instead of just letting time slip by.
The only part where this show isn’t realistic is when characters start singing. For some reason, every kid gets the voice of a fully trained professional singer. In real life, you’d hear them screaming at all sorts of pitches (I don’t want to know how horrible I sung during school musicals). However, in exchange the final parts of the movie are a joy to listen to. The finale in this movie is basically a long string of singing children. When you know the context that gets explained throughout the movie, it really turns into a powerful experience.
it’s really slice of life at its finest. This movie is so far away from anime cliches and stereotypes. The songs in this movie have great singers behind them. Its a really underrated gem.
|Storytelling:||9/10 – Ah, the realism! The subtlety!|
|Characters:||8/10 – Simple characters that don’t try to pretend that they’re something they’re not.|
|Production-Values:||9/10 – Excellent songs.|
|Setting:||8/10 – Great depiction of Japan in 1956|