Posted on 28 December 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews



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

5 Responses

  1. karry says:

    The fabled 85/100 strikes again !

  2. psgels says:

    Lol. Where were you during my past four reviews?

  3. Gottis says:

    This looks really interesting. (of course I’m still trying to locate the Barefoot Gen movies. It was one of the very first manga I ever read, translated to Swedish. O.o;; )

  4. mei says:

    haha. i only stumbled upon this after i heard KOKIA’s theme for it. beautiful song, wonderfully told tale of how the kids especially coped with life in war times.
    thanks for the review, psgels.

  5. Wow, very interesting review. Slice of life is my favorite genre, so I will definitively check out this movie… but I hope to watch it once I become fluent in Japanese hehe

    Thanks for sharing! :D

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  • K-Off
    (Saturday, Aug 2. 2014 09:05 AM)
    @Wicked Yup. Though he did have his off-hand moments, he’s one of the most active film makers I know, second only to someone like Tim Burton or Ted Raimi.
  • Wicked
    (Saturday, Aug 2. 2014 08:59 AM)
    @k-off well sometimes transcendence is not the same as greatness. he’s arguably a way better director and producer than he ever was a an Actor
  • K-Off
    (Saturday, Aug 2. 2014 08:55 AM)
    @Wicked True, but it’s obviously not what he wants to be just remembered as. He is a great writer and director, and that’s a fact too easily forgotten nowadays.
  • Wicked
    (Saturday, Aug 2. 2014 08:49 AM)
    @k-off Well he kind of defined the modern western cinematic hero.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Aug 2. 2014 08:49 AM)
    @K-off: Pecks a great actor, he was also in the omen which is one of my favourite old horrors.
  • K-Off
    (Saturday, Aug 2. 2014 08:48 AM)
    @Emma Oh, I absolutely loved the film adaptation with Gregory Peck as Atticus.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Aug 2. 2014 08:47 AM)
    feck..how’ I forget lone wof and cub, along with zatoichi.
  • K-Off
    (Saturday, Aug 2. 2014 08:46 AM)
    @Wicked I find that people focus way too much on Clint Eastwood’s acting career, personal gripe of mine. Mostly the younger kids though.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Aug 2. 2014 08:45 AM)
    @Wicked: Must read.
  • Wicked
    (Saturday, Aug 2. 2014 08:45 AM)
    holy crap there is a Barakmon spin off manga call Young Barakmon about Handa’s high school years

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