Posted by psgels on 27 February 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews



In 1977, the people from Sanrio came together and determined that kids’ movies overall were a bit too happy and cheerful. So, with some excellent writers and one heck of a catchy theme song, they created Chirin no Suzu. A story that does exactly the opposite of what the cover seems to suggest.

Believe me, this movie is dark. It’s still aimed at children, but unlike the vast majority of the other movies of this genre, it refuses to dumb itself down for its audience. It starts out as your general lamb versus wolf story, but quickly steps away from all other stories that follow the same trope. It’s packed with mature life lessons and morals that other kids’ movies usually just gloss over, or refuse to even mention.

Let me tell you what makes this such a great movie, though: it’s a movie entirely dedicated to character development. It’s a character study, and a wonderful one. The movie is only forty minutes long, but it’s entirely dedicated to the lead character, Chirin, learning new things and changing significantly because of this.

It does have some flaws though. The only available version seems to be an English dub. Most of the voices are very good (especially the voice of the wolf is awesome), though the voice for the little lead sheep can be very hammy. This does lead to a number of very melodramatic scenes that really could have been done more subtle.

Now, the character designs are very simple. At first sight they may not look like much, but the inbetween animation is actually very good here. It’s very smooth, especially for an anime. Overall, if you don’t mind the melodrama and are looking for an old, yet different movie, this is a very interesting one to watch.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Dark and very violent for a kids’ movie, but packs a great story with many morals and life lessons. At times it’s overdramatic, though.
Characters: 9/10 – Great character development that is really well used.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Okay, so it looks dated, but the inbetween animation still is very good and the soundtrack is excellent as well.
Setting: 8/10 – Not the main focus of this movie at all, but doesn’t get in the way of what’s important.

Suggestions:
A Tree of Palme
The Dog of Flanders
Oseam

12 Responses

  1. darkerthanblackswordsman says:

    Actually, bakabt.com has an original japanese audio version. After reading this review I immediately started to download :-)

  2. Firechick says:

    Yay! You reviewed it! I love this movie! It’s one of my favorites of all time (right next to Dog of Flanders, which still surpasses it)! The darkest thing I’ve ever seen (next to Madoka Magica)! I’m glad you liked it!

  3. brianwuzhere says:

    @Firechick, and there is my motivation for watching this.

  4. Puran says:

    Sooo, it’s like the complete opposite of Welcome to the Space Show? :P

  5. Firechick says:

    @Puran: OH yeah.

  6. Sapphire says:

    I found an English dub version on isohunt, but it has only 10 seeds and 0 leechers :( Does anyone know of a better version? Not raw, because I don’t understand Japanese.

  7. darkerthanblackswordsman says:

    @Sapphire: See the very first comment :-)

  8. Keros says:

    I love this movie, if you can, try to watch it in the Japanese. I know the Japanese version does exist. The English dub actually added extra narration and sound effects that were really unnecessary.

  9. Sapphire says:

    @darkerthanblackswordsman: When you said “original japanese audio version” I thought you meant a raw version. I’m downloading from bakabt now, thanks! ^^

  10. Rena says:

    Oh wow this brings back memories haha I watched this when I was young in chinese dub… and yes it was pretty scary when you’re watching this as a kid.

  11. kuromitsu says:

    Wow! Your review piqued my interest in this movie so I watched it (thank god for bakabt!) and just… wow. Even though I expected it to be darker and heavier than your typical children’s show, it still caught me off guard. It’s a very good character study(well, it’s a bit anvilicious but that comes with the intended audience), and I really like the way it handled Chirin’s and Woo’s character, their relationship, and their eventual fate. Cautionary tale, indeed.

    It’s amusing to compare this to Arashi no yoru ni, which is yet another story about a wolf and a sheep, albeit very different from this one…

  12. kuromitsu says:

    Forgot to add – I loved the way Woo was animated. I don’t know who did his animation but it was excellent.

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  • k-off
    (Thursday, Nov 27. 2014 10:15 AM)
    Hell, my favorite game of all time is far superior to Dark Souls in every possible way, yet the only thing that keeps me playing is the atmosphere and charm the game has in its combat.
  • k-off
    (Thursday, Nov 27. 2014 10:10 AM)
    @Bam I’ll argue that the gameplay in Dark Souls was the best. Dark Souls II was the worst in terms of gameplay (within the series, so still better than most in its genre) which ended up pissing me off. As for story and writing, who the hell plays this series for the story??
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Nov 27. 2014 09:31 AM)
    That I don’t like FMPs humour probably explains alot why I couldn’t laugh at amagi, same author.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Nov 27. 2014 09:30 AM)
    Moreso that the episodic stories were more miss than hit and the pacing needed alot of work.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Nov 27. 2014 09:29 AM)
    it wasn’t well balanced out with the main storyline and aside from Yin I can’t remember the characters having much to them. The ideas behind the contractors was creative and it was well produced, second season had that off the wall awful ending and also focused too much on that teenage girland “character death for Hei”.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Nov 27. 2014 09:28 AM)
    @Realist: Dark comedy would be more my thing so school rumble and FMP didn’t cut it and I particularly went against FMP for focusing too much of the school over action stuff. Darker than black felt like a waste of potential, wasted as an episodic thing,
  • ninjarealist
    (Thursday, Nov 27. 2014 09:12 AM)
    @Emma I could never get into Darker Than Black either. School Rumble had some moments but mostly just bored me to tears. I did like Full Metal Panic though but it’s super generic. I could see that being one of those shows that I like less after rewatching it.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Nov 27. 2014 09:07 AM)
    @Realist: And theres things I’ve watched a few times and could never get into such as school rumble, full metal panic, darker than black.
  • ninjarealist
    (Thursday, Nov 27. 2014 09:02 AM)
    @Emma Rewatching is the real acid test for anime. Shows that I loved the first time around seemed terrible on the second and third viewings. On the other hand, there are some shows I didn’t appreciate fully until I watched them multiple times.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Nov 27. 2014 08:59 AM)
    I think I am in a re-reading/re-watch phase perhaps now, which is good because all that old stuff will feel new again in my head when I go back, can live it all over again.

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