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. Avatar darkerthanblackswordsman says:

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

  2. Avatar 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. Avatar brianwuzhere says:

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

  4. Avatar Puran says:

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

  5. Avatar Firechick says:

    @Puran: OH yeah.

  6. Avatar 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. Avatar darkerthanblackswordsman says:

    @Sapphire: See the very first comment :-)

  8. Avatar 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. Avatar 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. Avatar 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. Avatar 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. Avatar 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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