Posted on 16 July 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews




Rintarou. He’s one of my favourite movie directors, only surpassed by Satoshi Kon (and perhaps Hayao Miyazaki, but that’s more because Hayao Miyazaki is incredibly consistent, while Rintarou most definitely isn’t). Yona Yona Penguin was his latest work, so I’ve been wanting to check it out for a long time, but it just didn’t show up anywhere. After watching it, I can sort of understand why: it’s a kids’ movie that’s completely different from any other series he has directed or worked on, and entirely in 3D CG. I really liked it, though.

Now, Yona Yona Penguin is neither nowhere near Rintarou’s best nor his worst work. It is merely a whimsical really young kids adventure: the main character is around six or seven years old, and the entire movie has this mentality. It doesn’t try to be anything other than that (a mistake that actually a number of other movies of this genre did make, like Haruka and the magic mirror for example), and just focuses on delivering a heartfelt and adorable adventure. And succeeds.

Let me get this out of the way here: Yona Yona Penguin is absolutely adorable. The main character runs, jumps and dances around the entire movie in a penguin coat. The soundtrack is as whimsical as the premise of this movie and only makes her even more fun to watch. She’s really just an innocent child who likes to play around, yet also is serious enough to know when not to goof off and continue on with the plot of the movie. A plot that seems simple at first, but becomes surprisingly heartfelt after a while due to a number of simple but interesting twists.

Rintarou’s experience also really helps during the finale of this movie. I mean, you shouldn’t expect anything as amazing as Metropolis or anything, but nevertheless the climax of this movie is beautiful wonderfully atmospheric. This is something where a lot of other movies don’t know how to deliver, but here it’s the highlight of the entire movie.

It’s a kids’ movie, but if you’re looking for something really innocent, then this fits the bill. Just know that it’s entirely based on kids’ logic: it’s not supposed to be logical…

Storytelling: 9/10 – Ah, why not? This has a childish innocence that a lot of other kids’ movies and series lack, and even during the dramatic parts, it never lets go of this innocence.
Characters: 8/10 – They’re kids, and the characters feel like kids. At first they’re simple, but the movie gives main cast some surprising depth.
Production-Values: 8/10 – 3D CG entirely, which doesn’t look as good as regular 2D animation, but it still has a number of gorgeous scenes. The soundtrack is also really excellent.
Setting: 8/10 – Actually a ton of creativity went into this, from the backgrounds to the world it’s set in. It’s imaginative, yet retains its simplicity.

Suggestions:
Andersen Monogatari
Swan Lake
Metropolis

2 Responses

  1. tomphile says:

    It’s nice to see something besides pure anime on this blog.

    So, if it’s not the best and not the worst, is this mediocre in terms of what the producer can create?

  2. psgels says:

    If it was created by any random new director, it would have been a very good movie. “Mediocre” is a bit of a negative word, but for Rintarou’s standards it’s pretty much middle of the road.

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  • Bam
    (Monday, Sep 1. 2014 10:03 AM)
    @K-off: Don’t get me wrong, I heard good things about it, but flight simulators just aren’t my thing. It seems to have a slow learning curve as well, which might be the thing keeping it niche.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Sep 1. 2014 10:00 AM)
    @Emma: if you have access to any type of computer right now then there really isn’t any excuse left not to, as it has aged very gracefully. The heavy noir jazz-fueled adventure in a 1950s south American land of the dead never really gets old and just oozes with style, witty dialogue and tons of charm. A timeless masterpiece of the medium by far.
  • Yuko
    (Monday, Sep 1. 2014 09:59 AM)
    @K-Off God damn, that sounds like hell.
  • K-Off
    (Monday, Sep 1. 2014 09:56 AM)
    @Yuko People who want the ultimate sandbox experience. It just comes at the cost of your time, effort, and knowledge, which is why KSP is a great game.
  • Yuko
    (Monday, Sep 1. 2014 09:53 AM)
    Who in their right mind, would play a game as hard as Kerbal Space Program??
  • K-Off
    (Monday, Sep 1. 2014 09:50 AM)
    @Emma Yeah, Binding of Isaac was a pretty drab game I couldn’t bring myself to finish. The weird shit gets old surprisingly quickly.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Sep 1. 2014 09:48 AM)
    I watched my brother play super meat boy, cave story, binding of Issac.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Sep 1. 2014 09:48 AM)
    At the very least I can remember articles/screenshots about grim fandango when it originally came out, but at the time I only had Nintendo and sega consoles.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Sep 1. 2014 09:47 AM)
    @K-off: yeah but most adventure games (specially indie ones) are pretty approachable and designed with the casual crowd in mind. A space flight simulator is another thing entirely.
  • K-Off
    (Monday, Sep 1. 2014 09:45 AM)
    Speaking of adventure games, I’m sure you’ve heard of The Journey Down. The second chapter came out just last week, but it’s literally been years since I played the first chapter, so I’m going to have to jog my memory.

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