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.|