Interesting for its sensitive portrayal of social ostracism and contemporary Japanese corporate culture. These two things are strongly linked in the corporate village, where the children's view of their society is dominated by what happens at the company. It is at once cozy and perverse.
I like the linear span of the narrative and the continuing neo-realist depiction of the crowd psychology of young children (all boys), but the plot is both muddled and improbable, and the pace too slow. The feminist message, if any, is weak, and the character of Rōkai, the apparently conflicted, perhaps antisocial bureaucratic villain, is interesting but doesn't carry the film. Children in the Wind, though less subtle, is more enjoyable.