Reviews

Modest Heroes (2018) IMDb

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Commentary

An anthology, billed as volume 1.

animation fiction Japanese production moving picture series

Documentary:

“The Modest Heroes of Studio Ponoc” (2019) IMDb

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Subject

Producer Nishimura Yoshiaki talks about the collection at length. English-language dub actress Maggie Q is cut in briefly, talking about her role as the mother in “Life Ain’t Gonna Lose” (2018).

Commentary

A minimal talking-head production, yet there are some interesting details in here about the transition from Ghibli and the artistic collaboration between producer and directors. Nishimura relates how, sitting in a chain coffee shop, he pitched an invisible man to Yamashita for “Invisible” (2018) with the argument that the would-be director had probably forgotten the face of the person who’d just served him his beverage. Though Nishimura doesn’t mention it, this is, in itself, carrying on a Ghibli tradition. Miyazaki always used to demand fully detailed characters in backgrounds for a very similar reason: It’s respect for people, not diminishing them.

Japanese production moving picture non-fiction

Entry:

“Kanini & Kanino” (2018)

Creators

Yonebayashi Hiromasa (writer-director).

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Subject

Aquatic little people.

Commentary

The water effects are impressive, but it’s all the scaling flaws of The Secret World of Arrietty (2010) minus speech. The result is curiously similar to “Fish Out of Water”, the silent underwater episode of BoJack Horseman (2014), right down to “Kaka” bringing back a litter to rival that of BoJack’s seahorse.

animation fiction Japanese production moving picture

Entry:

“Life Ain’t Gonna Lose” (2018)

Creators

Momose Yoshiyuki (writer-director).

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Subject

Serious allergy.

Commentary

A sensitively crafted, softly realistic and didactic children’s film. Too bad it doesn’t have time for a plot beyond the egg allergy.

References here: “The Modest Heroes of Studio Ponoc” (2019).

animation fiction Japanese production moving picture

Entry:

“Invisible” (2018)

Creators

Yamashita Akihiko (writer-director).

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Subject

An invisible man goes unnoticed even when carrying a fire extinguisher for added weight.

Commentary

The most original work of the anthology, it develops into an effective metaphor for social invisibility, never stooping to allegory.

References here: “The Modest Heroes of Studio Ponoc” (2019).

animation fiction Japanese production moving picture