Reviews of Modest Heroes (2018) and related work

Modest Heroes (2018Moving picture)

Seen in 2019.

An anthology, billed as volume 1.

animation fiction Japanese production moving picture series

“Kanini & Kanino” (2018Moving picture)

Yonebayashi Hiromasa (writer-director).

Seen in 2019.

Aquatic little people.

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 entry fiction Japanese production moving picture

“Life Ain’t Gonna Lose” (2018Moving picture)

Momose Yoshiyuki (writer-director).

Seen in 2019.

Serious allergy.

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 entry fiction Japanese production moving picture

“Invisible” (2018Moving picture)

Yamashita Akihiko (writer-director).

Seen in 2019.

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

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 entry fiction Japanese production moving picture

“The Modest Heroes of Studio Ponoc” (2019Moving picture, 21 minutes)

Seen in 2019.

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

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 a sign of respect for all people.

documentary Japanese production moving picture non-fiction