In This Corner of the World

The 40th Japan Academy, the best film for Animation of the Year was awarded to “In This Corner of the World.”  I bet whoever was watching the ceremony on TV like me must be surprised to know the winner because one of the candidates included “Your Name,” the animation film which made a huge hit all over the world last year. 

I did not know much about this winning film, so I rushed to a movie theater to watch “In This Corner of the World” the next day.  The film-making project started by making a sample promotion film for the first 6 years.  The team used a cloud funding, a new grass-roots movement to save an initial money of 20 million yen.  After putting pieces of tiny effort together, the project ended up being a big success as a motion picture so as to draw lots of audience because it made them impressed.  I think it has a significant meaning that this film was supported by so many people this year, in 2017.

The movie focuses on a new young wife, Suzu, who is cheerful and dreamily but lives bravely.  Her everyday life is so charming that it makes audience laugh and draws tears.  This movie is dealing with a depressing theme and yet it shows what it’s like to be living during a war in such a manner that those who don’t feel like watching, so-called, ‘war movies’ can still take it in. 

I felt relieved at the last scene of the movie where it focused on Suzu who determined to survive the postwar life cheerfully and bravely as she also determined to keep a good relationship with her family and kind people around her. 

Above of all, this movie described in fine detail how happily and actively the local people used to spend each day in Hiroshima before the atomic bomb was dropped.  It was completely different from the present landscape of Hiroshima, where the Atomic Bomb Dome stands lonely.  The fact that Hiroshima used to be so full of life and animated place touches the heart of audience.  The fact includes the beauty of Hiroshima before it burnt down that no one has never talked out loud. 

Precise and enormous historical investigation enabled to reproduce the warmth of people and their happy life.  I cannot help admiring so much effort that the team had invested.  If you watch this movie again and again, I became to realize some tragedies are hidden in the movie. 

“The school girls heading toward the factory may have died…” 

“The red-light district in Kure area turned out to be burnt-out ruins, so did the prostitute who talked to Suzu in the movie die too?” 

“What about Suzu’s childhood friend who came to see her, the one in the Navy; did he survive?”

“What about her mother and sister who were living in Hiroshima City?”

 As we look into what lies behind the scenes, we tend to find something more significant.  This movie, “In This Corner of This World” and its original work in three comic books are both worth watching and reading.  I sincerely recommend this movie so many people will have chance to know what was normal during the war time that we did not know.