Way before this review will ever see the light of day, alfredopasta actually did a write up on this film. He actually brings up the critical point that the main actress, and his reason for watching, Hanazawa Kana is a voice actress first and foremost before being an actress. Which, is actually my reason for watching.
I was incredibly curious about how a voice actress would transition from one to another. There is a whole industry of voice actors who specialize in doing the voice overs in film, rather then for specific characters but that’s another post. Going back to my main point is that, Hanazawa Kana has probably voiced a character that you know in anime, and she’s gotten some pretty insane awards along with it. Seeing how she would do in front of the camera rather then behind it (so to speak) would be interesting regardless. If you want to follow along and watch I’d head back to the Al’s post and click the video link listed there.
Without further ado, let’s get into some details.
Story: Kaede An (Hanazawa Kana) is a recently awarded story book author. Even after traveling abroad and meeting her fans, she returns home still in a slump for her second book. Both her cat, Pero and her agent seem exasperated with her about this half a year slump. One day her cat disappears, and mysterious messages appears on various sign boards around her small town. Kaede must unlock the mystery of these messages in order to find Pero and a secret about her father, a novelist.
I’m not going to lie, even for an art film the presentation is intersting but messy. There are a lot of rather regular elements to the story, and then PLOT TWIST things change immediately to the point where you might get whip lash. You would think the pacing couldn’t be that fast for a 50 minute film but you would be wrong. A lot of the elements clear themselves up naturally, but this is a film where you need to be paying attention the entire time.
Characters: The cast isn’t that big to really remark on. It’s an art film, so I was surprised they managed to grab Shigemitsu Ogi, a veteran for Kaede’s father in the film. There’s no glaring holes in any of the cast, aside from some needed comedic relief exaggerations at the beginning.
As to what I thought about Hanazawa Kana’s debut role: Solid. There was no particular oomph or ‘damn I’m gonna cry’ moment with her that would have made remark about her more highly. Her vocal delivery of her lines; precise, well delivered, the correct accentuation for the scene was impeccable and to be expected. However, her physical acting as a character in the series was… so-so.
Kaede’s role as the protagonist is important to the film, as she is the backbone. However, towards the end of the film around 35 minutes in the momentum Kaede has, both due to her experience as an live-action actress and how the film is set up, wanes and it’s noticeable. Should the film not have been set up the way it was, which was to have Shigemitsu pick up the last 20 or so minutes, there would have been problems. This hiccup, is not Kana’s fault and by no means a huge detriment. It’s intentional and it’s well played.
I suspect if she had built her way up in cameo’s, small one-ep roles, into a supporting actress and then jumped into a leading role I would have felt a little bit different. Given her circumstances and the decision of the director though, she started off as a leading lady so I gotta hand it to her for not getting completely derailed. Given some smaller parts and a bit more coaching on mannerisms she could become quite the actress.
Here’s hoping she gets the opportunity to try some other roles.
Cinematography: For an art film, it’s not too whacked out in left field. This is a made for TV adaptation (if I’m not mistaken)/ short film so the shots were crisp and well executed. There’s good use of lighting, and set changes to make it clear where certain parts are headed. Well, mostly headed. I disagree with the scene that caused Kana to derail mid-movie, since the set change is what made me feel like Kana was off and it’s hard to explain without spoiling elements of the story that Al didn’t spoil so I don’t want to…. Anyway, it’s well done for what it is.
Other Thoughts/Overall: It’s a unique premise and who doesn’t love a good story about a girl and her cat?! Or maybe a daughter and her father? It’s rather short, and to the point so if you need something to watch while eating (like I did) give this a whirl. As an added bonus Kana did the main theme song for the film as well (she’s an almost triple threat now!). It’s a nice soft piece to introduce someone into live actions via a voice actress. Again, many thanks to Al for doing a write up and linking it so I could get in on the action too!