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BRAVE STORY (Japanese)

  Publicity Stills of "Brave Story"
(Courtesy from Cathay-Keris Films)

In Japanese with English and Chinese Subtitles
Director: Koichi Chigira
Cast (Voice): Yo Oizumi, Eilji Wentz
Runtime: 1 hr 52 mins
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films
Rating: PG

Opening Day: 16 August 2007


Wataru is an ordinary, eleven-year-old kid whose world has just collapsed around him. His father has walked out on the family and his mother is in the hospital for attempted suicide. All he wants now is his old secure and comfortable life back. When he discovers a magic gateway to another world called "Vision," Wataru literally leaps at the opportunity. Before he can save his family, he'll need to do battle with a world of demons, his own friends and ultimately, himself!

Movie Review:

Anyone who has had a childhood will love this anime movie about well, as the title already indicates, bravery. And anyone who has had a childhood will reminisce about the fantasy, the adventure, the exploration quest we all wish we could have. And anyone who has had a childhood will be evoked by certain important events that marked those earlier simpler years.

If the earlier The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (Mamoru Hosoda) left you enchanted, then this anime would also captivate you with its engaging storytelling.

The Koichi Chigira-directed picture tells the tale of an 11-year-old who enters a magic gateway to change his destiny. There, he gets to know new friends, fight demons and ultimately grow to be brave and make decisions that will impact his life forever.

Sounds like a typical coming-of-age story which you have seen somewhere else? True, the adaptation of Miyuki Miyabe-written novel is nothing new or refreshing: you’ve heard plots which inspire young ones to be true to themselves in countless Disney movies, but there is something timeless in sincere storylines like these which never fail to touch emotionally.

And although the creatures look Ghibli-inspired, and the European influence is evident in the buildings and landscapes in this movie, your imagination and sense of wonder can still run wild with the out-of-this-world creatures like an acrobatic kitten, a water lizard traveler, a baby dragon, a psychotic frog demon and many other adorable creatures that will make you go “aww…”.

The animation technique used here may not be anything technologically wowing, but the pleasing soft pastel colors and the occasional computer animation is still refreshing and pleasant to look at.

This movie may not go down history as a classic anime to remember by, but like all rousing and moving anime flicks, this one draws a parallel between fantasy and real life so that viewers can bring home something relevant to their lives after leaving the theatre. The enjoyably accessible movie with a well-meaning message will leave both kids and adults certain relevant issues.

And because this movie isn’t targeted at the young ones alone, it will make the cynic in us wonder about how far we have come today, how busy and unaffectionate we have become, and how some unimportant matters have taken control of our routine lives, and how simple it is to forget that we once had a childhood that we truly enjoyed.

Movie Rating:

(An agreeable anime with heart that will enchant both kids and grown-ups)

Review by John Li


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