Children Who Chase Voices from Deep Below (2011)
Director: Makoto Shinkai ; Screenplay: Makoto Shinkai
Cast: Hisako Kanemoto, Kazuhiko Inoue, Miyu Irino
Asuna is a young girl who meets a mysterious boy who saves her from a “bear creature” that most definitely isn’t a bear. It turns out that this creature comes from beneath the earth, from a world called Agartha where the boy also comes from. Asuna’s new subsitute teacher, Mr. Morisaki, at school also has a keen interest in Agartha as it is rumoured that in that realm it is possible to bring dead ones back to life at a place called the Gate of Life and Death. Asuna and Morisaki end up journeying into Agartha in search of this place.
This is a fantasy oriented tale and has some magnificently drawn images. The art is truly breath-taking and worth it alone to watch the film. The story and characters though are less ambitious by comparison. The characters aren’t simple but they lack that added depth to make them really interesting and more than your typical archetypes. Some of the fantasy elements like the clavis aren’t really explained and seem to act like magical objects capable of doing whatever serves the purpose of the story. There are also dangling albeit minor plot lines left by the end. The ending is fine but you feel like there was a much bigger, more epic story in this world that could not possibly be covered by a single film.