Twilight / 薄暮 [hakubo] (2019)
Director & Writer: Yutaka Yamamoto
Cast: Hiyori Sakurada, Seishiro Kato
A female freshman, Sachi, who likes to play the violin and a male freshman, Kijinami, who likes to paint meet at a bus stop. Sachi enjoys seeing the countryside during twilight just after the sun sets and part of the sky turns green. Kijinami likes to draw outdoor scenery and the two students strike up a friendship and potentially more.
This is apparently the third movie of a trilogy of movies that deal with the aftermath of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. It’s a short one that a bit less than an hour but it uses that time effectively to delivery a simple but endearing story.
The visuals are beautiful. The background art of the outdoor scenery and the colors at twilight are gorgeous. The character designs are simple with the typical big eyes and no noses (or barely any with a single line at most). This juxtaposition of simple characters with realistic backgrounds is always something that bothers me but that’s practically standard for most Japanese anime. Scenes of Sachi and her friends practicing their instruments for a music show are also fairly well done.
Sachi’s friends are a pretty amusing bunch, especially the one that is always jealous and accuses Sachi of ditching practice to be with her “boyfriend” at every opportunity. The blossoming teen romance that occurs is gradual, innocent and so typical yet so sweet to watch.
There’s really nothing original here but it’s executed well. It’s a nice, little viewing experience.
Seen in the theater at Fantasia
This movie was preceded by a short, A Japanese Boy Who Draws. It was an amusing short of a boy who wants to be a manga artist but as he grows older gradually sees how difficult it is to become successful. The movie starts out with kiddie drawings that are animated and as the kid grows older the art becomes better and more sophisticated until it transition to real life actors in black and white when he is 30 years old. It’s a visually interesting choice that helps to show the progression of the boy at different ages.