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Children Who Chase Lost Voices Blu-ray Review

“Children Who Chase Lost Voices” is a beautiful but clunky anime film.

2011’s “Children Who Chase Lost Voices” (AKA “Children Who Chase Lost Voices From Deep Below”) is a fantasy anime film that revolves around a lonely young girl (Asuna). She lost her father and doesn’t see her mom very much. One day she encounters a boy named Shun and her world becomes turned upside down as she is soon led to an underground world called Agartha filled with creatures, crystals, gatekeepers, magic, and the mysterious Ark of Life. Asuna isn’t the only one venturing to Agartha as a teacher (Morisaki) who is also part of a group (Arch Angels) is looking to reunite with a lost loved one there.

Writer/director Makoto Shinkai (“5 Centimeters Per Second,” “Your Name,” among others) has firmly established himself as one of the premiere anime filmmakers over the years, but “Children Who Chase Lost Voices” is a curious entry in his filmography. On one hand, this is arguably his most stunning movie from an animation perspective. The creature designs, the action, the scope of the world of Agartha are breathtaking to behold. On the other hand, ‘Chase’ feels less like a Shinkai movie and more like a Hayao Miyazaki or Studio Ghibli feature. There’s a lot of “Princess Mononoke,” “Spirited Away” and even “Howl’s Moving Castle” in here. Granted, it’s refreshing to see Shinkai expand his horizons by creating a big fantasy adventure, but it’s also rather puzzling why he’d step outside his emotional character centric tales to create something that doesn’t really feel like a Shinkai film. Sure, there’s still ultimately a character focus as one would expect from a Shinkai film, but it gets a bit lost in this big story.

Speaking of the story, the script itself is an ambitious, unwieldy and overlong tale about loss, tensions between two worlds, magic, and loneliness. There’s a lot of ideas and storylines floating around here that don’t always feel fully formed ala the Arch Angels and the characters of Shin and Shun. Still, it’s nothing if not admirable in its attempts to create an original world.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.78:1 1080p. How does it look? Expect a beautiful hi-def transfer.

Audio Track: English and Japanese 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How do they sound? The English dub is actually strong, but the original language Japanese track is the way to go.

Extras:
* Japanese promo and 3 Japanese trailers
* “Works Of Makoto Shinkai” text
* 55 minutes of interviews with staff and cast that cover everything from the characters to recording.
* A 45 minute making of featurette with clips, interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and more.
* Commentary by Makoto Shinkai and other crew/staff members.

June 18, 2022 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , ,

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