Sep 26, 2014

Anime Review: Nerawareta Gakuen

Nerawareta Gakuen title/logoNow thisthis is a good movie. Superbly animated, wonderfully executed, and a joy to sit through. Other than the slightly confusing ending I’d still say it’s damn near flawless for what it is and sets out to do. It mixes school romance, replete with blushing beauties, a childhood friend, a goofy nice guy, and a dashing new transfer student; with a sci-fi twist of telepathy and time travel. Sure, there are a ton of clichés in this stew but damn if it doesn’t taste delicious.

Ryouichi stands holding his schoolbag behind him in the school hallway waiting to be introduced to his new class

New guy Ryouichi transfers to their school and is instantly the hot gossip topic; all of the girls are just gushing over him, in particular the delicate beauty Kahori our lead goofball Kenji is interested in. Unbeknownst to him all the while his childhood friend and neighbor Natsuki is burning through every last ounce of willpower she has left with this unrequited love thing. It all seems kinda typical at first, but so fantastically animated and directed that I’m gushing more than the girls are over the transfer guy. And besides, actually there’s more going on because Kenji managed to overhear and see Ryouichi using a strange rotating crystal and speaking of the moon…

Kahori looks up from her desk, unsure of her emotions, as a breeze catches her long brown hair

The cast is expertly voiced and the animation is non-stop fluid, dynamic, high-quality, and breathtaking. It is a feast for the senses, as the visual combines with the voices and the excellent sound and music as well. Seriously, it’s ridiculous how good this thing looks and I forget that despite TV anime looking better than ever, nothing beats the quality, scope, and epic style of a capable theatrical endeavor.

Kenji sits eating his lunch on a rock outside in a verdant garden area beside the school building

If it has any faults, they would be with the somewhat confusing ending bits and reveals. The mystery is dangled fairly well and there are some mildly interesting twists but the final climaxes are a bit rushed here and there and it isn’t entirely easy to follow. I’m still not sure what to make of all of it but most of it makes enough sense to still be thoroughly enjoyable. Also, while I generally like supercell’s stuff, I wasn’t digging them this time around for the theme song. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t anything noteworthy either, kinda just there, which is a shame but also not terribly troubling either.

Ryouichi stands casually outside at night looking up at a spectacular glowing energy ball in front of him

Really, though, I’m not sure there’s much more for me to say about ninety minutes of goodness without spoiling, delving into artsy interpretation theories, or both. Thing is, with great stuff it’s hard to find a lot to say, whereas with the stuff I dislike I tend to blather on. So it goes.

And because I keep mentioning how good it looks, here’s a bunch more screenshots because screw your bandwidth.

Natsuki and Kahori walk to school in the spring morning light, a large cherry blossom in the background

Ryouichi looks up, smiling, from a grand piano

Ryouichi stands outside overlooking a balcony as sakura petals and aurora borealis fill the background

While I’m throwing on extras, why not also check out JadeCharm’s AMV which was my original reason for seeking this one out in the first place. Hell, just go watch all of his stuff since he’s really good.

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