In this comedy about one epic night in Kyoto, a college sophomore goes on a series of surreal encounters with the local nightlife, all the while unaware of the romantic longings of her classmate Senpai.
As a group of teens go out for a night on the town, a sophomore known only as "The Girl with Black Hair" experiences a series of surreal encounters with the local nightlife - all the while unaware of the romantic longings of Senpai, a fellow student who has been creating increasingly fantastic and contrived reasons to run into her, in an effort to win her heart.
The film follows two people. Otome (Kana Hanazawa), a woman who has a strong taste for alcohol, and seems entirely more optimistic than the world that surrounds her. Unbeknownst to her, a man who we only know as Senpai (Gen Hoshino) is madly in love with her, and has strategized a method of "happening" to run into her. This night is different, as Senpai decides he is going to confess his love to her, but each attempt is hijacked by the seemingly endless adventure that Otome finds herself in, meeting all sorts of interesting individuals along the way.
I rarely go out of my way to seek out foreign films before (or if) they get a United States release, but after seeing the trailer for this film, I knew that I had to see it one way or another.
The artistic style that is used in this movie that also so seamlessly helps the story move along is truly impressive. I truly believe this is the most beautifully anime film I have seen in awhile. Its unique style along is something to gawk at.
Even more important is the fantastic comedy that you'll find in this film with the ridiculous situations that you find our characters in. It carries a level of awareness that really gets you when it wants to.
I found myself absolutely absorbed into the story that was being told in this film, and truly felt for each character that was brought into the film. Otome's spirit makes her an endearing character you love keeping up with, while Senpai's determination makes him another character that you're rooting for all the way to the end. Each character has a developed personality, and is really a character of their own. I never felt like any character was interchangeable, each was their own distinct person. They add to this movie's world.
This is really a film that you need to see for yourself, because as soon as I thought I had figured out what this film was going to be like, it suddenly changes into a musical. Which fits into the story! It is rooted in reality at times, and then for specific moments it gets far away from reality and almost feels like a fantasy picture with incredible visuals. They also make a great usage of a dream sequence to symbolize something that is happening in the plot.
There are so many topics that are involved in this film, I can't possibly unwrap them all here in one review, but I will cover the ones that stuck out to me the most. The first part of the film has a heavy use of alcohol, alcohol launches Otome's whole adventure, it also shows how in a big town like Kyoto, Otome and her two newly found friends begin to link up with people throughout the town to barhop together. We see how they come together for a good time, the link between them being alcohol. Three separate parties come together to enjoy drink.
You see the theme of love covered throughout the film, especially with how important Senpai makes him confessing to Otomo. This is a long withheld love, that he is finally coming around to the fact that he needs to express it to her. Don is another character who has vowed not to change his underwear until he reunites with a woman he fell in love with a long time ago. Strange? Yes. Strangely romantic? Also yes. Senpai also brings forward the discussion of anxiety as well as the self-esteem issues. Otome also demonstrates the idea of constantly moving forward without taking the time to pay attention to the people around you. You can see this through the whole night of the film, she's constantly walking somewhere while Senpai is somewhere behind, trying to catch up with her, but he just can't stop getting into the bizarre situations.
Overall, this film is a super entertaining romp that doesn't seem to stammer or drag at any point. The voice actors really bring the characters to life along with the fantastic animation. If the story doesn't entertain you, it will at least keep you enthralled with the beautiful visuals. I can't say that this film is for everyone, due to the insane structure and frequent changes made to the style of film. I can say however that this is one of the best anime films I've ever seen. It is definitely worth a watch if you think this is a film you can get with. A love story, actually, multiple love stories that will pull at your heart strings, and keep you roaring with laughs at the same time, while touching down on some major topics in amazing ways.
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