There Is Far More to Animation Than Just Disney/Pixar
Pompo: The Cinéphile
(likely PG-13) –
Genre: Animation, Comedy, Drama
Year Released: 2021 (Japan,) Fathom Events (2022)
Runtime: 1h 34m
Director(s): Takayuki Hirao
Writer(s): Shôgo Sugitani(manga), Takayuki Hirao
Japanese Voice Cast: Konami Kohara (Pompo,) Hiroya Shimizu (Gene,) Rinka ÅŒtani (Natalie/Lily,) Akio Ohtsuka (Martin/D’Albert,) Ai Kakuma (Mystia / Marina)
English Voice Cast: Brianna Gentilella (Pompo,) Christopher Trindade (Gene,) Jackie Lastra (Natalie/Lily,) Kenneth Cavett (Martin/D’Albert,) Anne Yatco (Mystia / Marina)
Where To Watch: Available digitally on June 28 and in a Blu-ray Disc/DVD combo on July 12
For the longest time, I was a stubborn film fan (still am to some extent), but this was regarding what anime (animation originating from Japan) I would watch. I didn’t have a good argument for being so selective; other than that, I wasn’t educated on the topic. I knew Studio Ghibli (SPIRITED AWAY, MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO, and many more classics). Still, other than that, I wasn’t familiar with this giant pool of film that was vast and seemingly never-ending. Thankfully that all changed a few years ago when I randomly started testing the waters when the 2019 film WEATHERING WITH YOU was released at a local theater. I took a chance, and an entire world of film options opened to me.
I noticed that the distributor in the US was almost consistently GKIDS; if there's a great animation from Japan being released in the US, they are almost always attached. When I saw this being released as a Fathom Event (sadly nowhere near me), I reached out to see if I could screen the film for you guys. Thankfully I heard back and was thrilled; I thoroughly enjoyed the movie from start to finish. It had a nice story and beautiful animation from start to finish. On that note, I found it interesting that it felt like different animation styles were used throughout the film. Our lead (Pompo) seemed to have the more straightforward, almost cell-shaded style as though she was ripped straight from the pages of her Manga (a type of Japanese comic book and graphic novel, typically aimed at adults as well as children.) After all, the film is based on that; most of the remaining characters had the more in-depth style that I’m used to, with a lot more shading and more human-style features overall. This is the first time I’ve noticed that, and I thought it added a unique twist to the film.
The film is a love letter to filmmaking while also parodying it. One of the film parts that I didn’t fully understand was the insistence on cutting the movie they were making down. I didn’t immediately get that but connecting the industry's desire for shorter runtimes at the cost of the director's vision was brilliant. Although I feel that film studios slowly are realizing that if they have a great film, audiences can and will sit through a three-hour movie without issue. (THE BATMAN, AVENGERS: ENDGAME, ZACK SNYDER’S JUSTICE LEAGUE, etc.)
I honestly can’t recommend this enough; I can’t wait to get it when it’s released and add it to my collection!
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