Let’s start with some anime big boys of the last year of the last decade where they all basically establish their house styles. Shinkai with his obsessions for both background arts and teen romance, Yuusa for his distinctive and unconventional vision and Studio Trigger for their colorful, loud and rush-of-adrenaline qualities. Not all of them are successful, but it’s clear that their ambitions alone make them a worthy watch already. Check the reviews out below:
Weathering With You (2019)
Your Name took the world by storm and that clearly puts Weathering With You in a tight situation. Any sort of comparison to Your Name will be made, and for me that’s kind of unfair for this film. I followed his works way back to The Place Promised in Our Early Days so I know he has more to offer (it also struck me that Your Name isn’t his best effort), and at first glance, Weathering With You seems embrace many of Shinkai’s best traits: his love for gorgeous background arts and his passion for teen drama-romance. The first half of the film delivers those promises, when the gorgeous background arts of clouds and rains figuratively become foreground as they play as a central plot, and the chemistry between the leads are solid. The second half, however, is a misstep for me as Weathering With You leans heavily towards overblown romance (something that I always have issues with) and I still can’t get over the head scratching resolution the film comes up with. In the end, Weathering with You is fascinating in parts but never comes together as a whole.
(2 / 4)
Ride Your Wave (2019)
I approached Ride Your Wave with medium-low expectations since Yuasa’s characters (except from when he adapts Morimi’s works) have never connected to me on a personal level. Ride Your Wave thankfully doesn’t have that issue, and while it is admittedly light on plot, it more than compensates with its wild visuals and its emotional resonance. I’m a sucker for themes about the grieving process, for example, and the movie succeeds in dealing with Hinako’s slow process of coming to terms with her loss and eventually letting it go. As with every Yuasa joint, you can expect high quality in terms of animation and aesthetics. Every shot is a painting with detailed animation, especially when it comes to the surfing sequences, and the film’s expressive movement gives each character their own mannerisms. The film is not quite at the level of his masterpiece works, but in all fairness it never tries to become one, and for what it sets out to achieve, it does the job magnificently.
(3 / 4)
Studio Trigger’s anime is often regarded as one of the most “anime” anime in the industry today, for better or for worse. The studio’s style is a prime example of “more is more” and its energy alone can easily sweep viewers away. Promare is up to that standard, and then some. It’s certainly loud, silly, colorful, over the top and never take a single damn moment to slow down, but that’s exactly the appeals of Promare. The visual is spectacular, energetic and refreshing and the animation can go extra cartoony but superbly detailed. On the negative side, the jokes are lame at times, the plot randomly connects one event to another, and the characters are gloriously dumb. So dumb that sometimes it’s refreshing to watch. Promare is all style-over-substance, but it makes a pretty damn good case that with enough love and passion style itself can breathe into the world and become an integral part of its substance.