If there is one thing one should appreciate when it comes to the Ottawa International Animation Festival, it’s the opportunity to admire the different ways animation can be used as a medium to tell stories from all over the world. I recently had the chance to watch one of my most anticipated films of the entire festival, “Yoruma Mijikashi Arukeyo Otome”, and I left the theatre really satisfied.
The film is an adaptation of Tomihiko Morimi’s novel of the same name. It follows the adventures of Otome, a young girl with an incredible amount of positive energy. The entire narrative structure is often flipped on its head as Otome goes through her many adventures which all take place in one night. Some of them involve drinking contests, romance, a theatrical production and a tornado. But what really makes this film such an interesting piece of art is the animation style itself. Indeed, Masaaki Yuasa borrows from his previous work and really unapologetically allows himself to go in all the directions possible. From the colour palette to the over exaggerated facial expressions, the visuals used in this film remain captivating all the way through.
In addition of being very well drawn and overall hilarious, Yoruma Mijikashi Arukeyo Otome also tackles some very dark subject matter such as depression, loneliness and addiction. Yes, it does remain a comedy and we rarely see our main character go through something she can’t easily handle. But just like its source material, this adaptation doesn’t shy away from serious issues just for the sake of holding on to its comedic tone and mature humor. And besides, this film has enough of charming characters with intriguing side stories to offer all the comedic relief needed.
As far as we are concerned, Yoruma Mijikashi Arukeyo Otome has earned itself a GOLD rating.