Netflix’s new sci-fi anime is amazing in every way except one

BubbleNetflix’s latest anime effort, is one who is who of the anime talent. It is directed by Tetsuro Araki, director of the first seasons of Attack of the Titans, of a script of Psycho Pass i FateZero writer Gen Urobuchi, character designs for Death threat co-creator Takeshi Obata and a song by popular singer Eve.

Unfortunately, this pedigree does not automatically make a good movie. As exciting as it is to see the camera move like a roller coaster during the big parkour sequences, the images are wrapped up in a complicated story with too much confidence in the exposure and thin characters like paper with little detail, agency or development.

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The film is set five years after a disaster flooded Tokyo and surrounded the city in a giant bubble that distorts gravity. Although most people chose to leave, Tokyo quickly became a playground for the many children they left behind. Now the ruins of the ancient capital of Japan have become an obstacle course in a new and dangerous sport, “Tokyo Battlekour”, a race where children climb ruins, avoid dangerous floating bubbles and compete for supplies. of food, beer and fuel.

The plot itself focuses on Hibiki, the best battlekour runner out there, whose sensitivity to sound leads him to a mysterious girl whom he calls Uta (“song” in Japanese). He quickly becomes part of his racing team, an ace to navigate the bubble fields and perhaps the key to undoing the disaster.

Undoubtedly, the great strength of the film is its images. Studio Wit has spent the last decade making a name for itself as one of the most impressive anime studios around the world – whether it’s filming. The attack of the Titans become a pop culture giant, making an acclaimed adaptation of the popular manga Vinland Sagaor last year surprisingly excellent Classification of kingsthe studio has mastered the art of using the language of animation to create unique shows. Bubble is its first completely original concept since 2013 Haland shows how far the study has come.

Tetsuro Araki and his team offer us dynamic camera movements that rotate and jump with the characters, perfectly combining 2D and 3D animation in sequences that resemble the evolution of 3D maneuvering sequences. The attack of the Titans. The first time we see Hibiki in action, where she effortlessly navigates floating debris, bubbles and fierce competitors, is an awesome moment that can only be achieved with animation.

The biggest action in life is augmented by the driving mix of lyrical and rock music provided by Hiroyuki Sawano, Japan’s response to Hans Zimmer. And even in quiet moments, the camera often freezes in the faces of the protagonists, emphasizing their features and making them look like characters from a magnificent cover of light novels.

Wit Studio continues to make a wonderful anime.netflix

But the images can’t support the winding plot, which is complicated to the point that the story stops every few minutes for a new round of exposure. Every 15 minutes or so, a new character stops the action to explain something that the other person already knows clearly, creating awkward and forced scenes clearly designed to indicate to the audience.

The writing is even worse in terms of the characters, who are little more than archetypes. Uta can be essential to history and parallels with The Little Mermaid trying to turn his story into a tragic romance, but it ends up seeming like a simple argument to serve Hibiki’s story, without agency and literally without a voice. Bubble it includes a staggering amount of representation in a medium that doesn’t have it yet, but the characters are too flat to care about.

Bubble includes some of the best action sequels this year, animated or not, but if you want a fairytale-inspired western animated film that really builds on its inspiration and offers a powerful and moving story, better look at Mamoru Hosoda. Nice However.

Bubble streaming on Netflix now.

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