Anime Review: The House of the Lost on the Cape (2021) by Shinya Kawatsura

The profound cultural influence of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami can’t be overstated. There are numerous examples of how Japanese cinema has been influenced by nationwide disasters over time, with Shinya Kawatsura’s “The Home of the Misplaced on the Cape” marking one of many newest movies to suit into this class. Based mostly on Sachiko Kashiwaba’s award-winning novel of the identical identify, the movie tells a candy and reassuring story centred round grief and household.

“The Home of the Misplaced on the Cape” is screening as a part of the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme

After the Tohoku catastrophe ranges the city of Kitsunezaki, the teenaged Yui (Mana Ashida) makes use of the next commotion to run away from her troubled house life. Shortly after befriending the orphaned Hiyori (Sari Awano) at a aid centre, the 2 women are taken in by Kiwa-san (Shinobu Otake), a mysterious but kindly outdated lady who poses as their grandmother. Transferring into an outdated home on a cape, the three come along with mystical allies to face down an historic risk.

For a movie centred round such a sorrowful occasion, The Home of the Misplaced on the Cape could be very candy and endearing. The dynamic that’s slowly constructed up between Yui and her adopted household is heart-warming to observe develop, particularly as we study extra about her torrid previous. The thought of an outdated stranger adopting two unrelated women could be eyebrow-raising to some, however the movie pokes enjoyable at this with early nods to Hansel & Gretel and Yui’s suspicion that Kiwa is a serial killer. The truth is, the outdated lady isn’t any much less a misfit than the women are, as you get the impression she’s simply as glad to have discovered a household of her personal.

Utilizing the backdrop of the Tohoku catastrophe, the movie explores simply how difficult it may be to let go of despair and transfer ahead. Each Yui and Hiyori wrestle with private loss and strife whereas these residing in Kitsunezaki collectively cope with the aftermath of the earthquake. This grief is infectious and manifests itself as a large, serpent-like creature that threatens the city after being launched by the earthquake. Whereas this literal risk comes a bit of out of left discipline, it does emphasise the overwhelming feeling of sorrow that’s born out of catastrophe. Combatting this risk, each bodily and mentally, is the principle problem for Yui and is one that’s solely made attainable to beat via the assist of her newfound household.

Thankfully, the traditional sea-serpent feeding off of hopelessness is much from the movie’s solely supernatural factor. In a sequence that brings to thoughts the opening of Hayao Miyazaki’s “My Neighbour Totoro”, Yui and Hiyori discover their new countryside house, solely to find that they’re residing in a Mayoiga – a residing house that gives for these in want who stumble throughout it. What’s extra, Kiwa has mysterious ties to an entire host of yokai, notably a merry band of kappas who tag alongside to assist battle off the approaching risk. The incorporation of those legendary Japanese creatures, together with the household resorting to a extra customary countryside existence, suggests the necessity to rekindle with conventional roots to beat the consequences of a contemporary catastrophe.

The movie marks solely the third feature-length venture to be produced by the animation staff at David Manufacturing, however you’d by no means guess this primarily based on the attractive visuals. The countryside surrounding the Mayoiga is lush and vibrant, with small environmental particulars bringing the make-shift household’s house to life. The identical stage of consideration is afforded to the devastated city of Kitsunezaki, with toppled houses and a crowded aid centre evoking imagery all too near that of the particular Tohoku catastrophe. Most spectacular is the mix of animation types utilised, with Kiwa’s tales of outdated being accompanied by a easy but vivid artwork fashion that flows in a dreamlike method.

With “The Home of the Misplaced on the Cape”, Shinya Kawatsura chooses to deal with a brighter future as a substitute of an unsure current. The guts-warming story of newfound household and tender call-backs to Japan’s cultural roots make for a soothing movie that’s tinged with optimism.



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