Forum - View topic
REVIEW: Children of the Sea


Goto page 1, 2  Next

Note: this is the discussion thread for this article

Anime News Network Forum Index -> Site-related -> Talkback
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Merida
SubscriberSubscriber


Joined: 21 Feb 2012
Posts: 1883
PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2019 1:44 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
I think it's best to go with my gut feeling after an initial watch, and my conclusion is that this film will alienate most first-time viewers. You might want to check out the manga to decide if this is your kind of thing before diving into the film adaptation.


Well, the manga isn't exactly easily accessible either, people expecting straightforward storytelling should probably look elsewhere. But i really loved the unique ideas, the creativity and the stunning art of the manga, so i hope i'll be able to watch the movie some day.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message My Anime
Arale Kurashiki



Joined: 24 Aug 2015
Posts: 560
PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2019 3:23 pm Reply with quote
Your complaints about an obtuse plot, not knowing what you just watched and having more questions than answers are what is majorly convincing me that I NEED to watch this, despite you giving it a C. I had always kind of overlooked this manga, but clearly I was mistaken.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
xScar



Joined: 20 Dec 2006
Posts: 274
PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2019 5:55 pm Reply with quote
I have to say, I had a similar reaction after leaving the theater -- a "What did I just watch" reaction -- but it only made me more interested in the film as I began to think about everything I just watched and piece together my own interpretation of it.

Now being two weeks removed from watching it, I think you're right about it being a movie about growing up, as its core. But as you grow up, you question things like where do we come from, where do we fit into this world, and what will we leave behind. I think the movie tackles those three questions.

I'll be watching it again once the BD drops, and hopefully by the time I get to Yonezu Kenshi's hauntingly beautiful Spirits of the Sea, I'll be able to make even more connections.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
horseradish
SubscriberSubscriber


Joined: 27 Oct 2015
Posts: 421
Location: SF Bay Area
PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2019 6:58 pm Reply with quote
I read the manga a while ago, but honestly don't remember much...The artwork was excellent and captured a sense of wonder so well especially during underwater scenes, but my interest drifted away halfway through and ended up completing other series before returning to finish it. Wish more of Igarashi's work got published in English though. I was very happy when I heard Studio 4°C was working on this adaptation. The animation looks absolutely amazing in the trailer, so looking forward to watching this film in the theaters soon. I will have to reread the manga and see if things make more sense to me now. It's rare to have such a wonderfully animated film set around the ocean.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message My Anime My Manga
Bioshocker



Joined: 13 Jun 2019
Posts: 15
PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2019 7:34 pm Reply with quote
Animation : A
Art : A
Music : A-
Story : C

Overall : C+
https://media1.tenor.com/images/ad481590f5acdb92f13330b5ccb4ddbf/tenor.gif?itemid=5922332
Is it me or the math seems very off? lol
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Arale Kurashiki



Joined: 24 Aug 2015
Posts: 560
PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2019 8:39 pm Reply with quote
There's no "math", overall isn't an average
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Bioshocker



Joined: 13 Jun 2019
Posts: 15
PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:08 pm Reply with quote
I was being sarcastic if that wasn't obvious. It's weird to praise all other departments and still give a "low" rating because the story didn't click with you. You might've seen anime with very absurd stories rescued by some very exciting and imaginative storytelling. Direction and animation are equally important and since it's a review it should affect the overall rating imho.

Last edited by Bioshocker on Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:12 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Neko-sensei



Joined: 19 Jan 2007
Posts: 165
PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:10 pm Reply with quote
I strongly recommend checking out the Japan Times review for a take by someone who was able to appreciate the movie fully.

I loved this film; if anything, ths review undersells its sheer jaw-dropping achievement of craft. On the basis of pure beauty, I honestly don't think there's ever been another anime film that's on the same level (and yes, that includes Shinkai, Ghibli, Redline, and all the other usual suspects).

One major theme that might aid appreciation is the idea that everything, everything, is interconnected, and that humans form an important but relatively small part of that connection. In that sense, people are like a single bird in a murmuration: our pursuit of our goals is necessary for the creation of the aggregate known as the Universe, but being a part of it, we will never have the necessary perspective to grasp "the whole picture" in one go. (Of course the film is not at all saying that we should not strive to understand the world around us—it's very much pro-science—simply that the universe is not designed to be comprehensible to humans, and that understanding our inability to intuitively grasp the grand totality of everything is a psychologically healthy way of appreciating the enduring mystery of the world.) Ruka begins the movie in a funk because she can't understand why life isn't always fair or why she might have to sacrifice some part of her own pride in order to preserve her connections with others; by the film's end she has journeyed past human understanding and glimpsed the fathomless deeps of the symphony of Life and Time and Matter, and she is able to learn that the connection itself, the incredible gift given every creature by the miracle of birth, is worth a little sacrifice, even if she herself can't see the end result.

Finally, and on a completely different note, I'm afraid that I must take sharp ideological exception to the concluding section of this review: simply because humans cannot comprehend the totality of the Universe does not mean that individuals cannot rise above their subjective prejudices in the formal context of a film review. A review is not just a reaction; it is a professional appraisal of a work by someone who has germane expertise. A film could be reviewed equally well by a professional film critic, a fellow director, a philosopher, a lawyer, a grip, or a member of a profession the film purports to depict, but no matter who reviewed it, it would be be necessary for the writer to at least attempt to lay aside personal bias in order to bring their critical facilities to bear. For example, I have an abiding personal loathing of the film The African Queen, because every time Bogart flashes his buck-toothed, mocking, misogynistic, fatalistic grin I want to smash my TV in with a baseball bat. But in a formal review, although I might acknowledge this personal bias, I would not allow it to dictate my appraisal of the film as a whole, which is a great film precisely because of Bogey's punchability—its dynamic contrast with Hepburn's holier-than-thou sanctimoniousness is what fuels the brilliant tension of the story. In short, although there should be no gatekeepers dictating who is "allowed" to write a review, the ability to judge a work on its own merits using your unique critical tools as distinguished from your visceral reactions is the bare minimum skill one must have to be considered a "reviewer" rather than merely someone who has experienced the work and has an opinion, in the same way that the ability to play a musical instrument is the bare minimum skill required to become a member of an orchestra. You can "go with your gut" while chatting with friends or arguing on the Internet, but it's not appropriate in the context of a published review intended to inform prospective audiences of a work's quality.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
horseradish
SubscriberSubscriber


Joined: 27 Oct 2015
Posts: 421
Location: SF Bay Area
PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2019 11:59 pm Reply with quote
^Wow the Japan Times reviewer was way more enthralled by the movie. Part of what made me lose some interest while reading the manga was that it would have been so cool to actually see the static illustrations in fluid motion and color. Just like how spectacular photographs never quite capture the same feelings as witnessing something in person. Lol I really hope theatrical dates from GKIDS get announced soon in July or August. It is summer after all. Very exciting. Anime hyper
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message My Anime My Manga
Frog-kun



Joined: 10 Jun 2017
Posts: 55
PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2019 1:04 am Reply with quote
I'm glad this review is getting people interested in the film! Even if I didn't like it personally, I can see how it's the kind of thing that other people would find rewarding.

I know that some people in this thread are telling me to give this film more credit, but I can't just lie about my feelings. If I didn't actually enjoy the film overall, then I can't pretend that I did just because I understand its objective merits. I also don't appreciate all the people insinuating that I'm stupid because I didn't understand all the symbolism on my very first watch. Sometimes, a story filled with deep ideas doesn't click with you, and you're not a stupid person if you feel that way. Please be respectful.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
MarshalBanana



Joined: 31 Aug 2014
Posts: 3449
PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2019 3:44 am Reply with quote
Very impressed by the trailer, this film from a technical angle is very impressive, and 2 of Studio 4°C other films, Memories and Princess Arete are some of the most beautiful Anime films I have ever seen.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message My Anime My Manga
anime_layer



Joined: 03 Apr 2004
Posts: 35
PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2019 7:31 am Reply with quote
I didn't think the plot was very complicated. There sure were details that I didn't get, seeing the film for the first time, but the basic storyline is pretty straightforward. There are many metaphysical themes the movie touches on, especially in the later part, but I don't think it's necessary to really understand them to enjoy the film.

On the contrary, I appreciated how the film tried to tackle those themes visually, instead of trying too hard to verbalize them. Also just the fact that it's a film about the origin of life and how it's all connected and still manages to ground it with personal stories.

Kim Morrissy wrote:
At what point did Ruka begin to change and grow up? It's hard to look back on any particular moment in the film as a turning point, but the ending insists that Ruka did in fact grow. I think it happened somewhere during one of those non-verbal psychedelic sequences, which were open to multiple forms of interpretation but had no obvious meaning in context.

Huh, Ruka just met two boys who were raised by dugongs, she has a crush on one of them, she sees them both disappar and then she has a metaphysical experience connecting the sea to the universe. Somehow, I think that would kind of change your perspective on your own life and make you grow up a bit?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Neko-sensei



Joined: 19 Jan 2007
Posts: 165
PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2019 11:34 am Reply with quote
I'm definitely not trying to call anyone stupid, to say that we need to lie about our feelings, or to castigate anyone for not enjoying something. I definitely do think that Children of the Sea is an extremely dense film that's not for everyone.

What I am saying is that personal feelings are mostly immaterial to a film review. To give another example from my own experience, I just can't appreciate 2001 personally. Its aesthetic feels sterile and inhuman to me, despite its humanistic message. Nevertheless, I'd give it my highest recommendation based on its own merits—it is in fact the closest thing to a perfect science fiction film ever made, and that very perfection is what fuels my irrelevant personal feelings.

The author's personal reaction is the spice of a good review (e.g. Ebert's review of North: "I hated, hated, hated this movie"), but the film should be evaluated based on its own merits (Ebert writes those famous words only after picking apart the ways in which the film fails: "This idea is deeply flawed. Children do not lightly separate from their parents - and certainly not on the evidence provided here, where the great parental sin is not paying attention to their kid at the dinner table"). A review does not aim to say, "I liked this movie" or, "I didn't like this movie." That's what a Yelp rating does. A review aims to say, "this movie is good" or, "this movie is bad," and to explain why.

Thus my complaint isn't that the review underrates the movie, but simply that it is not a review. It's a description of the film and a personal reaction, which isn't useful to anyone who isn't personally acquainted with the reviewer and familiar with the reviewer's preferences.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Arale Kurashiki



Joined: 24 Aug 2015
Posts: 560
PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2019 4:57 pm Reply with quote
If you think objectivity exists, that's on you, and is a huge rabbit hole to go down. I don't think reviews ought to have ratings in the first place.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
zrnzle500
SubscriberSubscriber


Joined: 04 Oct 2014
Posts: 3516
PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2019 10:05 pm Reply with quote
The problem comes in evaluating those very merits. Everyone comes with their own ideas about what good writing, good direction, good art, good music, and in the case of anime, good animation, is, ideas that are often very different, even among those who work in those mediums or professional critics. How things align with those ideas inevitably colors one's assessment of the merits of a work of art. How can you excise your ideas about what good story telling is from how well you believe a story is told?

While I don't doubt that the film is visually well crafted from that I have seen and what I have heard, even animation quality is something that is not objective. Fate Apocrypha 22 is the example I like to point to, an episode beloved by fans of sakuga but hated by some others for the looser animation style. What it comes down to is whether one values how each frame looks as a still picture or the fluidity of the motion (ideally you want both, but that is a difficult feat in today's industry, though that is probably the case here). Ultimately you can only experience it as beautiful or not (or some degree between), and that opinion will differ from someone who values the opposite and your assessment will inevitably reflect those feelings - yes, feelings. If even a category like the art and animation (which seem most apt for "objective" assessments of their craftsmanship in my opinion) is ultimately subjective, it goes even more so for writing, and also how those different aspects weigh upon the overall assessment.

While I do want to know if anime movie is visually well crafted, that isn't everything, and if it doesn't succeed in other aspects, I don't think anyone, critics and viewers alike, is obliged to call it good merely because it is technically well crafted (though I think it should forbear one from naming among the very worst, as I feel that ought to be reserved for those that fail more holistically). I find a review of something in the vein of "Visually well crafted but made me feel nothing - A+, as close to perfect as you can get" incoherent, not very useful, and a bit absurd. If feelings were irrelevant, we may as well shunt this work of reviewing off to computers. But we would have to teach them what is beautiful, what is good, and that is precisely the issue. Frankly, I see little difference between a review that says something is "good" or "bad" and why, versus "I liked it" or "I didn't like it" and why, aside from the former pretending that their opinion in the singular "objective" truth and not just their, you know, opinion, and I think the latter is more honest because of it.

To bring this back to the topic at hand, I'd say, for me, this review was very useful, as they often are, even if I may not agree once I see the movie. If the story is as obtuse to me as it is to the reviewer, then I won't be disappointed by it (well, as disappointed by it), but if it isn't, then the movie will be better than expected, which seems like a win-win to me. I don't need anyone to tell me whether it is "good" or "bad", thus it is written - I'd rather come to my own conclusion. I want to know what to expect, generally, even if I don't come to the same conclusion. I, like anyone else, can and will disagree about what is good or not, and I bristle at anyone who would suggest that I must agree with their opinion, if I were to be "objective".
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Reply to topic    Anime News Network Forum Index -> Site-related -> Talkback All times are GMT - 5 Hours
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2

 


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group