Yuasa's Lu over the wall, 'Night is Short, Walk On Girl' Films to Compete at Ottawa Int'l Animation Fest

posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins
September 20-24 festival also screens stop-motion short by Mari Miyazawa in competition

The Ottawa International Animation Festival announced its partial lineup on Friday for works that will screen in competition at this year's festival. Both of Masaaki Yuasa's recent anime films — Lu over the wall (Yoake Tsugeru Lu no Uta) and Night is Short, Walk On Girl (Yoru wa Mijikashi Arukeyo Otome) — will screen in competition in the feature film category.

The two films are competing against Jong-duck Cho's My Dogs, Jinjin and Akida, Clyde Petersen's Torrey Pines, and one more film to be announced.

Additionally, Mari Miyazawa's "Konigiri-Kun: Kitchen Sports Day" ("Konigiri-kun Undokai") five-minute stop-motion short will screen in the "Young Audiences 1 - Preschool Competition" category.

Lu over the wall opened in Japan on May 19, and won the top "Cristal for a Feature Film" award at the Annecy International Film Festival last month. The film is Yuasa's first anime film with an original story. The protagonist Kai moves with his father from Tokyo to the declining fishing town of Hinashi to live with his grandfather following his parents' divorce. Kai is unable to give words to his complex feelings about his parents, so he passes his middle school life gloomily. His one joy is uploading his musical compositions to the internet.

One day his classmates Kunio and Yūho invite him to join their band, and when he reluctantly accompanies them to practice on Mermaid Island, the three of them meet a mermaid named Lu. Through her cheerful singing and dancing, Kai is slowly able to open up about his feelings. However, calamity strikes and Kai must shout from the bottom of his heart in order to save the town.

Yuasa directed the film at his Science SARU studio, and collaborated with Reiko Yoshida (Non Non Biyori, Tamako Market) on the script. Yōko Nemu (Gozen 3-ji no Muhōchitai) provided the original character designs, and Nobutake Ito (Kaiba, Ping Pong) adapted the designs for for animation and served as animation director. Takatsugu Muramatsu (When Marnie Was There) composed the music, and Kazuyoshi Saitō performed the theme song "Uta Utai no Ballad."

Night is Short, Walk On Girl opened in Japan on April 7. The film adapts Tomihiko Morimi's (The Eccentric Family, The Tatami Galaxy) novel of the same name.

The main staff of the Tatami Galaxy anime returned for the film. Yuasa directed the film at his Science SARU studio, and Makoto Ueda wrote the script. Yūsuke Nakamura, the cover artist for the original novel as well as The Tatami Galaxy, designed the characters. Michiru Oshima composed the music.

The story takes place in Kyoto, and follows an upperclassman ("Sempai") who falls in love with his underclassman ("Girl with Black Hair") and tries to get her attention.

The Ottawa International Animation Festival will be held from September 20-24. The festival previously screened Yuasa's Kick-Heart short in competition in 2013.

Source: Animation Business Journal (Tadashi Sudo)

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