Review of 'Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below (Hoshi o ou kodomo)'

children_who_chase_lost_voices_from_deep_below.jpg Shinkai is back with this tale of Asuna (Hisako Kanemoto), a young girl who, having lost her father, takes care of herself and her mother that she rarely sees (as she works long hours at a hospital). She finds time herself listening to a self-made radio where she occasionally hears odd music. One day she encounters a strange creature that attacks her as she crosses a rail bridge a young boy grabs her and takes her to safety. She makes an attachment to the boy who is then found drowned in a local stream. The boy, Shin (Miyu Irino), turns out to be from Agartha, a world found deep inside our own, with his brother, Shun, sent to ensure that the passage to his world is secured and not breached.

Mr. Morisaki (Kazuhiko Inoue) is Asuna's teacher who teaches the class about this mythology of Agartha - a world that can bring the dead back to life - who turns out to be an agent for a group seeking access to the underworld. His group eventually chases Chun and Asuna into Agartha where the adventure truly begins. Will they be able to bring their lost loved ones back to life or will they themselves die in the attempt?

The visual spectacle here is overwhelming - A trademark of Shinkai - The music is also atmospheric and warms up the rather dark nature of the film. Asuna here is perpetually set upon but makes the most of her situation. Some have said that this film's story is confusing but we did not find it so - Everything makes sense and falls into place through to the touching finale. Lots of fantasy but, as always, the most important thing here are the characters and emotions which certainly comes to the fore.

The only thing I might be able to criticise here is perhaps the pacing (things appear to take forever to happen) but also perhaps the excess of things happening (if that makes any sense). The amount of action at times is perhaps too breathtaking with the viewer wondering if it will ever end.

Rating: “Really good but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2012-06-10

Directed by: Makoto Shinkai

Studio: CoMix Wave Inc.

Year: 2011

Length: 116 minutes

Genre: Japanese Animation

Other reviewed films by Makoto Shinkai: