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Monmon the Water Spider (2006)

Mizugumo Monmon (original title)
The short film's main character is a water spider who seems to have fallen in love with a water strider. Though she is scared of him at first, the water strider soon gets used to the presence of the spider.

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Credited cast:
Akiko Yano ...
(voice)
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The short film's main character is a water spider who seems to have fallen in love with a water strider. Though she is scared of him at first, the water strider soon gets used to the presence of the spider.

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2011 (USA)  »

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Monmon the Water Spider  »

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Accomplished short.
15 September 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Mizugumo Monmon (or Monmon the Water Spider) is one of six short films shown exclusively in the theatre at the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, a short train ride out of Tokyo. It is perhaps the best-suited for foreign visitors, being as it is completely free of dialogue.

It follows the titular Monmon, first seen carefully manoeuvring a precious air bubble back to his lair. On the way, he bumps into a (seemingly female) water strider, and is enraptured. When the object of his affection is endangered, Monmon is forced into action...

Hardly a totally original premise, then, if you ignore the fact that it's about an aquatic arachnid in love with an insect of another species, but it is exceedingly well executed. Monmon himself is a beautifully endearing protagonist, and the slapstick is superbly handled. A good comparison would be to the first half of Pixar's recent Wall-E, not only in terms of comedic style but right down to the nature of the leads: a timid, eccentric heart-of-gold weakling infatuated with a strong, feminine beauty.

The animation, as always, is top-notch, with a genuinely thrilling action sequence to boot. While not quite up to the standard of the other short this reviewer has had the pleasure of viewing at the museum (Hoshi o Katta Hi, or The Day I Harvested a Star, absolutely superb) it is nevertheless a privilege to have experienced.

Those planning to visit the museum should be aware that tickets are best booked at least a month in advance, more if you wish to go on a weekend or public holiday. It may not be possible to determine which film will be showing on the particular day one visits, either....


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