Her Blue Sky
- 1h 46min
Second-year high school student Aoi Aioi is an aspiring musician Aoi Aioi. Her older sister Akane's ex-boyfriend Shinnosuke Kanomura is a struggling guitarist. Aoi and Akane's parents passed... Read allSecond-year high school student Aoi Aioi is an aspiring musician Aoi Aioi. Her older sister Akane's ex-boyfriend Shinnosuke Kanomura is a struggling guitarist. Aoi and Akane's parents passed away in an accident 13 years ago, and Akane gave up her ambition of going to Tokyo with S... Read allSecond-year high school student Aoi Aioi is an aspiring musician Aoi Aioi. Her older sister Akane's ex-boyfriend Shinnosuke Kanomura is a struggling guitarist. Aoi and Akane's parents passed away in an accident 13 years ago, and Akane gave up her ambition of going to Tokyo with Shinnosuke to take care of Aoi. Since then, Aoi has felt indebted to her older sister. One ... Read all
One thing all three productions have in common is a fantasy element. While I didn't have an issue with this in the other two titles, it felt unneeded here, exploring feelings of the past that would have been better relegated to subtext. In fact, Japanese films and anime have a rather tiresome penchant for injecting rote fantasy elements into an otherwise ordinary story as of late. It often amounts to adding boatloads of spice to a bland dish.
The film is a typical slice of life about following your dreams (or not) and growing up. Shinno(suke) is part of a band wanting to make it big. Akane is his girlfriend, and Aoi, her younger sister, has a crush on Shinno and wants to become a bassist. The parents of the two sisters die, forcing Akane to take care of Aoi and stay in their small town, while Shinno, disappointed to go alone, heads to Tokyo to attend university.
Somewhere along the way, the hopeful, young Shinno becomes literally separated from Shinnosuke, a 30-something, gruff, and unfulfilled musician. He's not creating his own music like he'd hoped, but he's playing in an enka band that none of the characters seem to enjoy.
So the fantasy element is that while Shinnosuke grew up, the young Shinno is dredged up as a ghost who interacts with Aoi and her friend (to prove that Aoi isn't a loon, obviously). Aoi's crush on Shinno comes back fast and strong, just as Shinnosuke and Akane slowly reconnect.
As I said before, the fantasy element was unnecessary and all of it could have been embedded in the subtext. As it is, it's no more than a distraction. A layer of sugary icing over a bland cake.
The other reviewer who said they spent all their time rehearsing the music is correct in stating that this buildup never went anywhere, leaving an empty feeling. The problem is that the enka music was presented as lame in the film and seemingly wouldn't have been satisfying as a conclusion or a pivotal scene, since it seemed to be a part of Shinnosuke having given up on his dreams (and the vocalist is awful). With the ridiculous flying sequence at the end and all the Shinno nonsense, there wasn't enough time for any of this.
It really feels like if they cut out all the fantasy fat, then maybe Aoi and Shinnosuke, after finally settling their differences, could have gotten a band together alongside the enka music practice, having the film conclude with one of their very own songs they put all of their passion into.
Not to say this isn't a cliche ending, for I've seen this in other movies and series, but this is just typical payoff for a movie about a band. Even if they decided this didn't work and wanted to go in a different direction, as they did, it's surprising that a movie so focused on music actually has very little GOOD music. I've never seen a film about a band that was so musically boring.
Some of the character interaction is decent or quite good, but much of it felt rushed and underdeveloped. Aoi spends so much time talking to the old Shinno, resulting in her never really getting to know the real Shinnosuke. Although I think Aoi's female friend was probably a good and needed inclusion, she never really has much to do in the short running length of the film, and I question if she also should have been excised or given a few extra scenes.
In conclusion, this is an okay slice of life drama with an unneeded fantasy element. It's watchable, but Anohana or Ghibli films like Only Yesterday would probably be a better choice.
- Jun 25, 2020