6.6/10
168
4 user 20 critic

Violence Voyager (2018)

Baiorensu boijâ (original title)
Following an end-of-term school ceremony, the American boy Bobby decides to go with his friend Akkun into the mountains outside their village, to a place perfect for a secret base. On the ... See full summary »

Director:

Ujicha

Writer:

Ujicha
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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Saki Fujita Saki Fujita
Kellen Goff ... Old Man Lucky Monkey / Takaaki / Narrator (voice)
Nao Hanai Nao Hanai ... Kyoko
Derek Petropolis ... George & Sota Koike (voice)
Tomorô Taguchi ... (voice) (as Tomoroo Taguchi)
Shigeo Takahashi Shigeo Takahashi
Naoki Tanaka Naoki Tanaka
Aoi Yûki ... Bobby
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Storyline

Following an end-of-term school ceremony, the American boy Bobby decides to go with his friend Akkun into the mountains outside their village, to a place perfect for a secret base. On the way they stop into a mysterious amusement park. They have fun there, but are attacked and cannot leave.

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User Reviews

 
A profoundly original romp that is almost a masterpiece
18 August 2019 | by NeoAkibaSee all my reviews

Judging by the trailer alone, Violence Voyager gives the impression of a flashy puppet show. However, seeing the film in action proves what a unique and diligently crafted piece of cinema it is.

Taking place late in summer, two boys (Bobby and Akkun) stumble across a mysterious theme park known as Violence Voyager; which paints itself as a participatory attraction, in which you must fight robots to save humanity. After finding the more nefarious meaning of the park, the film transitions into a majestic and beautifully presented motion horror comic that completely defies expectation.

The aesthetics of the film are beyond reproach, with lovingly crafted characters dangling in front of the camera against rich backgrounds of varying complexity and thematic significance. It's difficult to really describe the style of the cinematography beyond saying that if you can imagine a puppet show shot and edited together like a motion picture then you might be somewhat close to describing it.

The fluidity of the film is startling, and is a testament to Uchija's talent. Although the mouths of the characters don't move and their range of spatial movement is limited the sense of emotion and the use of exaggerated facial expressions really bridges the gap where actual characterization would normally be found.

This characterization plays into the tone of the film that feels like a horror comic or science fiction/horror anime from the 80s or 90s. This is further bolstered by a whimsical sense of humor that permeates the entire film. You need not consider Violence Voyager to be a dramatic masterpiece, there is no pretense that it is one, but the deft blending of body horror, comedy and suspense is remarkably palpable through the entire 120 minute run time of the film. There is an undercurrent of humor running throughout Violence Voyager that is almost like a life line; cutting through any treacle and weaving together disparate shots into something that is constantly moving and entertaining. An example of this is a bat that is saved early in the film, who we learn later is an incredibly hungry boy, but that is best saved for you to see. This running joke is indicative of the sense of identity the film possesses; a loving poise that is truly appreciative of its audiences wish to be entertained while not distracting from the events at hand. It's all incredibly cohesive.

Beyond the arresting visuals and spirited action of the narrative is a measured, punchy soundtrack that evokes a real sense of horror films from the 1980s. This plays exceptionally well into the unfolding narrative and further smooths out the incredible sense of progression the film possesses. The voice acting in the Japanese dub is also extremely entertaining and has a lot in common with the tropes of "Coming of Age" anime and Japanese dramas of the late 80s and early 90s.

The action only stumbles when Uchija forgets, or doesn't bother to elaborate on certain elements of the story which seem significant. Some of these elements are paramount to the plot and are quite literally just vomited out near the end of the film. It's disappointing as if he had paced the drip feed of information surrounding the mythos of the Violence Voyager theme park and its unhinged caretaker a little bit better it would have made an already highly enjoyable narrative even more cohesive. The film almost doesn't seem long enough. An extra 10 minutes would have provided ample opportunity to give more context to some of the more bizarre body horror and strengthened its impact beyond a simple explanation that: "this thing is necessary for this thing to do this".

Above all else, however, Violence Voyager is bordering on being a masterpiece of modern animation. The adroit blending of mixed media to create a traditional cinematic experience that completely defies audience expectation coupled with a refreshingly original story and some excellent humor tucked into an already satisfying narrative makes for an unmissable film. Small missteps in the pacing and content of the narrative hold the experience back just enough for it to miss the mark of perfection, but being this close is an extraordinary achievement and one Uchija should be very proud of.

Violence Voyager is an utterly unmissable film. If you consider yourself to be a fan of experimental animation, animation in general or just science fiction or body horror, then you absolutely must see it. Highly recommended.


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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

24 May 2019 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Violence Voyager See more »

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