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Welcome back everyone to Anime Mondays! Join us here every week to discuss an Anime feature film! Incase if you missed the first installment, we talked about Paprika, an amazing film. Go check it out!
This week, we’ll be talking about alternate realms again, except instead of the dream world its the afterlife. Keiichi Hara directs Colorful, a quiet, intimate film about a soul that is given the opportunity to reenter the cycle of rebirth if he can prove himself worthy. He is placed into the body of a recently deceased 14-year old boy who committed suicide. He’s only given a few months to try to figure out his sin before he is taken away from the body of Makoto Kobayashi and given judgement.
Colorful begins with a wonderfully pristine opening sequence. It opens on the afterlife and it is all seen from the point of view the spirit. He cannot talk, but he can think, and his thoughts are given to us in the form of subtitles in black intertitle. There’s a great sense of transience, in this first scene. And then a blue-haired, child sized entity named Purapura approaches the lost soul and gives him the chance to redeem himself, a shot at going back to life. The spirit is hesitant, in fact, he decided he’d rather just stay where he is. But Purapura insists, informing the spirit that he doesn’t really have a choice and the “boss” has decided. They take a trip down an elevator shaft that plunges them through the skies and into the body of Makoto. He awakens in the hospital, but to his family it is a miraculous moment. The son whom they had given up for dead moments ago, has come back to them.
In the body of Makoto, the spirit must navigate the intricacies of his family and school. His older brother is in college and used to tease Makoto for being a bad student. His father is exploited at work, given long hours and no opportunities at a promotion. And his mother had been carrying on an extramarital affair that she ended after her son’s suicide attempt. All the while, the spirit learns that Makoto has absolutely no friends at school, his grades are awful, and the girl Makoto had a crush on (and subsequently himself too) is sleeping with a much older man.
Colorful is beautifully animated. Meanwhile, the story is allowed to slowly progress and meander along. Relationships are allowed to blossom and decay naturally. Although the film does have a very clear storyline, it’s not afraid to stray into smaller moments that may not lead anywhere. The result is wonderfully paced revelations that are organic. It’s a rewarding film, and a great contemplation on life and death, growing up, and family. It’s a delicately, beautiful movie. I highly encourage anyone to check it out.