Director: Masaaki Yuasa
Animation Production: Science SARU
Music: Michiru Oshima
Genres: Supernatural, Comedy
Season: Spring 2017
Final say: WALLET-WORTHY
As my formal introduction to the directorial work of Masaaki Yuasa, I think it is safe to say that there is indeed plenty of substance behind the eccentricity.
Life is just a lot more interesting after 2am…and Night is Short, Walk on Girl takes that on as its gospel to the nth degree: rebellious drama club productions meant to unite a man with a lost love, drinking contests and dealings with gods of used book stalls…ridiculous events made ludicrous all the while elevating the respect the material has for literary tradition of all shapes and sizes; the classics and the smutty.
At the centre of what was meant to be an account of just one night’s events, are two university students, who embark on their own journeys of self-exploration. The relentless onslaught of drunken imagery that Yuasa is known for is barely grounded by the relatively mundane ‘boy meets girl’ romance that blossoms between them as they take part on the fantastical adventures of midnight Kyoto. But for all it’s worth…the mental gymnastics required for one to maintain focus on the film is actually a point of praise from me: this is a story that revels in the glorious nonsense that is life.
Which brings one to Michiru Oshima’s…patently extroverted musical score. The composer’s stamp on the film is sonically dominant, which is saying something considering the amount of visual and audio competition. Oshima’s daft combination of golden age fanfares and goofball mickey-mousing fused with traditional Japanese instrumentation and harmony is indicative of a composer so comfortable and familiar with her voice…she can morph into any creature that still shares a line of evolution with her core sensibilities.
Recommendations: Alternate Titles
I’ve decided against including a alternate recommendations list for this review entry, because; as mentioned before, this is effectively my introduction to Masaaki Yuasa, who has presented me with an experience that is…wholly incomparable with any other in my knowledge bank. Although it would be a straight up throwaway advice for those who enjoyed Night is Short, Walk on Girl to seek out Yuasa’s other animation works, including the film’s spiritual predecessor, Tatami Galaxy, a series I’ve yet to complete.