Jun. 29th, 2011

starlady: Sheeta & Pazu watch the world open out before them (think in layers)
Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo | Children Who Follow Lost Voices from Deep Below. Dir. Shinkai Makoto, 2011.

This is an awesome, beautiful, sad and moving anime. You will want to see it when you can, and I really enjoyed it a lot. On one level, it's its own strong story, and on the other it's an obvious remake of Castle in the Sky by way of Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth.

To give what I can of the plot without spoilers: in a rural Japan that could as well be 1960 as 1990 or any time in between, the middle-schooler Asuna lives mostly alone, her father having died and her mother working long and late to support the two of them at a hospital on the other side of town. Asuna spends her time high up in the mountains that shelter her town's valley, tuning in a mysterious music on her home-made radio. When she meets a mysterious boy and strange monsters start popping up around her town, however, she finds herself undertaking a journey in the company of the new teacher at her school, who has secrets of his own.

To see the stars )

So, yes. Rereading my posts on Castle in the Sky and a failed remake of it, Steamboy, I think that another area where Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo (literally "Children Who Follow the Stars", because the underworld sky has no stars) succeeds and goes one better than its source is Asuna again; she takes the initiative and she's always the protagonist in this story, whose bravery and courage impress the people around her and who is ultimately endangered as much by her compassion as by anything else and whose grief is always present with her even as she learns to bear up under it. There's no question of her being interpretable as passive, as Sheeta was, and she's anything but dispassionate, like Scarlett O'Hara was in Steamboy. I ♥ Asuna, seriously.