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A Film Diary

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Watched: 17 November

Sometimes-beguiling Japanese anime drama that is set at the tail end of the Second World War. The film looks at daily life during wartime and American bombing raids through the eyes of a young Japanese woman, and it contrasts the traditional and natural world that she inhabits with the destruction and chaos that results from the attacks. The focus lies mainly on the port town of Kure, though the narrative is also concerned with Hiroshima and the devastation there; the film shies away from specifically showing this, and seems overly cautious on the subject of death more generally, preferring to keep the focus on the aftermath, as well as young love and good deeds at a time of crisis. I’m unsure as to whether Japanese kawaii culture is a good fit with this kind of subject matter, or indeed whether such serious events benefit from the infantilisation and simplification that is commonplace within anime, but perhaps it’s just my lack of familiarity with Japanese art and society more generally that makes me baulk a little. (***)

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