Friday, November 8, 2013

Nerawareta Gakuen

Yes, this film was so visually gorgeous that we're bringing you about 75 screencaps.

There were a few things going through my mind when I belatedly got to finally finishing this film. Firstly, I couldn't help but feel excited to see Yuutaro Honjou, one of my favorite young seiyuu, cast as one of the leads. Honjou is a great actor, working in the voice acting industry since he was fairly young, but only arriving on the scene with a (slightly) post-pubescent voice last year in his role as Ao in Eureka Seven Astral Ocean. Whatever your personal opinion on that work is, it's hard to deny that Honjou did a wonderful job there, and it makes me glad to see him star in another leading role, as Kenji Seki this time, in Psychic School Wars. Another thought that came through to me was just how Sunrise this whole production was, regardless of if you consider that a positive or negative thing. That's not to say the film wasn't gorgeous (though Zephyr-senpai has a point in referring to it as "Lens Flare the Movie"), or that it was somehow hurt by its inherent Sunrise-ness, but it does leave a very specific impression, at least to me.

Particularly, I felt that the narrative was more or less all over the place. There is a plot, yes, which involves the theme of communication (Are cellphones positive or negative to communication? Are there better ways to talk to one another? Should knowing everything about someone without choice be a better alternative than choosing to speak to others?), but nothing ever really seems to happen in a dynamic sense. There are a lot of conversations, a lot of wistful thinking and wondering and memories, but not a whole lot of action or any solid goal as far as you'd expect from a film about psychics. There's nothing wrong with that of course, but the revelations that were made, particularly towards the end, all left me feeling like I was missing a few details here and there. It left me with a very specific feeling, one of expectation, and I'm not really sure I was satisfied with that in the end.

On a second note, you could easily tell this was a Sunrise film from the characters, their interactions, and their actions. It seemed that the more poignant moments in the story couldn't be held without the atmosphere being broken by a silly or immature remark here and there, or Natsuki doing impossible cartwheels and backflips, or calling Kenji out as a pervert, so on and so forth. I get that that's just what anime stereotypes tend to be, and you get used to that sort of dialogue, but it could sometimes feel oddly out of place, had it not been so inherently Sunrise at least. What I mean by that is that the studio is just rather good at doing whatever it wants apologetically (noted recent example, Valvrave the Liberator) and getting away with it. I don't really mind, but it can in some occasions cheapen a narrative or feel forced regardless. Overall though, it was a nice film, if a little wordy and somewhat overly dramatic. The visuals, however, definitely made the experience worth it. We're sorry you have to scroll through 75 screencaps.

N.B.: Many thanks to Ivan for the caps; he watched the film some time ago but I unfortunately took so long to get back to it that I think he thought his work went to waste. It did not!


  1. "you could easily tell this was a Sunrise film from" I keep on expecting the words "the mecha" to follow.

    Film looks neat. I'll have to check it out. Thanks!

    1. Unfortunately, no mecha on this one. @_@

      It's an alright film, definitely worth it for the visuals if nothing else. (And Honjou but that's just me).

  2. glad to have you back blogging. hoping you are well.

    I watched Nreawareta Gakuen quite a long ago. but I still remember quite strongly why I loved it and why I was so disappointed.
    the animation is indeed eyegasm. on par with Makoto Shinkai "garden of words", even better. a lot of beautiful use of sakuga. really it's amazing.
    each frame can be set as a lovely desktop background (and it happened to me not so long ago after I watched it).

    but that's not the only reason why I loved NG. the characters. lovely, stupid-ish, funny, charming...all sets of features was there. the emotions were getting along too. I really liked the characters and their emotions. when Natsuki kissed him by surprise was the best scene in the movie. I don't remember kiss scenes that surprising and well-established in the anime world. really.

    unfortunately, NG is flawed too much that you can't fully love it.
    the main problem lies within the script. let me tell you - NG is quite "old", the novel was published in 1973 and it has 2 live actions. I don't know any of them, but I am sure the script in the anime film by sunrise is wasted. 'cause the show does try to put itself into the script, however due to time limit it wasted the full potential of the entire main plot - time travel?psychic powers?flashback of old times between the grandfather?the "take over" of school?where is all the science-fiction fantasy elements expressed itself?barely for 10 minutes the entire movie. and that derives the main plot.

    the first 40 minutes were "showing off" with a lot eyegasm visuals and presenting the lovely characters. it was lovely first half which drag me into the films, anticipating for more.
    but it took too long till the story was shipped to us.
    moreover, the development of emotions took the main plot's time as well.
    the result?not only wasted script of the main plot, but the ending was hasty. I have troubles to grasp it fully, you can't have a full guess of what and why things happened. and as a result, something within the emotion was flawed due to the that ending.

    I loved NG, it has amazing animation, lovely characters and emotions that getting into the viewer. but the potential is wasted. the name "psychic school wars" simply doesn't express itself. plus, ending is quite confusing (what really happened?no one knows).

    put the animation aside, with big names like code geass, cowboy bebop, lots of gundam...Sunrise can do better than that.
    maybe the problem is the time-limit. for 90 minutes movie...that medium is quite a disadvantage.

    1. BTW
      don't get me wrong.
      as you've said - "it's an alright film" - I agree with that. I do recommend seeing it. yeah, mostly due to visuals, but I enjoyed Natsuki and Kenji moments as well.
      ieventually I loved what I saw in NG, but there is still that feeling of disappoinment which is quite strong.

    2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I had actually wanted to see this a long time ago (then forgot about it), and then was reminded of it when I saw it here! :) I think I will take a look now, even though I've read that the general consensus is that the story doesn't make sense....but it looks good eh? :D

  3. Thanks for the review, Kairi! I shall take a look. I saw that screen cap of that cat-animal looking thing and it's so adorable. I love when they have cute animals....><

    Hope you're recovering well from the concussion! :)

    1. I wouldn't go in too hopeful for a story, but at least appreciate how pretty it is. xD The animal is kind of cute, but it talks, so it's not just a cute observer.

      Thanks, I'm still suffering from occasional disorientation, but on the whole I'm a lot better. ^-^

    2. the animals are cute in the movie, THO I remember termed them more of a pokemon than animals. LOL
      I also like when anime involves cute animals as an addition.