Children Who Chase Lost Voices (2011) Review

Verdict: Mythical 

Great animation with interesting characters.


Asuna (voiced by Hisako Kanemoto) is an only child, and spends most of her time alone. Her mother works many shifts as a nurse, and doesn’t come back that often. In her spare time, Asuna goes to her hideaway on the mountain and listens to music through a crystal. Howevever, she soon finds out that it isn’t just any crystal when she comes across Shun (Miyu Irino), who could be from another world. She is able to gather more information from her substitute teacher Mr. Morisaki (Kazuhiko Inoue) who for reasons of his own wants to find this world. Asuna soon finds herself transported into the land of Agartha where she meets Shin (Miyu Irino) and must decide what she wants to do there. Directed by Makoto Shinkai.

First off, the animation and visuals in this film are quite stunning. The landscape shots are spectacular and breathtaking. The colours are vibrant and really bring the world of the film to life. The human characters, though are seemingly normal, is what Japanese anime is known for. To have average looking human characters that imply could be anyone. The other creatures in the film are appropriately strange as characteristic of Japanese anime.

The narrative is also equally strange. It has a very dark tone to it, and the topics of life and death add to the darkness. What I like about Japanese animation is that they aren’t afraid to make the characters ‘human’ in the sense that each and everyone of them has flaws. You might think you have grasped a character, but then the film goes deeper and adds another element to them. Unlike Hollywood characters who are usually one dimensional (what you see is what you get), these characters show sides of themselves that are unpredictable and that come up at the end.

Additionally, a popular theme for Japanese anime films is that of the coming of age story – especially involving female protagonists. I don’t think I actually know a coming of age anime that has a male protagonist…I’m not sure what this implies. Going off that, there is a lack of important female characters in this film (apart from the protagonist) which I dislike.

The soundtrack is, for the most part, soothing and complements the narrative well. With the fighting scenes, it sometimes felt like an action movie. Those scenes are well done in terms of animation, visual effects and music accompaniment.

Overall, an interesting film though it did at times make me wonder what in the world I was watching (Japanese cinema tends to make me think that). The animation is great and the characters likeable. However, it can be quite slow at times and may be hard to get absorbed into the narrative.

To sum-up:
PROS: Animation, characters, music
CONS: Lack of important female characters, slow pace

I give this a 7/10.

Have you seen Children Who Chase Lost Voices a.k.a. Journey to Agartha? Rate it out of 5 stars above or leave a comment below!


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