Children Who Chase Lost Voices (2011) review

Full title is Children Who Chase Lost Voices From Deep Below.

Rated: 3 / 5

There are times when I end up just watching some random anime out of the blue. If I had known this was going to be one of those CG animated flicks (that pretends to be hand-drawn, and actually does a good job fooling me half the time), I wouldn’t have even bothered. Well, this is one I’m glad I gave a chance, because it ended up being surprisingly entertaining.

What is the film about? Jesus, I don’t think anyone could comprehend just what the fuck was going on 100% of the time. Not that the film is abstract like an artsy French flick or anything like that (or is called Angel Egg). It’s just that there’s some details it glosses over too quickly, or can’t be bothered to explain, so that the viewer can understand everything he sees. But best I can do to sum it up, it’s about this anime middle school girl, following those typical cliches of sweet and innocent yet often lonely character beats. Then all of a sudden a fucking monster shows up, shit happens involving the military and people from the “under world”, and trying to bring dead people back to life.

The under world is not to be confused with the afterlife, this isn’t crossing from life to death here, just another area of Earth that’s locked off from regular mortals. What’s fucking hilarious though, and I shit you not this is a real plot development in the movie, they decided to block off the under world from the rest of Earth after Napoleon and Hitler and other major military figures of the past invaded and looted the place. This wasn’t a one time deal, this happened multiple times, across centuries, maybe even millennia. It was only after Hitler invaded and looted that they decided it would be a good idea to create some sort of locking mechanism. Leave it to him to cause nations to finally resort to drastic defensive measures.

There’s an adorable animal sidekick, of course, but stuff happens with it that, in all honesty, I really wasn’t expecting. And if there’s anything I can applaud this film for, it’s that it has some unexpected plot twists and developments happen. Stuff like that usually entertains me, and this film has a plethora of moments that subverted my expectations in a good way. That being said, that’s the only real thing this film has going for it. Because I’m not going to lie, this film, objectively speaking, isn’t all that great if you take the time to analyze it from a story perspective. The story isn’t THAT deep, so they cover for it with all the unique looking monsters, visuals, animations, environments, action bits, anything to keep it lively in spite of how shallow it is. Nothing exemplifies this bit of trickery further than this giant crater that has to be descended during the finale. A crater that’s deemed impossible to scale down. Seriously, this thing is at least half a mile deep, most likely an entire mile. It takes all day for this special military agent (who pretends to be a teacher) to scale down this thing. But then, next thing you know, during the epilogue, everyone just gets on up out of that thing like it was nothing. How? Fuck if I know. Only answer I can come up with is that maybe it’s not as deep as it looks, like this movie’s plot.

Buy yours now, and you’ll be able to breathe in it. I say this never having attempted it.

At least the protagonist comes up with a motivation which, to my surprised delight, ends up not being a “because I love you” motivation. Nope, it’s something more relatable, especially during the times we’re currently living in. Her motivation is, “because I was lonely.” Amen to that. That’s as good a reason as any for going on a random adventure into a place where you can breath underwater where the water is called Aqua Water.

The moment I realized this useless broad deserves to die.

That all said, this bitch of a protagonist, despite not doing anything whatsoever to make me annoyed at her in any fashion whatsoever up to this one point in the movie, loses any and all respect from me because of her fatal failings as a girl, as a human being, as any species of creature on the planet. Because of this one scene that made me lose all of my sanity. She has a fully loaded pistol (which I thought she left behind, but apparently not), and is being strangled by this monster that’s at least twice her size, and is therefore at point blank range in front of her. She fires at it several times, and misses every single mother fucking shot. You may not believe me, and I wouldn’t blame you, because you’d have to see it to believe it. Hitting the broadside of a barn is more difficult than trying to hit that fucking thing at that range! It takes more effort to miss than it does to hit it! This isn’t fucking XCOM 2 goddamnit!

You know what? No. I refuse to believe a girl who is this bad of a shot is capable of being literate.

Despite all that, in spite of it being a flawed film that can’t be taken as seriously as it wants you to, this is still a fun enough time to be worth watching. In fact, not taking it seriously allows for optimal entertainment value. For every moment it tries to be heavy-handed with relationships for those living, dying, and dead, it has enough tonal shifts to cause whiplash, along with enough moments that are easy to joke about, especially if you’re immature like me. Like how this teacher wants to use his student (who we get to see bathe naked a couple times, but not too explicitly) as a vessel for his wife so he can love her again. You know, like how most student-teacher relationships work. Recommended.

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