Masaaki Yuasa’s Lu Over The Wall, which was produced by Science Saru, was literally the most inconsistent and sporadic, yet extremely colorful animated film I have ever seen, but that’s not a bad thing. He definitely had a very unique style that is very different from the type of animation that most people might be used to. It only adds to the humor of the film.
The inconsistency keeps your attention because it keeps you thinking and trying to figure things out based on some visual symbolism and the narration from the characters. Some shots are very detailed whereas others are overly plain and simple. The flash backs or stories told were drawn differently from the rest of the film.
The music was loud and bold and matched the characters and colors very well. It was all very vivid. The dancing was too funny and the mermaid was too cute to bear. She reminded me of Ponyo, who ironically enough was also considered a mermaid with magical abilities.
The storyline contained facts from stories or legends in Japan. Before the screening of the film, which the director joined us for, he explained the main concept behind it; how the people of Japan feared mermaids. If you have watched/read about many things related to mermaids you would be familiar with many of the facts about them that were brought up in the movie. The only thing I haven’t experienced from a work about mermaids was putting a more positive spin on the singing of a siren. In legend it is known that they use their singing to lure men before dragging them under that water, but in this film, the singing makes everyone want to dance. It was a very cute spin on the idea and made it more kid friendly.
A recurring message throughout the film is to always say what’s on your mind, never be afraid to express yourself and others should be more open minded and less offensive towards other opinions/views. This message connects to the overall plot line. Even though the village people thought the mermaids were turn out exactly the way they heard of them through legends, it turned out to be the opposite. The merpeople were the most loving and generous people. No matter how bad Lu was treated she was always nice to everyone around her because she wanted to be friends with everyone.
It was cute in that there was an element of romance to it but it wasn’t really the central focus. In fact there was more of a focus on the general love Lu shared for every living thing regardless of what that living thing thought of her. Which echoes in the central message to love everyone regardless of differences.