This was my favorite film I was out of the 3 I saw at HIFF. It had a very fun and cute story with gorgeous animation. Funny enough, I was a bit skeptical about the animation style at first, but once it was used in more dynamic actions and movements it really shown through. The use of sound and music was also very well done and was integrated very well into the story and animations. And singers they used were actually decently talented and didn’t stand out from the rest of the voice actors in the film. The effect for the mermaid talks is rather interesting in how synthesized it sounds. Like she’s just barely mimicking words she heard from humans. The father mermaid’s design was also somewhat unique to how mermaids are usually designed. It’s also different to be reminded most Japanese interpretations of mermaids are more negative with them still having the siren/death aspect to them you’d see in old Greek tales. Where the west has taken a more positive spin on the mythological beasts. This story does put the mermaids in some positive light, but it also keeps a certain element of them being dangerous to humans. With their singing having some mind control elements over humans and how their bites can affect humans and other living creatures. The character designs are rather simple, but that does allow for them to give much more exaggerated and animated reactions and movements when needed for effect. It was slightly out of left field when they introduced the Lu and Kai love plot since Lu looks much younger art wise and there was little leading up to it at that point. It’s also nice to see more bittersweet endings now and again. Though, it does feel like that’s just more common in Japanese films than American films. I wouldn’t mind seeing more work from the director after this. I’ll have to keep my eyes open for any future work with his name attached to the film. Especially if it is another animated film seeing how he set the bar pretty high with this one.