Japan Media Arts Festival  
21st

Animation Division

Grand Prize

Lu over the wall

Animated feature film

YUASA Masaaki [Japan]

© 2017 Lu Film partners
Outline

Lu over the wall is an original animated film directed by YUASA Masaaki, known for Mind Game (2004), The Tatami Galaxy (2010) and Ping Pong The Animation (2014). It was fully produced in the Adobe Flash platform. The main character, Kai, is a middle-schooler who has moved to Hinashi-cho, a lonely fishing village, after his parent’s divorce. He has a hard time talking to his parents about his complicated feelings, and his school days are fillled with a sense of gloom. His only relief is to upload the songs he writes to the Internet. His classmates invite him to join their band, and one day, when he goes to Merfolk Island, where they practice, he meets Lu, a mermaid. Once they meet Lu, who sings with such enjoyment and dances so innocently, Kai and the people of Hinashi-cho are gradually able to share their own feelings. However, since ancient times, the residents of Hinashi-cho have believed that mermaids bring disaster, and a rift begins to develop between Lu and the townspeople. The starting point for this film was YUASA’s feeling that people can no longer simply say out loud that they love something. The songs and dances spread throughout the film are depicted with a unique perspective, feel for color, freely moving forms and well-balanced smooth movements. This gives the film a vibrant dynamism. 

Reason

Although the film’s theme of finding what one loves and wants to do within a closed-off environment is an orthodox one, the simple images that seem to take us back to an earlier time and the distorted, graceful movements charm the viewer with a light touch. Lu, with her pure spirit, and the problems and desires of the other characters are drawn in full, giving the story a sense of reality that allows the viewer to easily accept the fantastical aspects. The contrast between the young people who yearn for a future they cannot see yet, the adults who are trying to change as they accept reality, and the elderly people stuck in the past was particularly impressive. This kind of film tends to focus on the younger characters, but the careful depiction of the adults and elderly people living in the town revealed Director YUASA’s sensitivity and consistent focus on the theme. I could also sense his love for the film, which left me with a sense of warmth that stayed with me even after the film. The depiction of Lu and the Okageiwa (cavern) as symbols of Kai’s heart was really spectacular. (UDA Kounosuke) 


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