Monday, July 18

Fantasia International Film Festival - The Girl From the Other Side Review


Directed by: Yutaro Kubo

Fantasia International Film Festival

It's time for my second film review from Fantasia International Film Festival! 

For this review, I went on a different journey with the anime feature film THE GIRL FROM THE OTHER SIDE. 

Now, before I dive in, I want to share some backstory on this film that I learned after watching it. 

THE GIRL FROM THE OTHER SIDE is originally a manga series created by Nagabe. It was nominated for the Best Comic award at the 45th Angoulême International Comics Festival in 2018 and was on the Great Graphic Novels for Teens list by the American Library Association's YALSA division in both 2018 and 2019.

Director Yutaro Kubo showcased a short film of THE GIRL FROM THE OTHER SIDE at Fantasia International Film Festival in 2019 and then a Kickstarter was born to create a full-length feature. Obviously, the Kickstarter was successful and THE GIRL FROM THE OTHER SIDE made its debut in Japan spring of this year.

Why am I telling you all this? Basically, to show my humble background of the anime world. I love Studio Ghibli films and have seen PERFECT BLUE, AKIRA, PAPRIKA and BERSERK. But that is the extent of my anime knowledge.

I am open to anime and any foreign feature film for that matter. In fact, foreign horror films are some of my absolute favorite films. 

So when I saw the film image and read about THE GIRL FROM THE OTHER SIDE, I knew this was a film I had to see. In fact, it was one of the ones I was most excited for.

And I was not disappointed.

This was an amazingly beautiful, animated feature film. From the art style to the flowing piano
music; to the simple yet powerful plot and huggable characters, I was moved to tears. 

If like me you haven't read the manga, THE GIRL FROM THE OTHER SIDE is a dark fairytale set in a world divided into two halves. The Outside and the Inside. The Inside is run by humans, and they fear the Outside as it's run by demonic beings with a lingering curse. As one village is ransacked to prevent further spread of the curse, one girl is left behind and discovered by a creature from the Outside. Instead of leaving her, he decides to take her in. 

When she awakes, she tells him her name is Shiva. The creature can't remember his human name, so she calls him "Teacher." 

What follows is an endearing story of affection and bringing light into darkness.

The animation style is very different from previous anime feature film classics, but it easily stands out as its own masterpiece.  

The plot, like many other animes, is subtle but impactful. Some may want more or a better explanation in the third act.

Overall, is this a worthy adaptation of the manga? Art-wise, absolutely. Story-wise, I don't know. 

But you can bet I'm adding the omnibus to my book collection.

4.5 out of 5.0

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