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Colorful: The Motion Picture Anime DVD Review

4 min read

If John Hughes had directed a dark anime movie, this would likely be the result…

What They Say:
There is a Train Station on the other side of death, yet not all who arrive on the platform will be judged ready for passage onwards. For one unready soul, there will be a test… and a second chance. Rather than be reborn, this soul will awake in the body of 14 year old suicide Makoto Kobayashi. But even while finding a way to fit into Makoto’s existence, the soul must unravel two mysteries: the secret of the great sin it committed in its own previous life, and the reasons that led to Makoto’s suicide. And while some may believe the truth to be as plain to see as black and white, “Makoto” soon finds that the real world is overlaid with so many shades of gray and rainbows of colors that even what seem to be the most obvious of facts are not what they seem. With the soul’s time in Makoto’s body quickly running out, the answers to all of life’s mysteries await discovery in the acclaimed animation masterpiece that won the 3th Japanese Academy award for Excellence in Animation: COLORFUL.

The Review:
The English and Japanese audio both came out fine with no distortions.

The movie was originally released theatrically in 2010 using the best techniques in digital animation and looks very pretty n screen. The DVD had no pixilation issues of any kind.

The front depicts Makoto laying peacefully in a red and white flora arrangement with the masthead on the bottom and film festival awards across the top. The rear has the “what they say” text at the top with screen caps over the middle and appropriate credits at the bottom.

The menu has options for the movie, languages, credits, scene selection, and previews on the bottom third with an easily spotted cursor for link selection.

None other than Sentai Filmworks previews

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
This is one movie…. that can impact a reviewer (or general viewer for that matter) in very different ways depending on when it’s viewed. We start with a soul (represented initially via on-screen text) who is apathetic about the possibility of being re-born initially while waiting at the train platform for the afterlife. It seems Purapura has to do a bit of a sales job just to coax him back into re-joining the world. Only the challenge of this soul figuring out why the host body it’s joining tried to commit suicide, as well as what the host body’s great sin was seems to motivate this soul in any way. Purapura is a fun guide in helping him with the issues this host body called Makoto has apparently had to face.

It’s a rather interesting look at what might make a child end everything before even trying to start to find his life potential. Along the way, we see that Makoto was an angry, trouble child who had very creative talents. We also see he has had difficult interactions with other kids who are in the art club at school, who themselves may have their own difficulties resulting in awkward or unusual interactions. On top of this, there’s something Makoto has witnessed that erodes his image of a stable home life and causes him to lash out repeatedly. So much seems to taint Makoto’s emotional intake, all before he enters high school.

We often see “young people with problem” movies in the U.S. but I don’t think many take quite the approach shown here. How should youth assimilate to the world around them? What part do we play with their perceptions? Are art minded people simply crazy or just ones who what may be standard life differently than more logic oriented ones? How much could concepts such as sex affect such people? The movie touches on all these aspects of life and thankfully, doesn’t provide any answer except the only one that matters. In peeling back layers of our existence, Colorful depicts Makoto’s journey into understanding and doesn’t do it in a condescending way, which is a bit refreshing in some respects compared to American films which tackle similar subject matter. There are some aspects which feel somewhat similar to other films dealing with the young but perspective is everything here.

In Summary:
Learning what makes Mokoto tick (as well as Purapura to a degree) is a worthwhile aspect to this commentary on everyday life. Colorful is a very solid anime film to gain (or re-gain) a bit of insight on what’s precious about this world. It’s simple but not simple-minded. Will it affect you as it did me? Depending on your life experiences, your mileage may vary on that score. But in any case, I don’t think you’ll find it boring. My only complaint is the lack of extra insights from either the director or original story writer to understand their process in making the movie. Otherwise, I’d say this is a decent DVD to buy.

Japanese Language, English Language, English Subtitles

Content Grade: A
Audio Grade: A+
Video Grade:  A+
Packaging Grade: A
Menu Grade: A
Extras Grade: N/A

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: May 14th, 2013
MSRP: $29.98
Running Time: 126 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1, 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Panasonic 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Marantz

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