18 July 2024
our leading characters from Netflix anime Marboroshi

Anime Review – Marboroshi (2024)

Women writers and directors are underrepresented in anime. It is still a male-dominated industry, so I feel it is important to showcase and highlight anime series and films made by women. This film is made by one of the few women who have made it big, Mari Okada. She is more famous for being a writer, having penned hit shows like Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day and Toradora, as well as films like Her Blue Sky and Maquia. She is a very talented writer and has recently proven to be an excellent director, as Maquia is wonderful. All her projects share a common theme: love. She has explored this in various ways, whether it be the love between mother and child or a character learning to fall in love. This theme is featured in all the projects of hers that I have seen. So, it is no surprise that it is present in Marboroshi. However, it takes a while before it makes its appearance.

Marboroshi follows our lead, Masamune Kikuiri, who is stuck frozen in time with the rest of his town after an accident at a factory. We are dropped into this world where the town has not aged in many years. The sky begins to tear apart, and then magical wolf spirits appear to seal the cracks. Additionally, Masamune is roped in by Atsumi Sagami to look after a mysterious young girl.

My biggest issue with the film is simply how long it takes for the ball to get rolling. Yes, it is visually stunning—MAPPA is at the top of its game when it comes to animation quality—but at the same time, I found myself scratching my head more than being engaged. There is a moment where everything clicks into place, and you realize what Mari Okada is trying to convey with this film. However, it just took too long to get there, and I’m not sure how rewarding the theme of the future not being set in stone is. Yes, love is mixed in there too. We see our two leads fall in love in a world where, once the time freeze ends, they need to act as if nothing happened.

It wasn’t until the halfway point that the click moment occurred to me, as I mentioned before, and I saw how all the pieces were fitting together. This caused a snowball effect where I slowly started to become more and more interested, but for some, that might be too little too late. The film is nearly 2 hours long, and it feels like it. When the credits rolled, I was a tad emotional and enjoyed my time. The ride was certainly a bumpy one.

★★★1/2

Out Now on Netflix / Jeannie Tirado, Kitana Turnbull, Robbie Daymond, Isaac Robinson-Smith / Dir: Mari Okada / Netflix / 12


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