I don’t even know where to begin with this film. It was passionate, intriguing, emotional, heartbreaking, and heartwarming all the the same time. It was a mix of emotions that really put you in the forefront of WWII. It was so beautifully done that my heart ached relentlessly at the end of the film. I just wanted to reach into the screen and hug Suzu (our main character).
We learn about WWII in school, but it really isn’t the same as actually being there. It is a whole other emotional level experiencing something so tragic in real life. I can’t even begin to image what it might have been like. That is exactly what Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni (In This Corner of the World) does. It drops you in the middle of pre-world war II Japan before the war starts and gradually builds up to when the war takes place.
We grow up with a young Suzu, going from a free-spirited young girl to a mature young woman. We get to see her day to day life with her family/friends, and then as she grows older she is offered a marriage proposal from another family some distance away. Suzu originally lives in the famous Hiroshima but eventually moves to Kure to marry and be apart of her husbands family.
My favorite part of this film (besides the visuals and music) was the fact that they broke up this film according to what age Suzu was at the time. We get time stamps of her age and what year it is. I really loved that the viewer got to go on this journey of “growing up” with the main character. It makes it a little easier for the viewer to keep up with what was going on in the movie.
Of course the visuals are simply stunning! With a blend of traditional animation and watercolor, the viewer is left with a sense of surrealism and fantasy. This film just might be something out of a coloring book. The pastel colors are magical and easy on the eyes. It gives this bittersweet film a touch of softness and whimsy. Since Suzu is an artist, it would make sense to have this film be visually-appealing. One can even say that this type of animation goes along with the paintings of that said time.
This film is a bit on the slower side, so you might want to make sure you have time set aside for it to really appreciate the message it is trying to bring across. Some people may compare this to Grave of the Fireflies, but I think both films are uniquely different. While both movies are about WWII, they both have different aspects and story-lines. Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni (In This Corner of the World) centers more around the daily struggles of women in 20th century Japan.
Gemma over at (https://gemmadeealexander.wordpress.com/2017/08/18/in-this-corner-of-the-world/) had some neat facts about the film. I always love learning about the process of animation and what goes into making a movie!
“Katabuchi, who worked early in his career for Hayao Miyazaki, spent six years researching Suzu’s world before beginning animation. Because Hiroshima and Kure were almost completely destroyed by the end of the war, he gathered accounts from survivors (most of whom were children at the time) and collected more than 4,000 historical photographs to recreate the cityscape of the 1930s and 40s. The story is based on a manga by Fumio Kouno.”
Overall, telling a delicate story about the ugly truth of war is no easy feat to accomplish. Sometimes these stories tend to be less desirable in the anime community, but I feel like they deserve more recognition. The same could be said of Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises. Another film that is HIGHLY underappreciated and I HIGHLY recommend watching (if you haven’t seen it already).
Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni (In This Corner of the World) is a story about strength, courage and determination. While these characters may be portrayed as ordinary, their journey through WWII is extraordinary. If you want to get a keen insight on how life was during WWII then Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni (In This Corner of the World) is the film for you. Even if you aren’t a huge history buff I would still recommend this film if you want something that tugs at your heartstrings. Just prepare to have your “feels” violated beyond belief XD
Disclaimer: All imagery and photos come from searching for them on the internet. I have no claim or right to them.