Although it was released theatrically in Japan and Europe in the 1970s, and had a Japanese home video release in 2004, the 2015 restoration by Cinelicous is the first time the film has had an official release in the United States. See more »
There are no ending credits or a 'THE END' title; all the credits are at the beginning. The opening theme is reprized over a blank screen after the final scene. The 2015 restoration adds a copyright byline and credits for the restoration. See more »
This film is a masterpiece. There are very few animation films that cross the territory into high art, but this is one. Calling it anime is kind of a disservice as it is more rooted in animated art films than it is anime. This may be Japans first animated masterpiece. But it was not done in a style many of us understand to be anime. It is deeply surrealistic in both imagery and approach. While some scenes are not animated, but rather hand painted still frames which are panned and edited together, but this never detracts from the overall context of the film. The animation itself is a blend of styles throughout the film, but the heavy use of watercolor lends well to the new 4K restored version.
This is a very adult film. It is highly sexual in nature. As an art film though from this era, it is actually not out of bounds. With that being said, art films, especially foreign ones, are not for everybody.
This is a feminist film, but it may be a difficult film to watch for some. So a bit of a trigger warning for those who care. The themes do deal deeply with sexual trauma and violence, and recovering from it. It is also though about finding independence in a patriarchal system, and ownership of ones own sexuality.
So beyond all that, if you do want to experience something different and beautiful, this film is something to behold. Everything from the great psychedelic rock, and free jazz soundtrack, to the mix of animation and artistic styles, we have a film that stands out even to this day. It is unique in what it offers. It's restoration should be celebrated.
On a side note, I have to credit AFI Silver in Silver Spring, MD for screening this film. It remains one of the best cinema's in the country as otherwise forgotten films find new audiences. This really has not been screened much in the US.
My hope is this does make it to blu-ray or some other media format. For now the credit is to the new distributors, but also arts cinemas like AFI Silver that are currently screening the film. It is a rare treat to see a film like this.
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