An Emotional Animated Wartime Film
Besides being a real tearjerker, In this Corner of the World is a masterpiece that sheds light on how World War II affected the Japanese community. This is a “In This Corner of the World” review on this wonderful and beautiful film.
We all know the history of the bomb attack in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, which destroyed the entire city and killed thousands. Entwined with one of the darkest times in history, In this Corner of the World is like a mirror that shows the everyday struggles we face and how we carry on with our lives. Because life doesn’t shower us will all the good things at once. There is laughter, happiness, and sweet moments, but there are also hardships, death, and tears.
Grave of the Fireflies by Isao Takahata also is an animated film about this war but he went at it differently.
Sunao Katabuchi’s “In This Corner Of The World” is an adaptation from an award-winning manga of the same name by Fumiyo Kōno. The film is set in Hiroshima and Kure, mainly in 1944-45. It realistically captures the beauty of the time during the ’30s and ’40s in Japan before the devastation of world war. It shows in detail the ordinary life during a time when things were simpler.
The story is centered around Suzu Urano, an artistic eighteen-year-old, kind-hearted, courageous, and a daydreamer living in a small fishing town, Eba, near Hiroshima. From the beginning, the film shows us the bright side of Suzu and her love of paintings. It’s hard not to notice and admire the protagonist’s strong characteristics, who is simply adorable. When Suzu comes of age, she is married to Shusaku Hojo and moves to Kure City, 15 miles away from Hiroshima. From being a school kid to suddenly becoming a wife and taking care of household chores, the film shows us how fast life can change. And how our only choice will be to carry on wherever life leads us.
As Suzu balances her new life in a different environment, the threat of war became a concern to the townsfolk. Living with her husband’s family, she now has to take care of the household, prepare food and do daily tasks. Not only is Suzu artistic, but she also shows her creative side when cooking meals too—a cute tiny character who behaves maturely. She quickly gets along with her new family and develops a strong bond with her adorable niece, Harumi. Suzu’s sister-in-law, Keiko, first leaves an impression as a rude and mean person. But as we get to see more of her, she’s just a soft, caring person. And Suzu’s husband, on the other hand, is a quiet man who loves her dearly.
The first half of the film shows a warm and idyllic town life. Everything is slow, calm, and playing in perfect harmony. But the tragedy that comes after completely transforms the peaceful town into a nightmarish place. The war begins, and there are not only food shortages but also air raids destroying almost everything. Suzu’s new life becomes challenging for her, but she manages through it with courage. When there was a shortage of food supply, Suzu had to do whatever she could to prepare meals during the tough times.
Slowly the war becomes more tragic for Suzu’s family as well as the townspeople. There are explosions, air raids, buildings and houses are destroyed. People started losing homes, and some are gravely injured while some lose their lives and dear ones. It is sad to see the damage that war does to people. One cannot fathom the pain and suffering caused by war. It is genuinely heartbreaking.
Though the characters are fictional, what happened is real. The depiction of the horror of WWII during the time is based on extensive research. With rich details, it brings to life the lost beauty of the townscape by recreating the background through old photographs and memories from people who survived the war. It is a beautiful film and a poignant reminder of the hardships and losses people faced during wartime in Japan.
Read more of this author’s articles by clicking here.
Sources: In this Corner of the World, Wikipedia
Featured Image: Official poster of the film