- Alt. Name
- Yoake Tsugeru Lu no Uta
- Release Date
- May 19, 2017
- 1 hr. 57 min.
- Science Saru
Lu Over The Wall is a 2017 Fantasy Adventure anime film by Japanese animation studio Science SARU. Though the studio has created interesting series like Netflix’s Develman: Crybaby and Japan Sinks 2020, Science SARU has brought viewers a family-friendly film. What’s most interesting about this film is that Masaaki Yuasa directs it. However, just because a stunning director leads an anime film doesn’t mean the product will be worthy of its audiences’ money or time. While this film is the studio’s fourth creation where they were sole creators, this film piqued many anime fans’ interests for multiple reasons, but does this film hold on its merit? Or is it just a flash in the pan type film?
Kai is talented but adrift, spending his days sulking in a small fishing village after his family moves from Tokyo. When his classmates invite him to play the keyboard in their band, their practice sessions bring an unexpected guest: Lu, a young mermaid whose dancing causes humans to dance – whether they want to or not compulsively. As Kai spends more time with Lu, he finds he can tell her what he is thinking, and a bond begins to form.
But since ancient times, the people of this small village have thought that mermaids have brought nothing but disaster. While Kai and Lu try to keep their friendship a secret, something happens to the town that not only puts them in danger but may destroy the entire village. Can Kai and Lu find a way to fix whatever happened? Or will Kai learn that mermaids aren’t as nice and friendly as he tried to believe?
Upon the first couple of minutes of viewing this film, one will immediately get the Disney factor that’s instilled inside of this story. The story is a classic coming of age-type story where a lonely teenager meets blank and either go on some adventure where the main character is better off. It’s tried and true; it’s a great combination that this film has done excellently, which was problematic upon the story’s first act. The story is decently paced but tends to be too fast in scenes that the viewer may wish to be a bit more refined. Though this story’s central element, when boiled down to it, has been done countless times before worldwide, Lu Over The Wall has overcome some of its predecessors’ pitfalls compared to plotlines. It merely matches each with either more oomph or more character development, either much appreciated involving the story.
However, when it comes to the pitfalls that this film couldn’t surpass, they seem to be a little hard and heavy. For instance, as stated, this film appears to have tried to incorporate the Disney motif, where a portion of the story will happen, music will play and repeat. While this is fine for little children, this repetition may become tiresome for people outside of the targeted demographic. Another problem with this story is this film is cut into three differently paced acts. The first act is relatively slow, which is expected given the viewer hasn’t succumbed to the story’s world. The second is a tad faster-paced, but it skips around, almost leaving the viewer feeling like they may have missed something.
The third and final act is the fastest-paced one of the bunch, leaving nothing left in the arsenal. When all three acts have finally been completed, the film quickly raps up in a cheesy and first draft style. Having a cheesy finish isn’t atrocious, but unfortunately, it’s done with no effort or form, which degrades everything that happens leading up to and before. The overall ending may be an utter disappointment not only to the viewer but also to one’s imagination.
When it comes to the art style, this film did not disappoint – mainly due to Masaaki Yuasa’s freeform, frenetic animation style. This art style is split right down the middle when it comes to characters, but the backgrounds seem to be on a different playing field – for better or for worse. The backgrounds seem to be lacking color at times, which gives off a rather abysmal life. Though that may sound negative, Lu Over The Wall uses this to its advantage by giving that background something to live for within its diverse character designs. This film’s character designs are in two different areas: the intriguing mermaid folk and the lower but still creative humans.
Upon first viewing, the viewer may not notice the beauty within this creative wonder called a film, but that’s the best part of rewatching something. The soundtrack is catchy but walks the fine line between potentially significant and flat-out annoying. While some may not enjoy the characters’ fluid-like animation, they’ll soon become indifferent once the story officially gets going. Both the opening and closing animations are equally creative and leave the viewer wanting more. Although the backgrounds seem gloomy and rather dull, this makes the film’s production team shine; they make things stand out. Watching this film more than once will become a great benefit to the viewers’ imagination and be able to witness the fluid-like animation more in detail than what one once thought. However, this film’s upbeat songs did tend to be too poppy and sometimes crossed the line into overtly childish.
When it comes to Lu Over The Wall’s characters, there are two different categories outside of humans and merfolk. The first type is the well-done characters, which are the ones that get the most screen time, then there are the others. For instance, Lu is a young mermaid who is in love with music. Although she can’t say much other than a few words here and there, she can communicate effectively. Her most prominent personality trait is that she is enamored with music, so much that it makes her uncontrollably dance. A byproduct happens to be a contagious dance towards anyone who sees her dance.
There is only one character that’s decently developed outside of her, and that’s Kai, a 14-year-old boy who becomes a recluse. He spends most of his time alone listening to music and seldomly helping his grandfather out with his work – when he’s not busy with school. Though his character is the best out of the humans, he lacks a lot of character development. Albeit throughout the film, the audience members will be able to watch him grow as a person, but they may be able to relate towards not only this character but also others. Throughout the film, there are many characters, but they either don’t get a fair amount of screen time or are terrible in general to not mention, which is a shame because that’s the rest of the film.
After viewing this film the first time, the viewer may feel like they potentially didn’t like it, but after they start rethinking about the songs, they’ll get the earworm that’s at the heart of this film. The catchy music and the beautifully crafted animation have brought a simple tale of growing up and coming out of one’s world and a fantastic family film. Lu Over The Wall isn’t the best film that Masaaki Yuasa has created, but it is a worthy piece of anime to watch.
Once the credits officially start to roll, the viewers will potentially hate the film for not giving them more to enjoy, which is its only flaw. Unfortunately, all good things – and bad ones – must eventually come to an end without a continuation, and this film will potentially fill one’s heart and musical feet like no other! Lu and Kai are a fantastic duo that, on paper, seem not to surpass the monotony, but somehow they succeed in their entertaining adventures, and that’s the best aspect of this film overall.
Cody Senpai is the creator of BakaNow, an anime review website that specializes in spoiler-free reviews for everyone. He is an avid anime watcher who has traveled to Japan numerous times to not only experience the culture and history but also to build friendships with people through a common interest. He is an avid animation fanatic from birth and even went on to major in communication to help share the importance of the stories we love to watch and listen to. Cody lives in Denver, Colorado and loves to do anything adventurous.