Lu Over the Wall | Yaoke Tsugeru Lu No Uta (2017)
Dir.: Masaaki Yuasa | Fantasy | Anime with the voices of: Shota Shimoda, Kanon Tani, Minako Kotobuki, Soma Saito; Japan 2017, 112 min.
Director Masaki Yuasa follows his brilliant The Night is Short, Walk on Girl with another eccentric outing featuring a teenage band and a mermaid. LU OVER THE WALL is a spontaneous combustion of music and waterworks that bursts into action in the seaside town of Hirashi Bay, where sullen teenager Kai (Shimoda) is stropping his way through life, resentful of his mother abandoning the family to work as a dancer in Tokyo. Kai fancies himself as a musician and has secretly been posting his efforts on the internet where he meets fellow musician Yuho (Kotobuki), who talks him into to joining her band with her lover Kunio (Saito). Their lively gigs in an abandoned amusement park awaken the musical mermaid Lu (Tani), whose exotic voice and fins that turn into feet when she dances, make her a winning addition to the band. Soon Lu even liberates the local stray dogs from their home, and they turn into amphibious creatures called ‘merdoggies’.
But the townspeople are suspicious of Lu and blame her for causing floods in the region. According to folklore, mermaids are reputed to steal the locals and change them into fish. But Lu’s father, a shark-like creature, comes to the rescue and Kai and Lu declare their love. But can a mermaid really live with a human, particularly when a jealous human like Yuho is around?
The only trouble with Lu is that Yuasa has trouble fitting all his ideas and characters into this inventive new take on a classic mermaid tale, given the meagre running time of just under two hours. There’s enough material here for many hours of enjoyment and the music and images are beautifully cohesive and delightfully entertaining. We really care about Lu and her friends as they frolic in their marine home. Lu is delicately innocent and misunderstood by the locals, in contrast to the more streetwise Kai and Yuho. But Lu is redeemed in the grand finale of this anime treat made fluid and gloriously flowing by its flash animation style. AS
NOW ON RELEASE AT ARTHOUSE CINEMAS | 1st DECEMBER 2017