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21st Animation Division Grand Prize

Lu over the wall

Animated feature film

YUASA Masaaki [Japan]


Lu over the wall is an original animat- ed lm directed by YUASA Masaaki, known for Mind Game (2004), The Tatami Galaxy (2010) and Ping Pong The Animation (2014). It was fully pro- duced in the Adobe Flash platform. The main character, Kai, is a middle- schooler who has moved to Hinashi- cho, a lonely shing village, after his parent’s divorce. He has a hard time talking to his parents about his com- plicated feelings, and his school days are lled with a sense of gloom. His only relief is to upload the songs he writes to the Internet. His classmates invite him to join their band, and one day, when he goes to Merfolk Island, where they practice, he meets Lu, a mermaid. Once they meet Lu, who sings with such enjoyment and danc- es so innocently, Kai and the people of Hinashi-cho are gradually able to share their own feelings. However, since ancient times, the residents of Hinashi-cho have believed that mermaids bring disaster, and a rift begins to develop between Lu and the townspeople. The starting point for this lm was YUASA’s feeling that people can no longer simply say out loud that they love something. The songs and dances spread throughout the lm are depicted with a unique perspective, feel for color, freely mov- ing forms and well-balanced smooth movements. This gives the lm a vi- brant dynamism.

Reason for Award

Although the lm’s theme of nd- ing what one loves and wants to do within a closed-off environment is an orthodox one, the simple images that seem to take us back to an ear- lier time and the distorted, graceful movements charm the viewer with a light touch. Lu, with her pure spirit, and the problems and desires of the other characters are drawn in full, giving the story a sense of reality that allows the viewer to easily accept the fantastical aspects. The contrast between the young people who yearn for a future they cannot see yet, the adults who are trying to change as they accept reality, and the elderly people stuck in the past was par- ticularly impressive. This kind of lm tends to focus on the younger char- acters, but the careful depiction of the adults and elderly people living in the town revealed Director YUASA’s sensitivity and consistent focus on the theme. I could also sense his love for the lm, which left me with a sense of warmth that stayed with me even after the lm. The depiction of Lu and the Okageiwa (cavern) as symbols of Kai’s heart was really spectacular. (UDA Kounosuke)