I’m gonna keep this one somewhat short, as I have come across a rare, but serious issue of mine: Upon completing this, I immediately wanted to re-watch it. But in such a short span? That’s cause for exhaustion. I can only discuss my thoughts the first time around… and wonder if a second viewing could ease some of my early frustrations.
The premise for this film is a lot more interesting than the content itself… initially. This “initially” comment will persist throughout this short write-up, mostly because that’s the theme to my grievances. Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni is two hours long, and it’s almost uncanny how cleanly its quality splits from first half to second. A serene, almost whimsical first half, full of memories, introductions, and slow-burning situations giving rise to a new normal for the female lead. The second is more horrific, full of what one would come to expect from the grim expectations set by the setting of the film.
I’ll set the boundaries: The first half is really boring and occasionally hard to follow. It has a tendency to jump from scene to scene quickly, with dialogue that makes it a little vague with what’s happening and how much time has passed. There was one sequence where the female lead, Suzu, wakes up in a room with a family and claims she “dreamed” that she was married off to another family, which she was, and the scene continues on as if she didn’t. Then she goes back to said betrothed family. I realized later she was probably joking(?) and the family was playing along, but that threw me through multiple mental loops that I was questioning the reality of the situation for, like, the next ten minutes. And that isn’t the only time things like that occur!
Around thirty-five minutes in, I was struggling to stay awake. Mundane activities and menial relationship building between Suzu and her new family served to build the foundation of her new “home,” and I understand that. Even still, it was not gripping at all. Having everyday life be both entertaining and realistic can be a formidable challenge, and I don’t think this film did it all that well. At least not for the first half, which seemed to have very few moments of actual conflict or notoriety. Almost has that Ghibli wholesomeness that everyone adores but I find drastically overrated.
And thus, majestically onward, the film pulled into its second half and lulled me out of sleepy time. The wartime dynamic, the inner turmoil of Suzu’s complacency, the essence of tragedy in a state of war (Disclaimer: I fucking hate war with every fiber of my being). How excellent in its presentation of constant pressure, and an almost accepted part of one’s life during a violent affair. Dealing with grief, with loss, with the unpredictable nature of life, exacerbated by larger forces dictating the safety of people’s existence. It was beautiful, in a way that would have meant nothing if not for the first half building up the effort to flesh out these characters and make us care for them. And that’s why I want to re-watch it. With this context, I think I can better appreciate what it wanted to do with its dedication to building.
Until then, I’m going to cut it right about there. It may not be too soon, but eventually, I will watch this again and see if my overall impressions change. After all that, I still gave Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni a decent score, one that shows that an effort was made in displaying quality content. And hey, maybe it’s better to want to watch a decent movie twice than to watch a great movie once. Time will tell.
The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.
If you’d like to see more reviews like this, feel free to look at my full list of anime reviews!
Thank you for your time. Have a great day.