The Journey is a Japanese–Saudi Arabian animated film directed by Kōbun Shizuno, written by Atsuhiro Tomioka, and co-produced by Toei Animation and Manga Productions. The film revolves around a potter named Aus who joins a battle to defend his home city. The film was released in Japan on June 25, 2021.
The Journey – Review and Analysis
The Journey is an ambitious but flawed experience. It is ambitious because it gambles its reception over the audience’s acceptance or interest in Arabic culture. There’s very little to take from the film if you are already well acquainted with Arabic culture and the Quranic legends.
As a person who lived through and heard all those stories multiple times in their life, I’d say I felt conflicted while watching this movie. There is still the joy of having a legendary story animated in Japanese style; also the boredom of knowing exactly how the story will pan out.
Starting with the premise of the film, it’s an ode to Surah Al-Fil taken directly from the Quran as source material. The film also utilizes several other short stories to give the film the illusion of depth; we’ll talk more about that soon enough. The story itself is adequate, as it stays true to the source material and provides sufficient information at all stages without taking too much off the experience.
The film’s premiere was originally planned to happen in 2020 at the Cannes Film Festival, which was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, then the film was scheduled to release in 2021. VOX Cinemas acquired the theatrical rights for the film in the Middle East and North Africa region, while Toei subsidiary T-Joy acquired the distribution rights for the film in Japan.
The Journey Movie Story Plot
Based on an epic tale drawn from the Arabian Peninsula and featuring the distinctive anime animation look. The Journey is emblematic of Manga Productions’ aims to create content for global audiences with international standards, support local talent, and showcase the region, its people, and its culture. The company is a subsidiary of the MiSK Foundation in Saudi Arabia.
Art and Vocal performance
The art, to me, resembles the western adaptations of anime more than the traditional Japanese productions. It focuses more on aesthetics rather than the quality of the animation. Much of the fight scenes were anti-climactic since they were extremely brief and had no momentum to deliver.
Voice acting for the Arabic dubs was unexpectedly good. The script of the dialogues was fun to hear and dissect. Because the characters converse using Classical Arabic. As well as express themselves more like stanzas in an elegant poem rather than just plain statements. This is usually the product of well-written Arabic prose.
There isn’t much to say about the main characters. They’re bare-bones, and most of the cast exists just because the directors threw them in there. Quality trumps quantity! The designs were mediocre, and while some characters looked excellent, there wasn’t much to say about them. However, it is essential to highlight that some historically accurate figures, such as the primary antagonist, Abraha, were not given the attention they needed.
To conclude, this anime is an okay watch. If you have a keen interest in the legends it depicts, then go for it. To watch the stories that you read in the texts coming to life in animation is always overwhelming. If you are looking for a unique experience that will leave you satisfied in virtue of the sheer quality of the product; then this is not for you.