Her Blue Sky is a 2019 Japanese animated film produced by CloverWorks. The film is directed by Tatsuyuki Nagai and written by Mari Okada, with Masayoshi Tanaka designing the characters and serving as chief animation director.
Second-year high school student Aoi is an aspiring musician. Her older sister, Akane’s ex-boyfriend Shinnosuke Kanomura is a struggling guitarist. Aoi and Akane’s parents passed away in an accident 13 years ago. Also, Akane gave up her ambition of going to Tokyo with Shinnosuke to take care of Aoi. Since then, Aoi has felt indebted to her older sister. One day, she was invited to perform at a music festival as a session musician by a famous Enka singer named Dankichi. At the same time, Shinnosuke returns to Aoi and Akane’s town after a long time away. Shinno mysteriously appears, who is Shinnosuke from 13 years ago who has transcended time, and Aoi falls in love for the first time.
Review and analysis – Her Blue Sky
Her Blue Sky is about falling in love for the second time and losing sight of what you previously desired. The film masterfully balances its somber themes of regret with humorous elements.
The most astounding aspect of the anime Her Blue Sky is how it skillfully confuses an otherwise basic narrative of regret and loss into an elaborate web of the crossed desires of its many characters in a storyline dependent on a magical realism element.
Her Blue Sky is about accepting the realities of life. While compromises are necessary but they are not always compulsory. Shinno first appears in the film when Shinnosuke opens the box containing all of his memories. After getting rejected by Akane 13 years ago, although he made up his mind to come back for her after becoming a musician. Sometime later, he gave up on this dream.
The guitar that he had bought with Akane is a personification of his youth. Leaving behind the guitar personified leaving behind a part of himself that connected him to Akane. Shinno not being able to come out of the room depicts Shinnosuke’s feelings for Akane that he keeps locked away, not wanting to show them. Shinno, on the other hand, isn’t bound by anything after the guitar strings snap, simply wishing to see Akane safe. What adds more beauty to this moment of confrontation is the awakening of Shinnosuke. As he starts running towards his feeling rather than away from them.
Her Blue Sky – Characters
The film has many characters that influence the plot. However, it revolves around four major characters, Aoi Aioi, Akane Aioi, Shinnosuke Kanomura, and Shinno, the past self of Shinnosuke. Through a series of events, these characters reflect on their choices, confront their feelings and accept their regrets. Although every character has some development. I feel that they could have given more depth to each of them, particularly the older Shinnosuke, and exactly how did he come around. Some of the character interaction is decent or quite good.
There are some beautiful still shots in the film which are extremely realistic and full of life, a sharp contrast to the plot. I feel let down by the animation in the film’s climax. Make no mistake: the animation throughout the film is a solid effort, full of nuanced character expressions and acting. However, the climax, on the other hand, isn’t a very effective presentation of the animation’s abilities, and as a set-piece, it feels strangely unambitious.
On a narrative level, this scene comes across as an anticlimax because the threat of danger has already been eliminated before it even happens. It’s important for the themes and a feeling of emotional closure, but otherwise, it fails to pack a punch.
Her Blue Sky blends magical realism and teenage angst in a story. It is a thought-provoking exploration of regret that feels as unique and entertaining as any other anime film. You will laugh, you will cry, and hopefully, you will look at your 13-year-old self and smile, knowing they will be ok growing up into who you are now.