Synopsis: Strange sounds in the darkness... Unearthly music from an old crystal radio... These are all the warning Asuna Watase has before a simple walk to her clubhouse catapults her into a nightmarish adventure that will take her beneath the Earth to a lost land beyond the realm of legend! Attacked by a strange monstrous creature, rescued by a mysterious stranger and pursued by a relentless enemy, Asuna finds herself enmeshed in a centuries old mystery that will bind her to a strange young defender and lead her inevitably, towards a secret that may hold the key to life itself!
Review: To quote a cucumber "I laughed, I cried; it moved me, Bob."
This is one of the best and most heart wrenching films I have ever seen. It's a fantasy story with a lot of ancient myths and stories woven into it's core but it's surface is a story about a girl who's trying to find herself after losing first her father and then the first friend she's had in a long time. Three other plot-lines are woven in along side Asuna's to create a journey about life after loss that will leave you in tears!
The animation is beautiful! This director/film writer (Makoto Shinkai) uses a technique that animates over a pre-filmed landscape and then animating the characters into that. So, the scenery is actually based off of real places in Japan and the overlaying colors that are added just take your breath away.
The plot...is confusing at best. On the surface it's a story about dealing with loss all in a magical setting but there are many deeper ideas and stories that appear along the way. While this ensures that there's always something new to ponder no matter how many times you watch it, it also leaves most viewers asking questions with no answers.
The characters. They contrast, and breathe, and live. It's so difficult for a storyteller to pack a lifetime worth of emotion into an hour and so many minutes. I mean, just think of your favorite films and then compare with how often you felt the same emotions in real life that that movie gave you. Even if the film is a comedy, the laughs in real life probably have a bit more space in between. Children Who Chase Lost Voices is a delicate balance between beautiful, thoughtful, real, and sad. There are even some moments that are scary or exciting. And it's all due to the characters. You feel for them and want to fight for them. Watching Asuna struggle through a strange and that rejects her moves the viewer. We want to see something happy come from the mess.
As a Christian I see so much potential in films like this to discuss the joy Christ brings into lives when everything seems lost. Obviously Children Who Chase Lost Voices doesn't go there but it does ask many questions that everyone who has lost someone knows.
Content: As I mentioned before, there are some scary moments. Dark, man-eating creatures that rise up from the ground and a spirit that inhabits a pre-living character's body are a few. There is also some violent fights and a fairly bloody scene where a character's eye is destroyed.
While the Japanese language version is my favorite, I have seen both it and the English and both are on a similar rating with language. The English version has less B***ards and a few more D***'s while the subbed version carries a few of both.
All in all I give Children Who Chase Lost Voices From Deep Below 7 out 0f 10 Castles in the Sky!