This slow-blooming but affecting, delicately drawn animated work tells the story of young Suzu (voiced as an adult by Rena Nounen), a sparky but relatively normal young woman who grows up on the outskirts of Hiroshima just before and during the second world war.
No doubt the mere mention of Hiroshima will spoil exactly where it’s all heading, but, before the bomb drops, director Sunao Katabuchi unfurls an engaging portrait of domestic life in pre- and wartime Japan as Suzu, who loves to draw, is married off to a guy she barely knows and comes to live in a strange new community.
The tonal shifts between realism and more fantastical, subjective imagery are impressively smooth, held together by the feathery, watercolour-style palette of pale colours and fuzzy horizons. The almost abstract air raid sequences and Boschian imagery in final act are particular impressive feats of draughtsmanship.
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