Release Date: Sept 17, 2019
Just how “Hana and Alice” met from the 2004 live action film of the same name was revealed in 2015 in the anime The Strange Case of Hana and Alice (花とアリス殺人事件). Although fans of Shunji Iwai‘s original work did not expect him to produce a prequel, I’m sure this deeper look into the trials and tribulations of what these young women faced during their developing friendship is welcomed. No knowledge of the prior movie is needed in a mostly Shōjo product. I was curious because of the suggestion of the paranormal becoming involved, and a murder mystery is always great to get the attention of viewers not into this subgenre.
Yuda, a student from last year, disappeared. He never returned to school after an incident and is suspected to have been killed by another student. In the official synopsis, Alice (Yū Aoi) discovers that she lives next door to his former house, a supposedly haunted home, now occupied by a reclusive classmate named Hana (Anne Suzuki). She and Alice decide to investigate this “murder case” together, but soon find that their lack of detective skills may be an obstacle.
The humour distilled into later parts of the film keeps moments light hearted. As Alice plays Nancy Drew, eventually Hana comes around and the mystery they are involved in together eventually leads them to discover what happened to Yuda. The character development kept me interested. While the first act struggled to get it’s footing to which genre it should belong in, I eventually became invested in knowing more about what’s keeping Hana and Alice together as friends.
Forging real bonds is tough. When the 2004 work challenged all that because the young ladies were interested in the same man and deceit was used, notions of what friendships truly mean are questioned. The Strange Case of Hana and Alice is no different and expands to even how people perceive friendships. The ties that bind show when BFFs are truly that. Even in normal friendships, to go through the challenges that test that is tough. Those able to forgive end up with stronger relationships, and those who give up, well…
4 Stars out of 5
DVD/Blu-ray BONUS FEATURES
- Interview With Voice Actors Yu Aoi And Anne Suzuki
- Film Completion Press Conference
- Film Premiere Stage Greeting
- Interview With Director Shunji Iwai
- Message From Animator Makoto Shinkai
- Theatrical Trailers And TV Spots