The Fantasy and Where to Find Summer Ghost After Fantasia 2022

25 Jul

Summer Ghost

GKIDS

Summer Ghost is a sweet short movie by Loundraw about three teenagers who want to meet a ghost. Instead of fashioning a scary story, his tale is more about dealing with life. The story he wrote and the film he directed is very thoughtful. Difficult challenges are facing the girl and two boys–Aoi (Miyuri Shimabukuro, Miyuri), Tomoya (Chiaki Kobayashi), and Ryou (Nobunaga Shimazaki)–and none of them know what to do with their lives. 

Because they barely know each other, having just met on social media, to help each other out seems out of the question. In fact, they think communicating with the dead can lead to better results. While their idea of seeking guidance from the other side seems unusual, that’s because one of them has terminal cancer.

Because they barely know each other, having just met on social media, to help each other out seems out of the question. In fact, they think communicating with the dead can lead to other results. While their idea of seeking guidance from the other side seems unusual, that’s because one of them has terminal cancer. Because they barely know each other, having just met on social media, to help each other out. Instead, they think communicating with the dead can lead to other results. While their idea of seeking guidance from the other side seems unusual, that’s because one of them has terminal cancer.

It’s rare to have any work deal with the subject from a viewpoint that’s not about scaring the bejesus out of heroes because we, as an audience, see ‘ghost’ in the title. Here, this group learn about an urban legend where a spirit is said to appear after a fireworks display, and she’s not your typical phantom.

SUMGH Ingest Still 00 14 40

I had to laugh when all they had were sparklers. Ayane’s appearance (Rina Kawaei) doesn’t scare them, and I had to chuckle when it’s clearly obvious one of them gets smitten. But when she reveals that she’ll only appear to those who’s about to “touch death,” the foreshadow is even more ominus. Thankfully, she’s not a banshee from Irish lore. Even though they ask her questions about the afterlife, how she helps is quite the opposite. Instead, what they learn is to appreciate all the little things in life.

I’m glad they’re not entirely selfish. As Tomoya decides to spend more time with her, he’s concerned about why she’s “stuck.” They have a little private adventure together, and un what he discovers is that her death was not a suicide.

The group want to encourage her to move on. But to do so means searching for her bones. According to Japanese tradition, they’ll have to find her remains and give them a blessing. That won’t be easy when considering how she died. I won’t spoil this detail, but without this hook, the story wouldn’t go anywhere other than to resolve this group’s crisis of faith, and it’s not altogether all that scary. When considering what they’re contemplating–suicide–is.

Summer Ghost deals with this topic in a thoughtful way. Also, the finale gives us hope. This short film also marks Loundraw’s directorial debut, and I feel he knows the coming of age genre very well. Not only is he drawing ideas from the teenage light novels he illustrated, but also it’s a gentler and kinder ghost story. I adore these types of tales more than the traditional Halloween (or Christmas) haunt. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if he took inspiration from Kimagure Orange Road too.

5 Stars out of 5

Summer Ghost Trailer

This OVA premiered at Anime Expo (July 1-4) and at Fantasia Film Festival on July 24, 2022 and is expected to screen nationwide come Fall.

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