A lot of research went into producing In This Corner of the World (この世界の片隅に). This anime is now out on home video, released by Shout! Factory on Nov 14th, and the bonus material reveals why this film deserves high marks for not only its story but also in historical accuracy. Not many productions go into exquisite detail and I was amazed.
For comparison, this release also offers a 12-page insert of the manga by Fumiyo Kōno it was based on. The three-volume set is available for purchase and it goes into greater detail for specific set pieces. I have reviewed this film when it made its rounds at theatres (it can be found here) and to watch the featurettes certainly made me appreciate this product more.
I have to agree with the points answered in the interview with Sunao Katabuchi about how this movie redefines what anime can do. Masao Maruyama says this product he helped produce is a very cultural. Although this genre has never been limiting in what tales can be explored — anyone who has watched enough product over the decades can find gems — my choice in what I love to see has been more with historical or biographical works than the usual fantastical material.
Sunao Katabuchi’s In This Corner of the World (この世界の片隅に) is arriving this week, on November 14th, onto home video. Anime enthusiasts will most likely have picked up this title by now, and for those who have not, this title is worth putting into the collection for the poetic journey Suzu (the protagonist) has to face. She has no knowledge of the grander picture. She knows the wartime situation in Japan is dire, and she adjusts by staying completely naive to the whole drama. In what she does have to face, her strength and perseverance shine.
Pre and post, while audiences know that the inevitable bombing of Hiroshima is near, no one else does in this story. Audiences will get glued to every moment as the film shows the date and we wonder how Suzu’s family and the one she married into will fare.
This release includes a few extras to help viewers understand more about this animated product. Included are: “A Look at Post-Screening Q&As with director Sunao Katabuchi and producer Taro Maki” and a 16-page preview of the graphic novel by Fumiyo Kouno that inspired the film. The original theatrical trailer rounds out this collection. More about this content will be looked at in-depth when our order arrives in the mailbox.
For a full review of the film, please look at Ed Sum’s review here. While not everyone had the chance to see this movie theatrically, the opportunity to watch it at home should not be missed. This release comes courtesy of Shout! Factory.
To my knowledge, few Japanese animated movies exist which looks at a part of history from World War II with a perspective not overdone. Isao Takahata’s Grave of the Fireflies is the granddaddy of the genre because it’s so depressingly sad, and Barefoot Gen somewhere on the vein of being positive while it looks at the aftermath. With In This Corner of the World (この世界の片隅に), the point of view is from innocent bystanders. The atomic destruction of Hiroshima has not happened yet. This particular fact is not dwelled upon. Nobody is aware except for the viewer. Most of the characters are blissfully unaware.
This film looks at the life of an idyllic young girl, Suzu (Rena Nōnen), living her life through a veil. She wants to be an artist and she describes herself as a daydreamer. A significant part of her life is portrayed and it has a Studio Ghibli like quality during this innocent time. This fact is of no surprise as Director Sunao Katabuchi worked on Kiki’s Delivery Service.
Coming this Friday, August 11th is In This Corner of the World to cinemas in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. On August 18th, this Japanese animated film will expand its market to major cities in both the United States and Canada. FUNimation and Shout! Factory is handling the theatrical release and to celebrate, information was passed along to press about the work director Sunao Katabuchi put forth. They may appear on the eventual video release.
A lot of the landscape around Kure and Hiroshima was tragically lost to air raids and the atomic bomb which ended World War II. Not many survivors with first-hand experience of the war are still with us. but Katabuchi met some — who were children at the time — and got their perspective. He also mentioned that this zone was your typical living quarters. He spent six years thoroughly researching the details before animation work began. He gathered accounts from people about those days and collected more than 4,000 photographs to recreate the cityscape of the 1930s and 40s.
This summer, the message will even spread further about how indomitable the human spirit is to different kinds of adversity in Sunao Katabuchi’s adaptation of Fumiyo Kouno’s manga, In This Corner of the World, in theatres around North America. In this tale, the life of soon to be wed Suzu Urano is looked at. As she settles into the life in Kure City on the coast of Hiroshima Prefecture during World War II, the darker elements are always looming.
Shout! Factory, a multi-platform media company, and Animatsu Entertainment, a London-based producer, licensor and distributor of anime in the UK and Ireland, have entered into an exclusive film deal to distribute this movie in North America and abroad across various platforms. Animatsu will handle the rollout which will start in England, France, and South America.
The announcement was made today by Shout! Factory’s founders Richard Foos, Bob Emmer and Garson Foos; and Animatsu Entertainment’s Chief Operating Officer, Jerome Mazandarani.