Drifting Home Review: A Charming Adventure
Seven kids, one abandoned apartment complex, an endless body of water, and only one goal: get back home. This summer’s coming-of-age story is Drifting Home. In this review, let’s find out what it’s all about!
Drifting Home is a coming-of-age story set in a fantasy world. It was made by Twin Engine and Netflix, and Studio Colorido made it. Colorido is known for its Original Net Animations (ONAs), like the very popular A Whisker Away and Burn The Witch, which is like a spiritual sequel to Bleach. In Japanese, the movie is called Ame wo Tsugeru Hyouryuu Danchi, and Hiroyasu Ishida is in charge of it. Ishida is known for making anime movies like Penguin Highway and Fastening Days.
The number one spot on Leisurebyte’s list of the best anime of 2021 went to (Spoiler Alert) Sonny Boy, which I’m surprised we’re talking about again. The show was a dark horse choice on many fans’ lists of the best anime, and it was nominated for two of the most prestigious Crunchyroll Awards: Anime of the Year and Director of the Year. Even though it wasn’t a popular choice, the show won over the hearts of many people, including this writer. It’s just a great anime that doesn’t get nearly as much attention as it should.
Why talk about that show now? Well, for one thing, they both get their ideas from the same thing: a horror manga called The Drifting Classroom. The story’s premise is also the same: a group of kids get stuck in an endless void from which they can’t escape. Both things happen because one of the kids has an emotional outburst and the other kids have to get past their mental blocks to get out of that place. Both stories are about kids coming of age and teaching them how to deal with growing up.
So, the big question is: Is Drifting Home good? Yes, it is without a doubt. It’s not perfect and has a lot of problems that we’ll talk about in a bit, but it was still very enjoyable to read. The movie had a clear goal that it stuck to the whole time, and it told a very full and satisfying story. The writer had a clear idea of what he wanted to see on the screen from the beginning, and he did everything he could to make the story as clear and logical as possible.
The movie had a lot of themes and stayed true to the ones it chose for each character. Some of the themes that our main characters dealt with over the course of the story were growth and learning to deal with change. They both lose someone very important to them, which makes them stop talking to each other. The way you act around someone you think you’ve wronged but don’t have the courage to do anything about was very true to life in the movie. I didn’t think a show with kids as the main characters would go this far into the human mind, but I’m glad it did.
Even though the characters were speaking in a language that most of us don’t understand, it felt like they were speaking very naturally. It might have been because they were all kids and the dialogue was simple, but it made the movie feel more real. It also helped that the kids’ lines were powerful without being too corny and making people laugh. Even so, there was still some cringing, but not as much as you might think.
Grief and how it makes people feel detached or attached was the other main theme of Drifting Home. Grief is hard even for grown-ups, and we’re talking about kids here. Natsume’s attachment to the apartment complex, which is the only thing that still grounds her, was a great metaphor for what it’s like to be a person who is grieving. The show made Noppo into a whole character who represented attachment and grief. This worked very well as an animated character who could react and respond to the children’s grief with empathy. For what it was, this movie was pretty grown up.
But Drifting Home wasn’t all flowers and sunshine; there were quite a few things wrong with it. The movie just went on and on for a lot longer than it should have. This was the biggest problem. Some scenes went on longer than they should have, some characters weren’t given enough time to grow, and there were whole scenes that should have been cut. Even the ending was bad because of this problem. It fit the theme, was emotional, and grand, but it went on for a lot longer than it needed to. Still, most of what happened in the story was good.
In Drifting Home, there are a lot of different kinds of people. You have to give them a break because they’re supposed to be kids who don’t know any better. I tried to do that, but some of the things they do are just plain stupid. This movie’s tagline should be “Bad choices,” even though most of the characters learn how to be smarter and make better choices by the end. It’s hard to explain how frustrating it is to see someone keep making the same mistake, especially after they’ve been told more than once what will happen if they keep doing it.
I’m talking about one character in particular, which might seem picky until you remember that Natsume is the main female character in Drifting Home. She has a long way to go before she’s an adult because all she does is mess up. In fact, big ones. Ones with terrible results for everyone, including her. She learns the lesson the story was trying to teach her at the end, which is good, but it took a lot of important plot development to get there. She was a good person, except that she was a bumbling idiot.
Kosuke wasn’t very interesting, and he didn’t have much of a personality besides yelling and being rude to everyone. A lot of that is okay because he is young, but that doesn’t make the end result any easier to watch. He doesn’t have much to do in this story other than be on screen and help Natsume out of the holes she digs for herself, but he does that well and is still a likeable main character. He has his own lessons to learn, which he does very well.
The rest of the cast is fine, but they don’t have as much to do. They still have roles to play in the story and unique personalities that add a lot of life to what would otherwise be a dull situation. Reina is the most important minor character. She’s a little bit stereotypical, but she’s still fun. Yuzuru and Taishi, the other two boys, are also good. Noppo, on the other hand, is not so great. Given the part he played in the movie, he should have been a much better character than he was. He wasn’t bad, but he was very plain and dull. Well, I guess they can’t all win.
The production quality of Drifting Home was great, like most shows that come out these days, especially on a platform as big as Netflix Anime. The floating homes and amusement parks, as well as the few fast-paced scenes near the end, were very well animated. The way the characters were drawn was also stylish, and the whole movie had a cool filter that made it feel like it was set by the sea, which made sense given the setting. Are we finally getting to the point where every animation is so good that all you can say about things that look like this is, “Yeah, I guess it was good enough?”
On the other hand, the music missed the mark. It just didn’t have the weight you’d think it would have for something as ominous as this. There was some nice music here, but it wasn’t the kind of music you’d remember after the credits rolled. Still, the vocal insert songs were great, especially the city pop song that played in the middle. Other than that, it’s a set of songs that’s easy to forget.
Drifting Home is one of the most charming and well-written movies you’ll find on Netflix. The pace and music weren’t anything to write home about, but the story and animation took it far beyond what most people would expect.
“Drifting Home,” a Japanese animated fantasy about a group of sixth graders who float out to sea in a haunted apartment complex, is about how these kids grow up. I say “somehow” because the lessons learned and new friends made along the way are never as interesting or well developed as the movie’s apocalyptic central premise: a tight-knit group of friends get lost in space without food or fresh water after a flash flood sends them and the empty Kamonomiya apartments into a vast and maybe limitless ocean.
The kids, led by Kosuke (Mutsumi Tamura) and Natsume (Asami Seto), his childhood friend, learn that they shouldn’t take their loved ones for granted, but they also need to know when to let go. Unfortunately, the beginning of the movie is more interesting than the main characters. The whole thing has a light tone, which makes the times when it sounds like a disaster movie even more shocking. But yes, you did read that right: there’s a new animated movie about a group of kids who fall through a hole in space-time, and it’s not as good as it sounds.
Manga fans may find that the main idea of “Drifting Home” is similar to the main idea of Kazuo Umezu’s scary and creatively made horror comic The Drifting Classroom. In Umezu’s manga, a strange disaster sends a group of grade schoolers hurtling into a dystopian future. This makes them lose their place in time. “Drifting Home” is a lot more fun than the other two (and features fewer mutant spiders and child crucifixions).
In “Drifting Home,” Kosuke has to go with his friends Taishi (Yumiko Kobayashi) and Yuzuru (Daiki Yamashita) into the 60-year-old Kamonomiya projects, even though he doesn’t want to. Kosuke is the most developed of these characters, mostly because he has family members other than his friends. His grandfather Yasuji (Bin Shimada) just died, and his mother Satoko works too much (Nana Mizuki). Even though Kosuke thinks of Yasuji when he sees the Kamonomiya apartments, he still takes his friends there to look around. Later, Kosuke gets back in touch with Natsume, who has been like a family member to Kosuke for a long time.
Also, the Kamonomiya building is haunted by a pale child who looks like a wraith. His name is Noppo (Ayumu Murase), and yes, he is a ghost. Noppo and Kosuke’s group is held together by a dream logic that is over-explained and under-used. Most of it has to do with Kosuke’s strong emotional attachment to Natsume. But after a certain point, that link doesn’t mean much. The group’s floating shelter sometimes passes by other run-down and (mostly) empty places, like a department store and apartment buildings. About two hours later, when the movie finally gets to the point, it’s because of these scenes of exploration. “Drifting Home” doesn’t get there quickly, but it does get there in the end.
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