The year is 2027, and the city of Kyoto has undergone tremendous technological advancement. Within the city lives Naomi Katagaki, a socially awkward and introverted boy with a love for books, and Ruri Ichigyou, a girl with a cold personality who is often blunt with people, but shares his love for reading. Despite having similar interests, Naomi is afraid to approach Ruri due to her unfriendly nature. One day, as Naomi goes out for a walk, a crimson aurora pierces through the sky for a brief moment before vanishing. Shortly after, he sees a three-legged crow and a mysterious hooded man who reveals himself to be Naomi from 10 years in the future, explaining that he has come to change an imminent tragic event that happens to Ruri shortly after they start dating. Initially taking his words with a grain of salt, present-day Naomi follows his future self's instructions and starts getting closer to Ruri, determined to save her. Hello World focuses on the present Naomi alongside himself from 10 years into the future. With the help of his future self, Naomi begins his preparations to save Ruri. Will he be able to change the future? [Written by MAL Rewrite]
I was going to hold this review back, but upon seeing what made it to the forefront of the reviews, I thought some differing opinions could spark conversation.
TL;DR Score: 5 First half good second half bad.
Most of the problems stem from the flawed and convoluted story. To put it simply, it’s split into 2 parts. The first part is a fairly pleasant romance drama. The second part is mostly an action flick with scifi themes. I also don’t mean that there are 2 stories, rather that the 1 story really shifts gears halfway through following a decent plot twist.
The first part is actually fairly reminiscent of Orange, although with the key difference that the future MC time travelled instead of a letter. Basically, the future MC aims to hook up present MC with a girlfriend to avoid later tragedy. This is actually pretty good, because the future MC is a very decent character with fun interactions (I’ll get back to this later). The pacing is pretty well done because we’re always on the edge of our seat to see how the MC and his future self manage to pull off this unlikely romance. Unfortunately most of this part is retroactively made worse by the fact that most of the plot here doesn’t actually make sense when given information from the second part. To put it simply, most of the events that future MC ended up changing weren’t necessary at all because they would’ve happened anyway, unless he lied about his original timeline somehow. The only reason that the ultimate goal ended up being so difficult was because all the previous unnecessary changes pinged the antivirus. It was still enjoyable in the moment at least.
The second part is mostly cheap action scenes with some scifi themes overlayed on it. It just seemed like an excuse for animations, and in my opinion they went on for far too long. The second part also has another plot twist halfway through, but unlike the first twist, it is barely expounded upon and seems likely to confuse the audience unless they do some mental gymnastics. At the very end of the movie they reference that twist again (and failed to explain it again), and by that point most of the audience forgot about the twist because they didn’t understand it so they’re confused again. As a result the ending is not very satisfying, even as someone who >mostly< understood the twist. I saw some other reviews compare the twists to Steins;Gate, and I disagree here not because the twist wasn’t complicated, but because unlike Steins;Gate it establishes the rules, makes a plot twist by breaking the rules and implying the rules were false, and completely fails to properly establish what the true rules were in the end. So basically, it is extremely unforgiving to those who miss clues or such, which is not a good thing. People who are proud of understanding the plot twist should be proud, but that’s not good for a movie that supposed to have widespread appeal. Perhaps they could’ve spent more time on explanations rather than incessant action scenes.
Something that perhaps only I didn’t enjoy was that the technology was rooted in reality to the extent that I completely failed to suspend disbelief when they begun to stretch it. To try and explain one example without spoiling, for some reason specific data can only be moved but not copied… for some reason… when the data was originally a copy to begin with…
Another stretch was the hilariously impractical visual portrayal of the antivirus.
It does fairly well when it sticks to 2D animation and some fairly simple 3D animation (like during the romance drama scenes in the first half). When it tried to do more dynamic 3D animation, although sometimes it looks pretty good, it ends up looking atrociously bad at times. I only have the impressions of when I watched it in cinemas, but I remember thinking that some action scenes look like they could’ve been made in Counterstrike. The overall variable quality of the animation actually did end up detracting from my enjoyment, which I consider to be very unusual considering the fact that this was a movie.
Unfortunately I did not pay too much attention to sound, but it was pretty good and I don’t remember any music being used in inappropriate contexts or such.
These were good when they were the spotlight of the movie, rather than 3D fight scenes. The MC is rather generic, but at least he has some personality. The future MC’s snarky attitude and overbearing nature was actually pretty good. The main girl’s personality was sufficient to understand why the MC would be attracted to her, and they have cute interactions. One thing that I did find fairly amusing was how the main girl, despite having no knowledge of the scifi shenanigans, just completely rolls with everything when being thrown into the deep end during the second half.
One characterization moment that I did appreciate was when they showed how the MC’s passive nature affected his everyday life, and later contrasted it with the personality of the main girl. Although perhaps it was a bit on the nose, it worked and was a nice touch.
One characterization moment that I didn’t appreciate as much was how they developed future MC, because he ends up being a bit of a lone wolf character despite the fact that he didn’t really need to be and that nothing in his backstory would suggest such a thing. He seems to have very good relations with his coworkers and such, but does not confide anything to them. This had fairly heavy implications on the plot as well.
Although I enjoyed watching the first half, the incessant action scenes and incredibly convoluted nature of the second half drained all the enjoyment out of me.
I gave it a 5, mostly carried by the first half.