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Score: 8.26/10

Synopsis

On a mysterious night that seems to last for a year, an ordinary college student continues to chase one of his underclassmen, a girl with black hair—the girl of his dreams. Up until now, he has been relying on a simple plan, which is to calculatingly bump into her every day while making it seem like a meaningful coincidence. However, his efforts remain futile as their relationship is not progressing at all. Meanwhile, the black-haired girl believes that everything is connected by fate and endeavors to experience as many new things as possible, leaving it all for destiny to decide. While strolling along the lively streets of Kyoto, she discovers that the very beginning of her fateful journey—a book she had as a child—is currently being sold in a second-hand bookstore. Upon knowing this, the college student eyes another opportunity to run into her "by chance": this time, he hopes to get the book before she does and finally grasp the thread of fate that could connect their hearts. [Written by MAL Rewrite]

“Yoru wa Mijikashi, Arukeyo Otome” (or “The Night is Short, Walk On, Young Maiden”) is a film by director Masaaki Yuasa based on the similarly titled novel by author Tomihiko Morimi. If you are at all familiar with Yuasa’s previous works as well as Morimi’s adapations (including the Yuasa adaptation of “Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei”), there’s a good chance you’ll know exactly what you’re getting into by watching this film.

To put it simply: this movie is an utter, frenetic delight.

The story, without spoiling too much, is a perfect match for the big screen. Covering the events of a single lively night in the imaginative world of Morimi’s Kyoto, it’s not often you see so much happen in such a short amount of time. Fans of “Yojouhan” will be familiar with the unforgiving speed of the dialogue, but as you’d expect with a film adaptation, the story events move just as quickly, with scene after scene transitioning wildly into the next. To add to that, the content is as surreal as ever despite the simple premise. Most of the scenes are thoroughly steeped in a sort of magic realism, the characters seeing the strangely off-kilter world—in which people claim to be local deities, loan sharks travel along the rivers, students run around hosting guerrilla theater productions, and everyone seems to have bottomless stomachs—with a sense of relative acceptance. Though this kind of storytelling seems like it would be hard to follow, I surprisingly never got lost, as the story itself is fairly straightforward and the motivations clear.

That’s not to say the film’s design is simple as well, however. Yuasa’s portrayal of Kyoto at night is as much his as it is Morimi’s. Every crevice of the city is brimming with life and abstract design to match the surreal events of the story, and following the characters as they jump from narrow, pub-filled alleyways to bustling marketplaces in the middle of the night, from brightly-lit restaurants to unreal, technological command-rooms almost feels like watching a fever dream unfold. In every new scene, the nighttime city evolves more and more into a fantastic, magical maze of mythology and wonder, something that only the combined imaginative force of Yuasa and Morimi could produce. Add to that the wild, exaggerated, but uniquely simplistic art style and the light, delightful soundtrack, and the end result is something truly refreshing.

As was the case with “Yojouhan” as well, the characters are a complete joy to watch. All of them are immensely varied in personality but still somehow all manage to stay afloat amidst the chaos of the story as they effortlessly weave in and out of plot. In particular, the black-haired maiden, voiced by the equally delightful Kana Hanazawa, carries the show with her indomitable charm and a refusal to let herself be slowed down by what happens around her, instead almost encouraging the story to grow even more wild. I was a little unsure about the male protagonist at first, but his personality proves to be an invaluable foil that really seals the movie’s conclusion for the better and makes for a very satisfying ending. The side cast is also extremely memorable and full of strange, amusing personalities that somehow work in perfect conjunction with each other despite being so unique and energetic.

Of course, this movie isn’t without its flaws. I’m honestly not even sure “flaws” is the best way to word it, but for better or for worse, there are a couple of scenes and subplots that seem to be drawn out a little excessively, albeit in true Yuasa fashion. (They certainly serve a purpose, but the experience is still a little jarring and they tend to break the flow.) In addition is the large cast. While the major side characters are given surprising depth and background despite the movie length, I feel this very strength takes away from the development of the two main characters slightly due to the limited time. Also, a lot of the more minor characters are thrown into the story a little too haphazardly. While it does add to the overall exciting and chaotic atmosphere, it can be a little overwhelming at times, and the sheer number of characters gives each of their stories somewhat less impact.

This brings me to how much this movie references earlier works. In every recess of the film are nods to previous Morimi adaptations and Yuasa films, including the use of many character designs from “Yojouhan” and even featuring a brief cameo from the director’s as-of-this-moment not-yet-released film, “Yoake Tsugeru Lu no Uta.” This has the wonderful effect of allowing us to enter the all-too-familiar Morimi universe with minimal amounts of exposition, but it presents a somewhat high barrier of entry for people that might not be familiar with “Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei” and, to a much lesser degree, “Uchoten Kazoku.” Although not entirely necessary to enjoy the film, I strongly recommend watching “Yojouhan” beforehand to get a firm grasp on the characters of this eccentric universe so you’ll appreciate the film that much more.

All in all, “Yoru wa Mijikashi” is an immensely delightful experience. Every second of it is filled with undeniable charm and gorgeous imagination, and the breakneck pace of the story and transitions alongside the quirky cast of characters brimming with personality come together to take the audience on a wild ride really unlike anything else. I highly recommend it.

I’m not generalizing, but it seems to me that there’s some predicament from some people that if something is Masaaki Yuasa anime, it automatically bonded to be something good. Don’t get me wrong, most of his works are exceptional and I liked most of it. I think “The night is short” itself wasn’t a bad movie/ It had many good aspect to the point I can understand people to liking it, but It also just had fair and share problem to ever called it good and recommendable. The First one is that it is hardly accessible for anyone who aren't familiar with anime and probably not the best starter if you want to go through Masaaki Yuasa’s. In the Tatami Galaxy, the barriers to many people are the fast-paced dialogue that makes you had to rewind every minutes in order to read subtitles. In this movie, specifically in the first 25 minutes, Is even had more barriers; not only does the dialogues is still fast-paced, It’s very absurd, the story was just some random bullshit about nonsense that no one care about. The character’s even doing some unfunny jokes involving wrestling moves which does occur repeatedly. It does serve its purpose to introduce the characters that play role in the story and to know the basic of their personality and how the main girls is obsessed with drinking but even then it was random into doesn’t make any sense in the end. Whenever I watching anime I always put some though “if I haven’t known anime much, would I like this?” ‘The night is short’ though, doesn’t have that accessibility because it is too niche, which I think could lead its potential audiences to be lost interest. The second one is the characters which is sadly quite weak. It is because the personality of these characters are something you have seen before, the protagonist is just some nice guy acting realistically, the ’ god of books’ may be funny but if you have seen Tatami Galaxy you just realize he is carbon copy of Ozu (which is intentional I think). The rest of the cast is as eccentric as they get but the movie doesn’t expand it further. The cast in Tatami Galaxy is also present and they play major role in the story instead just being a cameo, but it doesn’t help much. The anime doesn’t seems to be focused on the aspect. What it focused on I think is the overall experience with its story and the visual, and I think it deserves credit, for manages to make up simple idea into a convoluted storyline that is somehow still able to be entertaining. The basic premise is quite easy but relatable and effective, it is essentially about some dude who had crush with a woman and he gets some powerful friends with info about her, so basically he would stalk and gets her impressed with information from his friends. Then we moved on to the single night of university festival when the plot be chaotic where to be some competition of eating spicy meatballs in hell, meeting some kids who declare himself as ‘god of books’ and many many other nonsensical thing that could be listed. What makes this things effectively works is the visual. It is not just there to be some thrown away object and background, but becoming integrated part with the story, making the movie looks like a visual journey. Mostly it was chaotic and abstract but complementing plot very well. Particularly in the final scene which hard to be explained in text formats. But even then it is not artsy for the sake of being artsy, the anime may have some short open chance to be deeply analyzed by its presentation, but it’s not that much matter because taking it away does have zero effect on overall experiences. It is also very aesthetically pleasing, the animation is gorgeous, very vibrant and effectively create happy-go-lucky mood. The main feature of the sound is definitely the ending by Asian Kung-Fu Generation which could stand on its own without ever experiencing the movie to liking it. The voice acting was good and the actor combined very well with their characters. All In all. The sound was solid At the end of the day, what we have here is a show that's superficially hard enough to get into yet, I think when one could pass through the beginning of it, it’s actually quite an experience; with its abstract yet pleasing visual trick. Characters that while unexplored but entertaining, eccentric, and funny. The plot that is a convoluted mess that is somehow manages to be easy to follow and entertaining. The finale that’s solid and the journey that making simple story about romance cliché that expanded further in a good way. The night is short is quite an option if you’re getting tired of anime with conventional approach, but I wouldn’t hold your breath expecting someone say you’re weird for liking it. Note: On my own list I give this one a 5 mainly because my personal enjoyment suffered that it got me two sitting to finish it due to first 25 minutes, but here I’m giving this a 6 because the actual content it has.

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