There’s something distinctly bizarre about Masaaki Yuasa’s films that I can’t help but love. At first glance, Lu Over the Wall doesn’t look as sharp as some recent anime films that have graced UK screens this year – in fact, it literally looks shaky and wobbly. But there’s something wonderfully childish and joyful about it.
Lu Over the Wall is the last anime film that All the Anime is bringing to UK cinema screens for 2017 and it’s a fun note to end on. What a year of cinema it’s been for UK anime fans! Just look back at the multitude of films I reviewed this year.
Kai lives in a remote seaside town with his father and grandfather. Sullen and withdrawn, he takes to composing music in his room but when his classmates – Kunio and Yuho – discover his talents they beg him to join their band. When they practice on Merfolk Island, they meet Lu, a mermaid who loves to sing and dance. Kai and Lu’s friendship grows but the townspeople fear the merfolk, who are said to bring disaster. When two worlds collide and the town is threatened, it is up to Kai and Lu to save the day.
For me, Lu Over the Wall gets better as it progresses. I wasn’t exactly hooked from the start but as the story and characters develop, there are some brilliant comedy moments and lighthearted silliness that are much-needed in the dark winter months. Just like Night Is Short, Walk On Girl, which screened in the UK earlier this year, Lu Over the Wall is riotously silly and knows how to have fun with itself.
In traditional Japanese folklore, mermaids are often depicted as hideous creatures that bring misfortune to sailors. So the super-cute Lu and her literal-giant-shark-man of a father (as well as the dogs who are transformed into mermaid doggies) are much more Disney-esque and ‘under the sea’. If anything, Lu is too sugary sweet. The best characters for me are the mermaid doggies.
While not the most revolutionary film you’ll see this year, Lu Over the Wall is a crazy watch and an entertaining way to spend two hours in the cinema. You can find a screening near you here.