Based on Fumiyo Kōno’s three volume manga series, this anime film adaptation of In This Corner of the World is a wartime slice-of-life drama set in Hiroshima and its neighbouring city Kure from 1933 to just after WW2. Focused on the newly married Suzu, it’s the personal story of how the war affects her and those around her.
As you’d expect, the knowledge of the war ending with the horrific destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki from the A-Bomb in August 1945 hangs over the events of the entire film. For the most part, though, it’s a really warm and charming tale, with plenty of humorous moments.
It’s a really warm and charming tale, with plenty of humorous moments.
There’s only a couple of gross scenes, and it’s not very visually disturbing at any points. Living in Kure at the time, the bomb drop is a mysterious, tangential, confusing horror rather than a direct one for Suzu’s household. Which makes it all the more unsettling.
Throughout her life Suzu loves to paint and draw, and this carries through to how the story is told and visualised. Large, shocking moments are the most stylised — “I wish I had some paint,” Suzu whispers as she ends up in the middle of an air raid, the bombs blossoming into a multitude of colours that stain the blue sky.
Another huge moment replaces the chunky hand-drawn chibi-esque art style and soft pastel colours with hard black and white sketchy lines. It’s very much told in a visual language, to match Suzu as a character.
The difficult parts of the movie come from the interplay between what is a fairly normal Japanese family life, and the constant wear of the war on them as a family.
The difficult parts of the movie come from the interplay between what is a fairly normal Japanese family life, and the constant wear of the war on them as a family. From working for the army, and eventually to constant air raids and harsh rationing.
It wears you down over the events of the film. You see the humanity of them shine through in spite of these hardships, but also moments of pure anguish at the same time — as they are trapped in this inescapable, constant struggle.
At times bleak, at others hopeful; sometimes laugh out loud funny, other times deeply upsetting. In This Corner of the World is a reminder of the horrors of war for everyone caught in the crossfire, no matter who they are.
The tragedy and horrors of the war shouldn’t be forgotten, and perhaps most importantly to the movie, neither should the individual innocent lives that were swept up into it without asking. This is one you definitely shouldn’t miss.