“Human beings are remarkably resilient. When you think about it, our species has been teetering upon the edge of the existential cliff since Hiroshima. In short, we endure.” —Rick Yancey
A young Japanese girl with a keen eye for sketching, Suzu, marries a man named Shūsaku after he arrives in Eba, Hiroshima, to propose to her. She moves to the town of Kure with him and begins living with his family as the Second World War rages on. When American bombers begin conducting bombing raids Japan, forcing the construction of air raid shelters and rationing, Suzu continues to live her life to the best of her ability, spending time with Keiko and her daughter, Harumi. She is visited by Tetsu Mizuhara, who had run into Suzu back when they were students. He had fallen in love with her, and later is assigned to serve on board the Aoba. As the air raids intensify, Suzu sees Harumi die in front of her when a delay-action bomb detonates. She survives but loses her right hand, grows depressed and longs to return to Hiroshima to be with her family. One day, while speaking to Keiko, she and Keiko notice a bright flash and a mushroom cloud coming from Hiroshima. She dissolves into tears upon learning of the Japanese surrender. In the aftermath, American soldiers arrive to assist the citizens, and Suzu visits Hiroshima, learning that her sister, Sumi, is suffering from radiation sickness: their mother and father perished in the atomic blast. She runs into Shūsaku while in Hiroshima and find a little girl orphaned by the atomic bomb; they agree to take her in, and Suzu slowly rediscovers her love for life, raising the little girl as her own. When the United States dropped Little Boy in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, the world had been at war for nearly six years: the Axis powers had fallen, but Imperial Japan had continued to fight. Faced with the possibility of an extensive land invasion, the American leadership decided to put their faith in the atomic bomb, which had been successfully tested for the first time twenty-one days earlier. Three days later, the second atomic bomb, a plutonium implosion weapon code-named Fat Man, was dropped on Nagasaki, and Japan surrendered on August 15. The history books and documentaries I’m familiar with present the story from the Allied perspective, and the actions of the Imperial Japan’s military forces remain unjustifiable (especially considering their atrocities in Manchuria and Southeast Asia); it seems that the old phrase, that victory is written by the victors, very much hold true. Consequently, In This Corner of The World becomes a wonderfully moving film about the civilian perspective of the war and their struggles to survive as the war turned against Japan, presenting a perspective that is quite unique and illuminating.
Resilience and perserverence in maintaining a positive spirit underlies the messages of In This Corner of The World. In this film, the depiction of Suzu’s life before, during and after World War Two is broken up into snapshots into the more memorable moments of Suzu’s life. It is largely gentle, humourous and ordinary in nature, only shifting in tone as American bombers begin hammering Japan later into the war, and even then, Suzu’s efforts to maintain routine and find happiness in everyday things continue. Reduced rations lead her to cook more creatively to keep her new family in good spirits, and even when the air-raid siren sounds, she maintains a structured process to maintain her home’s safety before retreating to a shelter. Through it all, Suzu continues sketching and drawing, providing her a means of expression and escape even as American forces intensify their raids. Remarkably, these simple things in Suzu’s life confer upon her a considerable degree of stability and focus, allowing her to remain strong during difficult times. It is not until she loses her right hand in an explosion and watches Harumi die in front of her that her optimistic disposition is shaken, and at the movie’s climax, she bawls her eyes out after learning of the Allied victory. However, with unwavering support from Shūsaku and the fact that the occupying American forces prove quite friendly, she slowly regains her old outlooks, to the point where she takes in an orphan and raises her as family, suggesting that resilience is in part a result of having support from family on top of being individually-driven. With the support of those around her, Suzu comes to find happiness again in the days after the war has ended.
Aside from its concise thematic component, In This Corner of The World presents a distinct art style that brings to mind the approaches taken in The Tale of Princess Kaguya: gentle colours and clean character designs dominate In This Corner of The World, which has a very timeless feel to it. From the vividness of colours in the landscape to minor details inside the Hojo residence, In This Corner of The World illustrates the seeming normalcy and resilience in residents amidst the war. The entire film feels like a moving watercolour, allowing for boundaries between Suzu’s drawings and their reality to be blurred: the movie’s events are told with Suzu’s narration, and her imagination is woven seamlessly with her recollections of what’s happened. I’ve long held that a simpler art style with lower saturation really allows for the film’s visuals to focus on character motions and dialogue; this certainly holds true in In This Corner of The World. Aside from natural-sounding voice acting, one of the elements that In This Corner of The World captures in its characters are their facial expressions, which do much to convey how Suzu and the others are feeling even in the absence of words. I’m especially fond of how Suzu tilts her head whenever she’s embarrassed or hesitant, for instance. The combination of aural-visual elements in In This Corner of The World are of an exceptional standard and adds a sense of realism to the characters that serves to further draw in viewers into the story.
Screenshots and Commentary
- Before delving into this post further, I note that there will be forty screenshots rather than the usual thirty for In This Corner of The World owing to the amount of content that can be discussed, and further to this, I won’t be placing an emphasis on the Imperial Japanese Army or Navy hardware simply because, aside from a minor role, they do not figure too much compared to the human side of things. The film opens with Suzu riding a boat and recollecting her encounter with a monster of sorts to Sumi, her sister, and provides a vivid sketch of what she’s seen, including a boy close to her age when she falls into the monster’s basket by mistake.
- Suzu’s family business is involved in the gathering and picking of nori (海苔), an edible seaweed of the genus Pyropia. The Japanese have a profound understanding of the cultivation and harvesting of nori, which is used widely in Japanese cuisine for wrapping sushi and onigiri, as well as garnishing soups. In her childhood, Suzu is close to her sister, Sumi, but neither of them are fond of their older brother, Yōichi, who constantly belittles Suzu. Yōichi is later killed in action and supposedly was so mangled, authorities send back a stone in place of his ashes, although Suzu and Sumi don’t appear to express much in response to news of his death.
- By her own admission, Suzu is prone to daydreaming, but her tendency to daydream and vividly recall them probably led to the development of her art skills. Suzu’s enjoyment of sketching is a pivotal part of her character, and the extent of her skills are seen when Tetsu appears one evening to give Suzu a pencil, also asking her to help him with a class assignment. She creates a beautiful reproduction of the ocean, describing the froth of waves as rabbits. As it turns out, Tetsu is going through a difficult time upon learning that his older brother died in a ferry accident.
- The Urano family hails from Hiroshima, specifically the Eba area. Located three kilometers from the epicenter of Little Boy’s airburst, Eba is a part of the Naka-ku (lit. “central ward”) district. Suzu is said to be extraordinarily ordinary, and is voiced by Rena Nōnen, an actress. One of the joys about films such as In This Corner of The World is the fact that female characters have realistic voices, standing in contrast with the squeaky voices seen in things like Girls und Panzer or GochiUsa.
- Tetsu runs into Suzu one day, and in dialogue here, it appears that Tetsu has some feelings for Suzu, feeling irritated that Suzu is to marry someone she’d not met, and when Suzu remarks that Sumi will be more beautiful, Tetsu refutes this. He is assigned to the Aoba, a heavy cruiser that participated in combat at the Battle of Coral Sea and the Battle of Savo Island. Heavily damaged by the submarine USS Bream, the Aoba would return to port and was sunk in Kure’s harbour in 1945.
- It turns out that the boy in the monster’s basket was Shūsaku. His recollections of the day are different than Suzu, who has a tendency to daydream and so, remembers things differently. Suzu agrees to marry Shūsaku and finds in him an honest, stoic and devoted husband who’s always there to support her. Originally working in a civilian court, he is transferred into the military and later made to fight as the war intensifies.
- In the eternal struggle between showers and baths, I’m still firmly on the side of #TeamShower, even after my experiences in a Japanese onsen a half-year ago. Granted, it is immensely comfortable to be completely immersed in hot water, which gives a sensation akin to having all of one’s stresses and worries evaporate, but ultimately, a shower conserves more water and is more effective at removing dirt and debris from one’s body. This is why onsen mandate that people wash up before entering the waters.
- The unique art style in In This Corner of The World means that the characters look much younger than they are, and standing in sharp contrast with the art styles of anime I am wont to watching, have a much more classical, timeless feel that brings to mind the approach of The Tale of Princess Kaguya. While not a Studio Ghibli work, In This Corner of The World is nonetheless animated and presented with finesse: it is a film that will withstand the test of time.
- Shūsaku’s family is generally accepting of Suzu: San is Shūsaku’s mother and bears a compassionate disposition, helping Suzu look after the hosue, while Entaro is Shūsaku’s father and is an engineer for Hiro Naval Arsenal. Shūsaku’s sister, Keiko, is initially quite hostile towards Suzu, regarding her in a negative light and clashes with her, but in spite of this, Suzu takes things in stride and does her best to get along with her.
- Suzu carries a sketchbook with her and occasionally takes the time to sketch out the scenery around her. She runs into a woman named Rin Shiraki while walking through a part of Kure she’s unfamiliar with and strikes up a fast friendship with her, using her sketching skills to draw out a watermelon and some sweets. Because Suzu’s sketches closely match with the art style seen in In This Corner of The World, one can imagine that she is remarkably talented with her craft. The ages have changed substantially, and these days, one can create highly intricate drawings on an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil.
- There’s a certain charm in watching Suzu cook for her new family with the ingredients available to her. In her narration, she explains in detail the process behind her cooking methods, during which she takes whatever is accessible and does her best to create dishes that drive a sense of normalcy. Devising a routine and trying to do things as normally as possible is Les Stroud’s main suggestion for survival during difficult situations: in Survivorman, he explains that this is the reason why he takes the time to plan things out and attempt to do things as he would back home, and one of the first things he does is usually to create a fire from which he can warm himself and cook with.
- Suzu’s setup here, with the dandelions, violets and sardines further brings to mind Les Stroud’s survival experiences in the Colorado Rockies, where he managed to catch some fish and coupled it with greens to make a survival meal, cooking it to mirror how one normally eats while at home. While Les Stroud is out in the wilderness, simulating survival situations in Survivorman, Suzu is living in wartime Japan. Despite the differences in their scenarios, very similar mindsets are utilised to maintain morale: Suzu’s cooking does much to keep the Hojo family happy even as resources begin dwindling.
- The Hojo family settles down to dinner here, and despite the moody lighting, the atmosphere is a peaceable one. Things change shortly after Keiko’s arrival. Numerous scenes of the family during dinner are shown throughout In This Corner of The World, emphasising that meal times form stability amidst trying times. While In This Corner of The World released in theatres around a year ago and only became available back in September, I finished this movie just this week with what is known as the “Notorious PIG” poutine, which is an offering from the Big Cheese Poutinerie. Described as a concoction of pulled pork with BBQ sauce, maple-smoked bacon and Italian sausage, the poutine I bought was not merely topped with the meats, but packed with an inch-thick layer that proved both delicious and enduring: it took nearly ten minutes of eating my way through the wall of meats before I reached the poutine underneath.
- Keiko’s daughter, Harumi, is only six, but remarkably well-versed on Japanese naval vessels. She greatly enjoys spending time with Suzu, who introduces to her the cumulonimbus clouds form of atmospheric instability and bring about thunderstorms. I’ve heard that when I was much younger, I could memorise the phone numbers of various companies and services that I’d seen on TVB commercials, so this must be a part of the developmental process when children take on a keen interest in a particular topic. I’m now characterised by an inability to memorise something as simple as a 4-digit code and have taken to writing down whatever I need to recall.
- After Suzu is caught sketching naval vessels and accused of being a spy by the kenpeitai, a secret police akin to the Nazi’s SS, she is let off with a warning. When the kanpeitai leave, the whole of the Hojo family burst into laughter at the ludicrous situation; Suzu’s nature is unbefitting of that of a spy, and how seriously the kanpeitai presented themselves was also mocked. In particular, Keiko spent most of the afternoon fighting off a fit of laughter while the secret police had been present, only erupting in hysterics after they depart.
- The landscape around Kure is beautifully departed, and the harbour, with its warships, is just visible in this still. The verdant blues and greens are a world apart now from local scenery: I took advantage of the fading-but-still-pleasant weather yesterday to hike the Ink Pots in Banff National Park. The trail through Johnston Canyon was covered in a thin layer of snow, and despite the ergonomics provided by new hiking shoes, the path was quite slippery. In the mountains during this time of year, snowfalls are not uncommon, but fortunately, the weather warmed up as the day progressed. The ink pots are reached by a 5.9 kilometre hike with an elevation gain of 335 metres and takes around two hours to complete one-way.
- One afternoon, Suzu decides to visit Shūsaku, but before heading off, is treated to a hilarious lecture from Keiko that is sped up for great comedic effect: Keiko finds it appalling that Suzu is considering going into town as unkempt as she is and forces her to clean herself up. The increased pitch comes from the fact that the sound waves making up the audio track are shortened into a higher frequency ƒ, defined in Hz, is described by the relationship ƒ = 1/T, where T is the period in seconds. We are shortening the period T, so frequency increases, resulting in a higher-pitched sound. In In This Corner of The World, one imagines that Suzu regards Keiko’s manner in a light-hearted manner, and this is reinforced by the expression on Suzu’s face.
- Described as a moderately difficult, the hike up to the Ink Pots was a bit tricky since the snow and ice made the inclines slippery. However, when we arrived in the meadows where the Ink Pots are, we were treated to a beautiful sight: there are five mineral water pools here, each coloured slightly differently because of their sediment content, and while a few had frozen over, one remained unfrozen, with its blue-green waters brilliant under a clearing sky. Another pool with darker waters also had yet to freeze, underneath a mountain in the distance whose upper slopes were covered in snow. Back in In This Corner of The World, Suzu meets up with Shūsaku at his workplace and the two set off after a friendly exchange when Shūsaku asks about Suzu’s health; owing to the makeup she’s donned, she has a distinctly pale appearance.
- Suzu and Shūnsaku reminisce about how they’d met in Hiroshima years previously. It is a stroke of fate that Shūnsaku remembers their original meeting here, which Suzu only recounts in a dramatised account. After exploring the meadows around the Ink Pots, we turned around and returned back down the trail. Snow-covered during the chillier morning, warming temperatures cleared the trails, making the journey back down much easier than the ascent. We returned home late mid-afternoon and stepped out for dinner at a local Cantonese restaurant, which encompassed 沙拉骨 and 金沙蝦, along with a stir-fry known as 小炒王, which includes beef, chicken, scallops, shrimp, celery, beans, peppers and thinly-sliced Lotus rhizomes (蓮藕, Cantonese lein ngau), as well as crispy chicken – perfect after a long day’s hike.
- Tetsu comes to visit one day, drawing Suzu’s irritation. Despite his brusque manner drawing Suzu’s annoyance mid-dinner, Shūnsaku allows him to stay in a storehouse on the family property and encourages Suzu to spend time with him, understanding that Tetsu’s time is likely short on account of his transfer to the Aoba. He admits to falling in love with Suzu and the two reminisce briefly before he departs.
- One of the scenes I’ve not mentioned yet is when Harumi and Suzu notice a column of ants getting into their sugar jar; sugar became a highly valued ingredient, and to keep insects from it, they decide to place it in a bowl floating in a bucket of water. However, an accident results in the sugar being knocked into the water, leading to a dejected Suzu and Harumi. It is possible to recover the sugar using crystallisation, but considering the amount of water it was dissolved into, such an endeavour would have been tricky. One day, while sharing a conversation about Harumi’s everyday experiences at school, American planes appear. Their attacks were intended to damage military installations here, and in In This Corner of The World, F4U Corsairs are depicted firing rockets at ground targets. These are likely the HVAR “Holy Moses”, capable of punching through 1.22 metres of concrete and saw extensive use in the Pacific Theatre against transports, pillboxes and other stationary ground targets.
- Suzu visits Entaro, who was injured and went missing after an American bombing raid on the Hiro Naval Arsenal, but is shown to be treated for his injuries at a hospital. Suzu brings Harumi along for the visit, and Harumi immediately wanders off, speaking with other sailors. After the visit ends, American raids begin yet again. At this point in the war, America had begun targeting Kure, as remaining IJN vessels were still harboured here, and owing to the harbour’s depth precluding the use of torpedoes, variable time-fused bombs were used, instead. During the raids, the Aoba is hit by four bombs and, with almost every ship in the IJN disabled save the Nagato, the Japanese naval presence was almost completely eliminated by this point.
- Suzu hears warnings from firefighters nearby about the possibility of unexploded munitions making the area unsafe. At least one of the special bombs dropped by B-29s land in a seaside path, and detonates right beside Harumi, killing her instantly. In the aftermath, Suzu is critically injured and loses her right hand. During the course of In This Corner of The World, American fighters are shown strafing civilians, including a near-miss that very nearly kills Suzu. I did not find any records that indicate deliberate strafing of civilians during my brief search, but numerous accounts of US aircraft strafing airfields are found.
- In the aftermath of Harumi’s death, Suzu reels from both the loss of Keiko’s child, whom she had grown very close with, and her right hand, which had allowed her the one escape and release from the difficulties she and her family faced during war. Keiko feels Suzu to be responsible for Harumi’s death, and wrought with guilt, Suzu falls into depression. She slowly recovers from injury, but the effects on her mental health are much more deep-seated.
- Suzu’s depression is occasionally offset with a sense of anger and helplessness: when another firebombing leads to a bomblet landing in her house, Suzu attempts to put the fire out in a fit of desparation. To see an ever-optimistic character succumb to despair is always painful to watch, even in the context of fiction. One of the aspects in In This Corner of The World was seeing how the characters respond to the constant threat of air-raids, and one of the worst aspects about air raids are psychological: not knowing when the bombers will appear would have been emotionally taxing, and while the Hojo family develop a procedure to safeguard themselves, the US air attacks were somewhat unpredictable. By comparison, The Blitz in London failed to have any psychological effects on Londoners, who had grown accustomed to bombs falling as though it were rain and reacted accordingly.
- In the account of P-51 pilot Captain Jerry Yellin, he mentions that his and his fellow pilots’ primary concern was carrying out their directives during the war. From the skies above, he never gave much thought to the people below, at the receiving end of the weapons, or their suffering. However, when he visited Japan some years later, he was astonished with their culture and feels that it is possible for formerly bitter enemies to become friends. Propaganda on all sides of World War II’s participants presented their enemies as monsters and animals to motivate the fighting spirit – allowing empathy and compassion would have eliminated this willingness to commit to the war effort, attesting to the unpleasant tendency in war to dehumanise one’s opponents.
- Suzu and Sumi share a laugh when Suzu prods into the latter’s love life, when Sumi mentions that she’s eying an officier in the armed forces. Suzu has long felt Sumi to be more beautiful – this is not immediately apparent in the art style of In This Corner of The World, and indeed, Sumi bears great resemblance to Suzu, especially when embarrassed or flustered, barring the fact that Suzu has become more pale since she lost her right hand. Even so, Suzu occasionally finds joy in the small things in life and attempts to live to her fullest anyways.
- On the morning of August 6, Suzu and Keiko are sharing a conversation, where Keiko apologises for having blamed Suzu for Harumi’s death, when a bright flash fills their room, followed by a shockwave. Kure and Hiroshima are separated by a distance of 18 kilometres as the mole digs; when the shockwave reaches the Hojo residence, the entire family steps outside to find a vast mushroom cloud filling the sky where Hiroshima is. When Little Boy was deployed at Hiroshima, Japan’s leadership were befuddled at what could have happened; as the atomic bomb’s presence was secret at the time, no one was sure as to what weapon this was. In This Corner of The World chooses to not depict the horrific effects of the blast, only showing its aftermath.
- With an estimated blast yield of 15 kilotons, Little Boy flattened everything within 1.6 kilometres of the point of detonation, and started a firestorm 3.2 kilometres across. The airburst detonation reduced the radioactive fallout on the ground, but the gamma radiation emitted led to radiation sickness in exposed individuals in a 1.3 kilometre radius around the blast. People would have been vapourised by the intense heat, leaving nothing but shadows baked into the ground, and survivors further away would have suffered horrific burns and injuries, as well as the effects of acute radiation poisoning. Later, a black rain fell in Hiroshima, but this would have offered limited relief in halting the firestorms.
- After the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, American propaganda aimed to minimise reports of the atomic bombs’ effects on civilians, instead, showing only the mushroom clouds and the possibility of deploying additional atomic weapons to bring the war to an end. At this point in time, American sentiments leaned towards the total elimination of the Japanese, and a film such as In This Corner of The World would be unthinkable. At present, our society has been more open about the horrors of warfare, and seeing the lives of fellow human beings subject to these horrors have inspired folks to promote peace. While the events of In This Corner of The World are fictional, the film strives to maintain realism in depicting the lives of the Japanese during the war.
- At noon on August 15, 1945, Emperor Hirohito released a recording announcing Japan’s intention to open dialogues with the Allied powers and accept the Potsdam Declaration. Delivered in Classical Japanese, most listeners were not certain of whether or not Japan was intending to surrender. In In This Corner of The World, the Hojo family meets the news with resignation and sorrow, wondering what Japan under American occupation would be like, and Suzu is driven over the edge, demanding that the country can continue fighting on much as she did. It’s the strongest expression of emotion from Suzu in the whole of In This Corner of The World.
- Suzu’s anger gives in to sorrow; at the film’s climax, she cries her eyes out for everything that has happened since the war begin, from the death of Harumi and the loss of her right hand (by extension, her hobby), to all of the destruction and losses she’s seen around her. The end of an era, however, marks the beginning of another: in the aftermath of Japan’s surrender, Americans quickly arrive to help the citizens, and began driving the country towards political and economic reform. When the American occupation ended in 1952 with the San Francisco Treaty, control of Japan was fully returned, and the nation would become a major economic power in the world, characterised by their exceptional economic growth and high technology.
- I’ve seen remarks that In This Corner of The World is a love story, although I hold that it is not a love story in the traditional sense – In This Corner of the World deals with love for a family and love for life itself rather than romantic love, and the conflict in the film stems from Suzu doing her utmost to retain a love for life during the most trying of times. The romantic elements in this movie are secondary, and as such, I’ve chosen not to delve into this particular topic at all; it is simply eclipsed by other elements within the movie.
- In This Corner of The World made extensive use of photographs and accounts from the period to accurately reproduce damage locales seen in the film. Incendiary bombs were particularly effective in Japan owing to the wooden construction of buildings, and some of the worst casualties came from firestorms that arose when fires merged into conflagrations of gargantuan proportion. While wooden buildings were popular in North America, great fires in major cities prompted officials to rebuild with sandstone.
- Suzu offers Keiko some food given by American soldiers and are surprised at how flavourful it is, compared to their seemingly-tasteless cooking. Later, Suzu will extract salt from seawater and use it to season their food, bringing back some life to her cooking; this simple act signifies the gradual return to normalcy following the war. By this point in time, Keiko is no longer resentful towards Suzu.
- Save Suzu and Sumi, the whole of the Urano family perishes from the atomic bomb and its effects. Here, Suzu visits Sumi, who is afflicted with acute radiation poisoning. My first exposure to Hiroshima and the atom bomb was when I was in my second year of primary school: in Canada, reading Eleanor Coerr’s “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes” is a mandatory part of our education, being a fictionalised account of Sadako Sasaki, who survived the detonation at Hiroshima. She later developed leukemia (a cancer of the bone marrow) and was brought in for treatment, encountering a roommate who encouraged her to fold a thousand paper cranes for a miracle, but succumbed to her cancer and died at the age of twelve.
- Today, the Peace Dome in Hiroshima remains a reminder of the risks and dangers associated with nuclear weapons. In this post, I continued to refer to the bomb as an “atomic” device rather than a nuclear device: the reason for this is that a nuclear bomb can either be atomic or hydrogen. Atomic bombs operate purely by fission, where the nuclei of a large, unstable atom (usually Uranium-235 or Plutonium-239) are split, creating a chain reaction. Hydrogen bombs generate their destructive power through fusion: a fission device is used to generate high temperatures that allow hydrogen fusion to occur, and while hydrogen fusion itself is clean, these bombs generate fallout because of their initial fission components.
- I managed to last most of In This Corner of The World with only the ol’e sand in my eyes, but the film’s final moments proved to be sufficient to change that. A woman and her daughter are seen wandering the ruined cityscape of Hiroshima. The former has sustained severe injuries, with her arm blown off and has large glass shards embedded in her right leg. She later succumbs to her injuries, and her daughter clings to her, even desperately fighting off the flies and maggots resulting from decomposition. There is something about the implications of this scene that hit me in ways that even the climax of the film did not. This sort of footage of atomic bomb victims was outright banned, and the American public was thus unaware of the extent of what atomic weapons were capable of: most Americans felt that it would be acceptable to continue using atomic bombs against Japan.
- The world has changed dramatically now, and I’m thankful that for the most part, the world is aware of the importance of nuclear disarmament. While visiting Sumi in Hiroshima, Suzu runs into Shūsaku, and they encounter the orphan, who’s looking worse for wear. They decide to take her in, and after giving her a good bath, the credits show her as growing up in the Hojo household, while Suzu herself has found another reason for happiness.
- This review finally reaches an end, and I would count In This Corner of The World a masterpiece, a 10 of 10. Even among the giants released in 2016, including Kimi no na wa and Koe no Katachi, I feel that Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni stands ahead for its overall execution and delivery: while perhaps not quite as impressive from a visual perspective, the narrative and messages are of a very high quality. This post was completed quite quickly by my usual standards for its size, taking a total of five hours to complete from first draft to hitting the publish button. With this post finished, October is very nearly over, and there are only a handful more posts on the horizon for this month, including a talk for Girls’ Last Tour, Wake Up, Girls! New Chapter! after three, and a talk about Battlefield 1 a year after I bought it.
My verdict for In This Corner of The World is simple: it’s a strong recommendation to anyone interested in seeing World War Two from a different perspective, one without any propaganda or political undertones. The story is entirely focused on Suzu and her everyday life prior to, during and after the war, and although simple from a thematic perspective, nonetheless presents an incredibly moving story that is as powerful as Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk. Whereas Dunkirk conveyed an overwhelming sense of unease and suspense as Allied soldiers prepared to evacuate ahead of advancing German forces, In This Corner of The World presents the Suzu and the Hojo family as ordinary people. As viewers see more of their daily lives, they come to empathise with them; by the film’s end, I dissolved in tears. Ultimately, while I’ve always been a staunch proponents of the Allied Forces, I find that in modern warfare, the efficiency that humans can cause harm to one another means that there is not always a victor, and moreover, war is certain to lead to suffering. As In This Corner of The World demonstrates, civilians are unfortunately made targets of undue suffering, brought on by their leaders’ decisions. In spite of the horrors of warfare, In This Corner of The World demonstrates the nature of human resilience, and ultimately, our desire to survive and endure also brings about acts of great good in helping one another out during difficult times. I am immensely grateful to have watched In This Corner of The World: the film originally released in October of last year, only coming to home release back in September, but the wait was well worth it, and I would think that folks will find this film enjoyable the same way Dunkirk is enjoyable, regardless of one’s familiarity with anime.