Adapted from the Manga by Fumiyo Kono, In this Corner Of the World is an animated movie set in WWII-era Japan, leading up to the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
It follows the story of Suzu, a young woman living in Eda, a seaside town near Hiroshima. At age 18, she’s working at her Grandma’s seaweed farm, and is told a man has come to ask for her hand in marriage. The man, named Shusaku – who Suzu has only met once during a short visit to the city – works for the navy in a large naval port at Kure. Suzu accepts his proposal and moves to Kure, but as she’s adjusting to her new life, the ever-increasing threat of the Pacific War starts to affect the townspeople.
At first the film is confusing to say the least. It’s a mental battle trying to stay on top of what’s going on. Then it becomes what seems to be a more understandable (but not necessarily more interesting) film about housework and cooking, with the occasional break for an air raid. After we’re done with that, the film does a sort of cinematic backflip and becomes a serious war movie.
And though it does it’s best to convey the tragedies of 1945 in a unique and engaging way, it falls short on the latter front. It tends to drag on and has trouble moving onto the next point. Often lovely and heartwarming it may be, but the 2 hour-plus run time feels excessive.
In This Corner of the World is screening at the 2017 Japanese Film Festival nationally.