Based on a novel by writer Miyuki Miyabe, the Brave Story movie is produced by the animation house Studio Gonzo, a major force in the anime industry today. It is essentially a fantasy adventure. Giant monsters, wizards with magical powers, and young characters who become heroes all feature in the film.
The story begins when young Wataru, the main character of the movie, accidentally sees a mysterious young child disappearing through a floating door. It turns out that the mysterious kid is a new student at Wataru’s school, and that the floating door is the entrance to the land of Vision, a place where dreams come true. When Wataru’s life is turned upside down by a series of unfortunate events, he decides to go through the magic door and venture into an unknown world, hoping to change his own destiny…
Animators for Brave Story have used a combination of hand drawings and computer graphics to create a beautiful fantasy world, one that is filled with weird and magical creatures. The film features some impressive visual effects, especially in the scenes that follow the unleashing of demon forces in the latter part of the movie. These scenes are really quite spectacular, and should thrill audiences of all ages.
The film has a certain charm to it, partly because of the style of animation, but also because of the interesting characters seen in it. The child characters have all gone through some tough times in their young lives, and it is hard not to show any sympathy towards them. On the other hand, many of the characters in the world of Vision are rather strange but still manage to be pretty likeable.
Young viewers will probably enjoy Brave Story the most, because both the animation style and the story should appeal more to them than to adults. As a grown up, I found the movie a bit too long and the story a little predictable, but was nevertheless touched by the film’s portrayal of innocent young children facing difficulties and sadness due to the actions of adults around them. I was also amused by some of the eccentric characters, such as the restaurant owner, a really minor character, who would not allow children to leave the table until they have eaten their food.
Brave Story may not attract both child and adult audiences like many of the animated movies nowadays do, but there is no arguing that it is still incredibly charming and entertaining. I would recommend this film especially for children (in particular boys) around 10 to 12 years of age. With the festive season fast approaching, if you are struggling to think of a suitable Christmas gift for a child, the DVD of this pleasant film may not be such a bad choice. And who knows, you may find yourself enjoying it quite a lot too.