Directed by Masaaki Yuasa, visionary artist behind the acclaimed Mind Game, this original romantic comedy follows a university sophomore known as “The Girl with Black Hair” as she ventures into an unforgettable night out in Kyoto, running into vividly wild characters and engaging in increasingly bizarre shenanigans. As she makes her way through her visually stunning odyssey, she is followed by her fellow classmate, the lovesick Senpai, who continues to find new ways to run into her in the hopes of proving they are meant to be together.
As a Frida Cinema volunteer I’ve had the opportunity to catch quite a few of the films they program, but I can’t remember the last time I was as mesmerized and entertained as I was taking in this feast for the eyes. The art is spectacular, not just in its use of mere color and movement, but in its bold experimentation, as Yuasa seems to challenge what audiences might expect from an anime that is otherwise a sweet romantic comedy, pushing conventions with thrilling leaps towards the psychedelic, dreamlike, and thoroughly surreal. The world the young protagonists inhabit seems to almost come alive, electrifying the senses. Impressively, the various characters remain discernible and palpable despite the kaleidoscope that unfolds around them, with distinct motivations and personalities of varying charisma. There are even a few unlikeable characters who are sympathetic enough that one can’t help but root for them.
Led by a badass leading protagonist who will no doubt make the ranks of one of cult anime’s celebrated female rebels, and dosed with a consistent air of sweetness as poor Senpai chases “The Girl with Black Hair” with his heart practically on a serving plate, The Night is Short, Walk on Girl is an enchanting, charming, and often insane cinematic party filled with excitement and colorful characters, and a simultaneous celebration of both Kyoto youth culture and the art of anime as well.
The Night is Short, Walk on Girl screens daily through Thursday, August 30th at 2:30pm, 5pm, 7:30pm, and 9:45pm!