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Anime Movie Review: Sky Blue (2004)


My Score:
Sky Blue

Last night I found a DVD screener copy of the Korean anime film Sky Blue waiting for me when I got home. After dinner, and after my wife had passed out on the couch, I stuck it in the DVD player and hit play. And I never regretted it!

Sky Blue takes place in the future, where the sky has been completely covered over with a thick blanket of billowy clouds for a hundred years, and being able to catch a glimpse of the sun's rays is as rare as a blue moon. The atmosphere is toxic, covering the whole planet save for one specially built living-city called Ecoban. It was designed by those who saw the coming of the disaster which turned the Earth into this wasteland.

After the catastrophe, many came to Ecoban seeking it's safety. But they were all denied entry, forced to live outside the city and mine carbon compounds for Ecoban's Delos System, which transforms it into useable energy. Thus, these "diggers", as they're called, are imperative to the survival of Ecoban. Too bad they haven't been meeting their quotas.

Enter Shua, a young man that as a child lived inside Ecoban, but through an unfortunate circumstance ended up on the outside... permanently. At least until today, that is. Because today Shua is breaking back into Ecoban, although not because he wants to reside there once again, but because he needs to steal some information that could help to release all of the city's energy and thus put every human on an even playing field.

Once inside, he accomplishes his task, but is discovered before he can make his escape. He struggles to evade all the troopers sent in pursuit, and almost manages it, were it not for Jay, one lone female trooper... who happens to be his child friend from when he lived within the city. She thought he was dead. Everyone thought he was dead. And now... Shua escapes and leaves Jay to start thinking. Question is, what is she going to do now? Quite an opening sequence!

This anime, although not made in Japan, looks wonderful. It uses hand-drawn art which is blended nicely with computer graphics and live-action miniatures, all of which are extremely well done. Don't take that to mean it's seamless, though, as it's almost always obvious what is hand-drawn, what is CG, and what is live action. But after the initial first few minutes of the film, this mixture of media doesn't distract at all, and it adds a lot to the pleasing visual appearance.

When I first read the background story, before seeing the feature, I was apprehensive that the whole lower-class verses upper-class and destruction of the environment ideas would make the anime overly preachy... but thankfully this was not the case! It's made obvious almost from the get go that the elites inside Ecoban view the diggers as lower life forms, and that the diggers have a strong resentment toward the elites, but the story focuses more on the two friends from opposite sides of the tracks. And not in the standard way, either, where usually each person tries to fit in to the other's environment.

Ah, but lets not forget about the action, of course, for there are some nice action scenes in here. They were extremely well animated, and fit tightly within the story. It never seemed like they were added just for the sake of hiking up the excitement. Okay, but besides all of that, you want me to tell you what the best thing about this movie is? There wasn't one boring moment throughout the whole thing! Yep, not once scene did I ever find myself say "oh, come on, they could have cut this out". I don't even think I looked at the clock, which is pretty rare.

Overall, this is a great movie, and you should definitely check it out if you ever get the chance, especially on the big screen if possible. Although, somehow I doubt that it will by playing in my town. Hmmmm...uh-oh...I think I might have hyped this move too much... now you'll be going in to see it with uber-high expectations. Great, what am I going to do now? Uh... yeah... this movie was alright... it was good... you know, if you're bored and need something to do... oh, who am I kidding, I can't say that! This was a good film and you should see it.

Sky Blue will be coming to theaters on February 18. Check out the official Sky Blue Website to learn more.

Image Gallery: Sky Blue (2004)

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