This is review number one hundred and eighty. It looks like I’m pretty close to two hundred. I hope I can reach it before this blog turns one year old. It looks impossible though unless I can watch twenty anime in less than a month. Nah, I can’t do that. Anyways, I’ll be reviewing a movie this time. It’s a 2007 movie called “Kappa no Coo to Natsuyasumi” or Summer Days with Coo. This is an amazing show. Just stop right now and look for this anime. It’s pretty hard to find a decent copy so I’m glad I was able to watch it. It’s a movie about a kappa but it’s really more than that. Let’s read on.
The anime is about a Kappa named Coo that was found and taken care of by a boy named Kouichi Uehara and his family. Both the Kappa and the family needs a little time to adjust but they soon find happiness in each other’s company. Coo would soon discover though that the world he once lived in is no longer there and it is replaced by something that will really shock him.
Taking the Pants Off
This anime was directed by Keiichi Hara. I’ve seen his movie called “Colorful” and it was a one note movie that didn’t really do much for me. The experience was not that great but I saw that movie because this guy is an acclaimed director. I learned today that Summer Days with Coo was the movie that made people took notice. The reason is pretty simple. This movie is really amazing. It’s a heartwarming family movie with a nice dash of fantasy and a wonderful commentary on the inconsiderate nature of humans. I was really expecting something unremarkable but it’s one of those movies that really surprise you and I love it when an anime surprises me.
The story starts out pretty simple with a boy discovering a rock that had Coo inside it. He brought it home and Coo was brought back to life. After sleeping for a long time, Coo would take a little helping to get back to his regular self. The Uehara family decided to keep Coo indefinitely and help him recover. The premise of the story will easily grab you. I mean, a kappa living with humans sounds like a fun thing to watch and it is. The family is slowly learning new things about the kappa and Coo is slowly learning about the world he lives in. The story starts out pretty simple with Coo and family spending some fun times together. It is also pretty slow at this point because the story was still building the foundations of the story. I don’t mind though because the movie has a nice slice of life appeal to it that is nicely mixed in with the supernatural elements of the movie. Its subtle approach easily grabs you and even the dead silence was pretty inviting.
The story was soon about Coo looking for his own kind. He was a bit surprised that the world has changed significantly from the world he used to know and he is now trying to find other kappas like him to hopefully live with them. The anime was still greatly Slice of Life at this point but you do feel the sadness that Coo has when his journey doesn’t fare well. The story was gradually becoming more dramatic at this point and I really admire that. Family movies always go this direction and the execution of it was just pretty amazing. Coo had people he can rely on but the sadness is still there. The slow pace of the anime was also slowly picking up speed as it enters its second half.
The second half of the movie is really where the anime truly shined. It was a bit unexpected and how it was handled was pretty amazing. I love how the story slowly went a different direction and offer up something most family movie wouldn’t enter. I guess most can but the execution of the story in the second half is unbelievable. What do you think would happen when the world discovers that a kappa exists? The movie took a nice narrative at it and it will really surprise you. A strong theme of how inconsiderate humans are was nicely presented by the movie. It personally got under my skin when the people just couldn’t back off and accept things for what they are. Instead, human nature dictates that whatever it doesn’t understand or comprehend must be analyzed or feared. It was a unique take for the movie and it really made the whole experience very remarkable.
I also admire how the incorporation of technology made a huge impact on the story. 2007 was such a long time ago so I wasn’t really sure how Japan looked then. The use of media and technology in the movie was pretty amazing. It captured 2007 remarkably and the status of the world was nicely encapsulated in the movie. The use of cellphone videos, the hype that media can create, the rise of the internet and the sheer unrelenting and slightly annoying fascination of what people see on TV was a great element in the movie that really made it unique. I love it. It’s a new experience for me from such a really simple movie.
The characters are pretty remarkable and they make the movie pretty fun to watch. The main characters are Coo and Kouichi. Coo is a playful little kappa that has a pretty sad past. There are moments in the movie where you really just appreciate how innocent he is and how he simply wants to live a simple life like back in his time. The thought of being alone with no one like him to understand his pain was nicely presented by the anime. I also admire how the anime was able to give us his point of view on the changes that happened in the world and just how fearful and inconsiderate humans are. Kouichi has a little story of his own in the movie. He is a growing boy and various moments in the movie involves him and his crush. There is a nice story of puppy dog love in the anime and it also features the various attitudes of humans as well but in the eyes of a kid ostracized and mistreated. The characters really made the show amazing because it’s their various experiences that were the highlight of the show. The two main characters add a lot to the narrative and their highs and lows really made the show amazing.
The rest of the cast is pretty decent. They have enough personality to help the story improve but they also slowly grow on you which I really like. The Uehara family had a nice dynamic to them from the annoying little sister to the considerate father. They really made the story pretty interesting. Even the no named characters helped a lot and really made the theme of the anime that much more prominent. Some side characters are really important to help the main characters really develop and I admire that. Their role was really important to the movie and their relationship with the main characters adds a lot to the movie.
This is an amazing movie. It’s really unique and the execution of the story is really amazing. The story is simple and a bit predictable at first but how it evolved and how it just slowly comes together is something that I am really impressed by. It’s no wonder Keiichi Hara is so acclaimed if he can spin such a wonderful story together. Something honest yet profound and really just an amazing experience overall.
Sight and Sound
The character design is pretty normal. Most anime movies try to be as realistic as possible so it’s no surprise that the characters look more Japanese than anything else. There is no moe and they really have human facial features. It is to suit the slice of life appeal of the anime so it does wonder. The squinty eyes, the brown skin and the flat nose look more human than anything you’d expect from an anime. The anime does a good job of capturing its era though so I admire how the outfit and the clothing were pretty modern. The design on Coo is pretty great though as it does have a supernatural look to him. The kind you’d see in the folklores that I really appreciate.
The animation is pretty great. There are a lot of complicated movements in the anime that was nicely displayed. There are also a lot of scenes where the characters just go wild in terms of animation. I particularly enjoyed those scenes where Coo would just swim freely in a river. It’s pretty awesome. Majority of the scenes involves just characters walking and talking though so the animation isn’t really that special. The facial expressions are nicely done though and the walk cycles are pretty decent. I would like to point out though that you should never freeze frame the little sister because she does some freaky facial expressions that I can never understand. It is expressive so I guess I’ll give points for that.
The background of the anime is really amazing. They are simple hand painted scenes but there are a lot of details in them that is very pretty to look at. The complexity of the scenic places of the movie and how it slowly comes to life is a nice approach by the anime. The addition of some CG was a nice touch. You can see from how the water moves or how some certain scenes look too complex but you never realize the CG in it. It was subtle, like anything else in the anime.
The soundtrack of the anime is pretty amazing as well. There is a nice range to it from some progressive rock beats to some mellow acoustic sounds and there are even some funky country instrumentals in the anime that I really appreciate. It really adds a lot to the anime especially on some of the most powerful moments of the anime. The soundtrack just helps it become more memorable and it really helps some scene become alive. The anime had no OP. It’s ED is Natsu no Shizuku” by Ooyama Yurika. It’s a nice song and it’s very touching that it captures the appeal of the movie pretty nicely.
7/10 “A strong family themed movie with some subtle yet pronounce themes that makes the experience pretty remarkable.”
This is an amazing movie. The whole thing is just so well done and everything was perfectly executed that you really don’t see a lot of shows like this. The entire two hours was nicely packed with some great things that made the movie really fun to watch. If you like family themed movies with a nice story to tell then you’ll enjoy this anime. I highly recommend it.