'Lu Over the Wall' Is Trippy Anime for Mermaid Fans

Visionary anime auteur Masaaki Yuasa does it again with his new and universal crowd-pleaser, Lu Over the Wall. Drawing inspiration from stories everyone loves, Yuasa meshes the centuries-old Little Mermaid fable with the 21st century dream of being a rock star. The family-friendly story draws its audience in with spectacular artistry right away and keeps the kiddos watching as it flip-flops between land and sea.

The hero of the tale is Kai (voiced by Shota Shimoda), a high school boy who spends his days sulking in a small fishing village after his family moves from the bustling big city. In the evenings, he’s a covert DJ, spinning and making remixes, which he uploads under the alias “Mer-man.” When his classmates Yuuho (Minako Kotobuki) and Kuniko (Soma Saito) find out Kai is the one behind the cool tunes, they invite him to play keyboard in their band. Before long, their practice sessions lure an unexpected fan: Lu (Kanon Tani), a young mermaid whose singing causes humans to compulsively dance… whether they want to or not! The trio’s music also causes Lu to grow legs and dance… but her limbs last only as long as the tunes play.

As Kai spends more time with Lu, he finds he is able to tell her what he is really thinking, and a strong bond begins to form. But not everyone thinks Lu is awesome. Since ancient times, the people in the village have believed that mermaids bring disaster, and they are determined to make her leave. But first, they will have to contend with Lu’s dad, a super-sized shark who wears a business suit and a top hat. In this particular incarnation of the supernatural fable, mermaids are more like vampires – they bite, and their “victims” become mer-folk. But, it’s not a horror film and it’s not scary in the least.

Younger children will undoubtedly love the bold, colorful visuals, the upbeat pop-songs and the overall cheerful pep of the characters. However, the movie is nearly two-hours long… so, tiny attention spans may wane. Adult attention spans definitely will, as there isn’t much in the way of scripting that’s new or particularly compelling. The story of Kai’s parents’ divorce is just sort of glossed over, which is a shame because it could have added some depth to the somewhat saccharine approach.

Lu Over the Wall is certainly worth a peek for fans of trippy anime and those who love the Little Mermaid tale – but, due to the long runtime, you may want to wait until it’s streaming.

Tags : movies   film   anime   

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