A Quick Look at Colorful

The concept of death and the afterlife has been utilized in Anime countless times already. Usually it’s for drama-themed titles, like AnoHana, and, to some extent, Angel Beats!. It’s a really interesting theme, and it is almost, always presented in a different manner than another. The title that I’m going to talk about is truly something different from any that I’ve seen.

The sheer cruelty of life, and a ray of hope stuffed in two hours. Here’s a quick look at Colorful.

‘Colorful’ is based off an award-winning, first person narrative, written by Mori Eto. The overall style of the movie itself more or less maintained the feel of a first person narrative. It is a one shot film, spanning two hours and seven minutes, and premiered last August, 2010.

The movie starts out from the perspective of a man, who is literally at the bus stop to the afterlife (or train station, referencing the end of a mortal’s journey) He contemplates on being ‘dead’ and having committed a ‘grave sin’. He gets in line to the ticket counter, and awaits his turn to board the bus. A kid wearing a suit, nearby calls to him. He is congratulated by the kid, saying that he is a lucky soul, that gets another chance of living. The man only thinks about it for a second, and promptly refuses, saying that it would be too troublesome. The kid then follows up his statement and says that it wasn’t a matter of personal interest, since he (the man) couldn’t refuse in the first place. The kid also proceeds to introduce himself as PuraPura, and he was to serve as a guide to the man.

PuraPura explains that the man must undergo an “internship” back on earth. He must reside in the body of one Kobayashi Makoto, who was already nearing death after overdosing himself with medicine as a form of suicide. In Makoto’s body, he must figure out what was the grave sin that he committed, as well as figure why Makoto committed suicide, within a time limit, for him to pass the internship and return to the cycle of reincarnation. After shifting from the strange “bus station” to the real world, the man now opens his eyes and finds himself lying on a hospital bed, with a family and a doctor and some nurses looking at him. “He” was then, Kobayashi Makoto, with no memory of his past life, and no knowledge of Makoto’s as well.

Man, where do I start? This title wasn’t something that I planned to watch a while back, nor was it recommended by someone. It was actually just something that passed by my sight when I logged in to MAL. Someone wrote a review about it, and it was featured at my panel. The title itself sparked my curiosity, and after reading the short synopsis of it, I was more than ready to give it a shot. At first I didn’t know it would take two whole hours, so I planned to watch half of it, and continue the rest after eating dinner and such. That plan fell through after the first ten minutes of the movie; I knew there was no way I’m gonna stop watching it ’till it was over.

Despite it having very slow start, the story grabbed me in a way that makes you think to yourself “oh damn”. It tackles some pretty serious stuff, I mean, suicide and the afterlife aside (like that wasn’t enough) it also shows cases of, with lack of a better term, prostitution, and infidelity. That said, this show isn’t totally a downer. Yeah, sure, you will feel bad at times, but once everything’s resolved and explained, it gives you that feeling of being able to forgive those acts. We also see the importance of family bonds, and friendship, and the roles they partake in a person’s life. You’ll see how “Makoto” experiences the cruelties of life, and yet find strength for those “he” cares for.

I honestly found myself reflecting on my life after watching this. Not that I did some graves sins or anything, but, we sometimes fail to see how lucky we are, and this movie really teaches you to value those close to you.

I know it sounds sappy, but that is this movie’s strong suit. The animation was okay, and the voice actors for some characters could have been better, but those are just trivial stuff. The story was very well written, and my only qualm about it is the title itself (which, I’ll leave for you guys to discern, if you decide to watch it that is) So yeah, if you like some serious slice of life/drama, with bits of comedy here and there, then, take this for a spin.

16 thoughts on “A Quick Look at Colorful

  1. The title of the movie doesn’t really match the picture I had in my mind after reading your post. I’d imagine to be quite sad and slow-paced as one tackles the meaning of life. Perhaps I should check this out to have a better understanding.

  2. I’m getting Sky Crawlers vibes from this film, based on your review. I may give Colorful a try some time, though I have some other movies I’ve been meaning to get to first. I have a film major friend who would probably be interested in this one, though.

  3. This sounds interesting. I like stories like this and most of all it’s a one-shot film. I’ll definitely watch this soon. I have one movie on my list, after that I can make room for this. ^^

  4. Ooh, sounds like a super interesting movie. Death and afterlife have always been such fascinations. The opening at the bus stop does remind me of the fairly common euphemism, “catching the bus.” Definitely going to try to give this movie a look.

    • Yep, really interesting indeed. Wouldn’t have expected such a story from a title like ‘Colorful’ though, haha. I forgot about that euphemism, but I do recall hearing it from somewhere.

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