After seeing Hirunehime today I can say that going into it, I wasn't sure exactly what it was, or whether I would like it, and forgot most of what I saw in the trailer prior to it but nevertheless it was still a great movie. As with a lot of Kenji Kamiyama directed stuff it has an emphasis on technology and current social issues. This one had a very clear focus on modern technology and the depiction of it was very well done, very prescient, and very "current". There were mobile phones, tablets (basically an iPad), autonomous cars (a main theme in the film), a mobile phone app connected to a Japanese BBS-type service, Even the main company in the film (Shijima) is blatantly supposed to be Honda in all but name. It might sound like product placement but it was not.
The story was very good. I feel like there can be arguments made that it was deeper than face value in that I felt like a lot of it was an allegory for the struggles of a young girl trying to understand an adult situation.
Kenji Kamiyama answered a few questions at the end of the movie to some of the movie-goers. Most of them were small children asking relatively simple questions but the more memorable replies are:
- The inspiration for the "Engineheads" (large robots) came from him tinkering with an looking at an engine piston and thinking "that looks like a robot"
- The inspiration for the "Colossus" (thing the large robots were "battling") came from basically the coalescence of negative emotions and feelings from social media and all the bad comments and negativity that exists.
- A strong, tech-savvy, programming female protagonist was intentional and sort of modeled around the voracity and such of his daughter and some of the women in his life.
- He mentioned part of his inspiration for the film was to try and bridge the gap between older and younger Japanese in that older Japanese people tend to "stick to traditions/status quo" and younger do not (this was a theme in the film). He also wanted to expand on the issue that Japan used to be a great hardware manufacturer in years past and in the last generation or so they have fallen behind. He would like to see software (coding, programming, etc.) play a larger role in the Japanese workforce since hardware and automation will replace people and jobs.
As far as the music goes (why I went), the soundtrack was fantastic. It was orchestral with light strings and piano and if I had to describe it, it would basically be B-Sides of all our favorite Shimomura FFXV tracks. I am definitely going to be picking this up.