Masaaki Yuasa may not be as recognizable a name to North American anime fans or observers as Miyazaki or Shinkai, and if that’s the case for you then you might want to get on that. Yuasa’s voice is one of the most unique and interesting in anime these days, with a unique rhythm and style all its own. His films are madcap, full of mile-a-minute dialogue and a strange, manic internal logic. There really is nothing else like them, and of the two Yuasa films that debuted at Fantasia this year, The Night is Long, Walk On Girl is the one that wears his stamp with the most unabashed pride. This – depending on your personal – tastes, can be a good or a bad thing. If you’re easily overwhelmed and require your films to have things like sense, restraint, and subtlety, this may not be the movie for you. However, if you’re the type who is content to buckle in and let a work of art take you on a manic, breathless ride that almost never stops for air, then you’re in luck.
Walk on Girl chronicles the events of one insane night in the streets of Kyoto, and one College student’s quest to win the attention of his secret crush, a girl in the class below him. Meanwhile, the girl gets pulled from one strange quest to another, beginning with a drinking contest versus a local loan shark, then a quest to find a book from her childhood at a used book fair, and more. To call the film somewhat meandering would be underselling it a bit. The narrative hops and jumps around, madly skipping from end-goal to end-goal. If that sounds disorienting, it is, but so is everything else in the movie.
Ultimately, that’s by intention. Like Yuasa’s previous works, Walk on Girl is intended to operate somewhere on the impressionistic side of things, dealing less in concrete narratives and more with themes, ideas, and moods. Rather than the rational, ordered part of your brain, The Night is Short, Walk on Girl makes a bee-line for someplace deeper. If you’re receptive to this, the film will get under your skin and endear you to itself, in spite of the breakneck pace and somewhat hazy logic. Still, even if the film’s narrative gets reduced to a blur, the dazzling visuals should keep you interested. Yuasa’s visual style is unique is as unique as his storytelling, and both are sure to enchant if you let them.
Our coverage will be continuing all throughout July, so be sure to get your genre kicks with even more Fantasia 2017 features and reviews right here!