February 4, 2023

Summer Ghost is a powerful and deeply moving story with beautiful visuals and a truly wonderful score. This film will leave you with an uplifting feeling, it is an ode to life.”

Summer Ghost is Loundraw’s debut feature. It is an anime short film that was released last year in Japanese cinemas and is now reaching our shores.

STORY

The film follows Tomoya Sugisaki, Aoi Harukawa, and Ryou Kobayashi, three teenagers who want to meet the Summer Ghost. This ghost is said to be a girl who committed suicide. She can only be seen in a specific area and by using fireworks. And the people who can see her are close to death or have contemplated dying. Obviously, that’s case for our main characters. Aoi is bullied at school and as she has no friends to support her, she has attempted suciide. Tomoya struggles to find the will to live. While, Ryou has a brain disease with a few months left to live.

As you can tell, the theme of death is quite present. So, it does sound grim and dark. And, it is serious. But, the film is quite hopeful. Indeed, by getting together to search for the ghost and try to figure out what really happened to her, the characters slowly find a reason to live again. In fact, it is incredibly compelling to see this story unfold. Whatever challenges you may face life is worth living, you just need to find the light. This film is an ode to life. In fact, I couldn’t think of a better message to deliver to an audience. Anyone in their life needs to hear this message at some point for whatever reason. So I would say even if you are feeling down, this film will lift your spirits.

Despite its runtime of 45 minutes, the film is well paced. It doesn’t feel like it goes too fast. The story actually takes the time to explore each character. It is so powerful and deeply moving. When you reach the end credits, Summer Ghost leaves you with an uplifting feeling. I was completely wowed. It is a must-watch.

VISUALS

Loundraw has made smart choices for the visuals. He uses a lot of colors for the scenery. The shots on the airfield when the characters light up the fireworks are absolutely breathtaking. It is a joy for the eyes to watch this film. As for the charatcers, their skin is desaturated. I think it represents their closeness to death but also the fragility of life. So, it marks a real difference between the characters and the world they live in. This fim has so many layers and was carefully crafted. I have no doubts that this director has a bright future ahead of him.

SOUNDTACK

The score is a collaboration between Akira Kosemura, Itoko Toma, Guiano and Hideya Kojima. This results in a truly wonderful piece of music. The score beautifully helps carrying all the emotions from the story. It uses a lot of piano which I think works so well with the atmosphere of the film.

VERDICT

Summer Ghost is a powerful and deeply moving story with beautiful visuals and a truly wonderful score. This film will leave you with an uplifting feeling, it is an ode to life.

Summer Ghost is now on pre-or on blu-ray at All The Anime, it releases in February 2023 in the UK. In the US, it was released last month by GKIDS.

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