Back from another round of anime at my friend's house. For me, it was a bit strange today since today, September 24th, was the debut of the latest "Star Trek" show that is being filmed here in Toronto, "Star Trek: Discovery". Perhaps 20 years ago, I wouldn't have hesitated...I would have given my friend an excuse not to come out today and wait fervently in front of my TV to catch this new show. However, the "too little, too late" feeling of "Star Trek: Enterprise", followed by the not-so-great Abramsverse part of the franchise (I mean, I liked the first "Star Trek" in 2009 despite the plot progression), and the relative indifference to the 50th anniversary of Gene Roddenberry's space adventure last year in my opinion has ended up dulling my enthusiasm to the point that I'm not even sure I can call myself a dedicated Trekkie/Trekker anymore. However, I got home in time to see the last 10 minutes of the 2nd episode of "Discovery" and it does look markedly different from any of the past series although it does remind me of the Abramsverse (are those lens flares again?).
Instead, the main feature today at my friend's house was the second of the three big anime motion pictures from 2016. A few weeks ago, I caught "Kimi no Na wa"（君の名は。）, the space-and-time-cross high school romance. Tonight it was "Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni"（この世界の片隅に...In This Corner of the World）, a film that I think is even better than "Kimi no Na wa" although my friend liked it even better than I did.
From what I had heard from my anime buddy and had read online, the movie is supposed to be a slice-of-life flick about wartime Japan in the city of Kure near Hiroshima. Well, my first thought was how can a slice-of-life flick traipse around the first nuclear bomb blast. After seeing the movie, my answer came: it doesn't. There is a lot of lightheartedness and gentle humour in "Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni" but it doesn't hold back on the tragedy of war especially in a couple of scenes. Still, it's not a war movie or an anti-war movie.
My friend actually saw the movie in Japan during his trip last year at a Tokyo theatre and he said that although he saw it some three months after its premiere, there was still a full house at the first morning show and there were a lot of folks who he considered to be not regular anime-watching folks in the seats.
The movie starts out with the opening theme, a wistful tune by Kotringo（コトリンゴ）as people are going about their daily lives. As the song went along, I detected a certain familiarity when the words "kanashikute, kanashikute" were heard, and I realized that the singer-songwriter was doing a cover of the old 1968 folk song by The Folk Crusaders, "Kanashikute Yakirenai"（I Can't Bear How Sad It Is）. Noelle has already provided an article of that chestnut here so you can listen to the original version. But Kotringo makes the song her own with her soft-as-cotton delivery and that ethereal combination of piano and guitar and chorus before it rises into a brief boil and quickly subsides.
Kotringo's cover of "Kanashikute Yakirenai" originally came on her 2010 album "picnic album 1" and although that version was used in the trailers, an interview with the singer on the website OtoCoto via J-Wiki back in March 2017 noted that it couldn't be used for the movie itself due to the usual red tape so I guess what I heard tonight during the opening credits was made specially for the movie.
Anyways by the end of "Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni", I felt like I caught one of the best movies that I'd seen this year.