I haven’t been reviewing any anime for a while so I thought why not start today? Lets start with what the movie is about. The movie is about five kids who is stuck in space trying to get home. Wild children’s adventure movie is a treat for the eyes, but is also very long.
Summary of the story (Spoiler-Free) : Summer has arrived in the remote Japanese countryside, and five children gather together for a week-long outing at the elementary school. Kiyoshi, the eldest, could not go on his farewell class trip earlier in the year because he was the only person in his class; Natsuki is an energetic tomboy who is on the outs with her much younger cousin, Amane, after their pet rabbit ran off; Koji is a bookworm, and Noriko hesitantly bringing up the rear. While searching for the missing rabbit, they come across a small dog that has been injured, and nurse him back to health. To their surprise, he awakens and thanks them, explaining he is really from outer space, a researcher named Pochi. As a token of his gratitude, he offers to take them to space, and spirits them away to the far side of the Moon, where a massive city teeming with millions of aliens resides. As they are enjoying their special trip, Pochi files his research report, which unexpectedly places Earth on immediate quarantine. Now, in order to return to Earth, the children must now travel to the far reaches of the universe, and the real adventure begins!
What I like about a movie would be the art that a movie has to offer. In this movie the art alone is really worth the watch. It is a visual overload of creativity, colours, cuteness, imagination, and scenic mastery. There are a lot of places that the main character visit. Every 5 minutes or so they will probably visit some new places. Which makes all the environment and setting brand new.
There are some weeeeeird inter-species and age-gap relationships going on in here. Excuse me for being racist (there’s the human race and a bunch of alien races) but it did weird me out just a little bit… He’s a uni professor – and a dog – and she’s a child! That’s not the weirdest thing in anime but still, oh my good golly gosh. Not to mention that most of the relationships aren’t fully developed (Koji and Ink, for example, just happen).
The main characters also aren’t developed enough, at least not enough to become attached to. At least they’re written as children should be – curious, energetic, and individualistic – and voiced by a group of talented children instead of Hanazawa Kana, thank goodness. Noriko hardly does anything besides cry “Kiyoshi!” whenever she gets screen time, which gets annoying, but at the least you can see her insecurities just as you can see Kiyoshi’s maturity and Natsuki’s… Natsuki-ness. Unfortunately, aside from Noriko declaring, “I am strong!” near the end of the film, it’s hard to tell if she or any of the other kids develop by the end of the movie. Their bond is stronger than before, of course, but there’s no indication of maturing or learning a lesson.
The main characters have a little bit depth and have at least a bit of background, but the villains hardly have any depth to them at all, just a short background story and a desire to help the weak. What they’re aiming for exactly and how they’re going about it is confusing. Why exactly did you need to run a show to accomplish becoming a god? Also, if you’re trying to become a god, why are you bending to the will of a higher being?
The character designs, mostly of the nameless background alien-characters that fill up lots and lots of space, are amazing and awfully cute, and I wish most of the speaking characters could be that cute. We get a bunch of dogs, a giant cat thing that reminds me of Totoro, a striped tomato, a fish bowl, and a female Terriermon, who is the cutest character out of all the speaking characters. The aliens have a cohesive, plushy look and design to them, indicating that although there are loads of different races out there you can tell they’re all from the same movie.
The sounds of Welcome to the Space Show are just like the movie – a variety of sounds and audio effects from classical to zany. They’re a bit understated compared to the art and to the action, but not overwhelming (like Shutter Island, which played overly dramatic music while showing a bunch of people gardening… hilarious, though probably not what they were going for).
Guess who sings the theme song for Welcome to the Space Show? An angel from the UK, Susan Boyle 🙂 The tune and lyrics aren’t I-need-to-play-this-on-loop worthy but her voice is so lovely. Having it play with rolling greens and perfect blue skies on screen is a lot like Ghibli films and most anime and children’s movies in general, but it’s a safe bet.
Welcome to the Space Show has a good plot. Boil it down and it basically makes sense, everything is connected and there are no loose ends — it’s simple to understand, nothing in need of analysis. Ultimately, it’s pretty fun to watch, which is the most important thing in a movie. But the movie is long, and messily chopped up between characters. It feels a little slow at times, and I wonder if kids nowadays could really tolerate to watch all of it and keep track of everything that’s going on. Luckily, there are a few good action scenes and a bit of humor to keep the film from being too slow, and even a rather touching speech near the end. The movie has everything, as though it were trying to appeal to everyone, kids and adults alike – drama, action, romance, fight scenes, humor, adventure, even a car chase, because all movies need a car chase! (Not really.) What it’s missing is a good, strong message to take home, a theme to live by.
Welcome to the Space Show is definitely worth the watch a feast for the eyes with great artwork and animation. But don’t get too wrapped up in the plot itself, because some of it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when you try to think too hard about it, and you have to remember it really is aimed at at pre-teenage sensibilities. But the beauty of this movie is that critical thinking is not necessary to enjoy the film, so grab a big bucket of popcorn, sit back and just let your eyes drink it all in.
Pros: strong visuals, great setting, fun to watch
Cons: weak characters, underdeveloped themes, messy pacing