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Fantasia 2020: Fly Me to the Saitama Review

Fantasia 2020: Fly Me to the Saitama Review

As a fan of animation, I am often skeptical of the very idea of manga being brought to live action rather than as anime, but Fly Me to the Saitama won me over from scene one. Director Hideki Takeuchi brings Mineo Maya’s 1982 manga to life with colour and laughter. It’s not hard to see why the film has won acclaim wherever it has screened. Exquisite and bright costuming, beautifully framed scenes straight from the pages of the manga, and performances that capture a style that is truly live action anime. The soundtrack is a blend of modern and orchestral that fans of anime have come to know and love. The comedy is in the unapologetic cartoonishness from the swooning school girls to the exaggerated strength of our protagonist, allowing the film to carry timely themes of immigration, justice, exploitation, and social stratification with lighthearted grace. With a story-telling style that’s part Princess Bride, part Chiti-Chiti Bang Bang, this is a film I look forward to adding to my collection and returning to again and again. Romance, intrigue, action, and social justice wrapped in a laugh a minute. What more could anyone ask for? This is one movie that doesn’t have to fight to show how bright it shines. - Rachel Jones

 

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