Lu Over The Wall


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Lu Over The Wall
"There's no doubt youngsters will enjoy the trippy and exuberant visuals of this film."

It's been a good year or two for mermaids - with their darker side popping up in films as diverse as The Lure and The Last Mermaid. In this animation, courtesy of Masaaki Yuasa they get a family-friendly outing, although the director retains an element of their strangeness and the possibility of danger.

Hinashi is a small fishing village, where most things revolve around the sea. A tannoy blasts adverts for fish processing training and the kids have to take part in an open water race - even if they non-swimmers have to wear a floating aid to do it.

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Kai (Shota Shimoda) doesn't swim, although he is a fish out of water, recently arrived in town after his parents' split and displaying magnetic floppy-haired outsider credentials that make him attractive to new classmates Yuuho (Minako Kotobuki) and Kuniko (Soma Saito). When they discover he's also got an ear for a good tune, they become determined to include him in their band.

It turns out they're not the only ones who like a melody, as Kai discovers when one night a wall of water arrives in his bedroom containing Lu (Kanon Tani) a young mermaid, who just wants to be friends. As Kai, Yuuho and Kuniko warm to the fish girl, who grows legs until the music stops, they also face the problem that the village folk are scared of the mermaids abilities, amid rumours of them eating people. As they integrate Lu into their band, it soon becomes clear that problems lie ahead.

There's no doubt that youngsters will enjoy the trippy and exuberant visuals of this film, bad moods are never more than fleeting and smiles spread from ear to ear - although whether the youngest audience members will have the staying power for the almost two-hour running time is another question. Yuasa's animation has a flowing style that complements the ever-present water and his use of strong colours in flashback works well.

Older audiences, however, may find the tang of saccharine begins to come through after a while and the relentless accentuation of the positive means that interesting ideas about children in the wake of divorce - often impressively handled in Japanese films - go under-explored. Embrace the sugar rush but don't expect it to last.

Reviewed on: 09 Dec 2017
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Lu Over The Wall packshot
A teenage musician attracts the attentions of a mermaid.
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Director: Masaaki Yuasa

Writer: Reiko Yoshida, Masaaki Yuasa

Starring: Kanon Tani, Shôta Shimoda, Shin'ichi Shinohara, Akira Emoto, Minako Kotobuki, Soma Saito

Year: 2017

Runtime: 107 minutes

Country: Japan

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