Pompo the Cinephile

PLOT: Operating out of the movie capital “Nyallywood,” Pompo has been shooting one B-grade entertainment flick after another that anyone would enjoy. One day, Pompo’s “movie buff” assistant Gene spots a new script written by Pompo, and is moved by its exquisite story. However, Pompo tells him to direct it. Thus, Gene takes on his first directing gig. Meanwhile, Natalie, an ordinary girl who just arrived in town with movie actress dreams, has been discovered by Pompo.  ~ANN

Animation Production: Studio CLAP [ Animation Production on the following works: The Tunnel of Summer the Exit of Goodbye / Animation Production Assistance for feature film BELLE]

Director:

  • Takayuki Hirao (Director on the following works: Futakoi Alternative, Garden of Sinners films, GYO: Tokyo Fish Attack, Mahou Shoujo Sisters Yoyo & Nene / Spy X Family Storyboard, Director, Art Supervisor, and Color Script for ending sequence / Director for Texhnolyze’s opening sequence)

Script: Takayuki Hirao

Storyboard: Takayuki Hirao

Music: Kenya Matsukuma (Black Clover OP composition [OP2, OP9, and ED3] / Occult Academy OP Composition for OPs 1 and 2])

Character Designer: Shingo Adachi (Character Designer for the following works: Galileo Donna / Sword Art Online / Director on Lycoris Recoil / Key Animator on Princess Principle)

Art Director: Miu Miyamoto (Background Artist for the following works: B The Beginning / Black Clover [at Studio Rufus] / Candy Boy ONA / Classroom Crisis [at Studio Who and subcontracted at Studio Rufus for episodes 3,4, and 8 through 12] / Demon Slayer [at UFOTABLE in-house] / Eden’s Bowy [at Studio WHO] / Fate/Stay Night Heaven’s Feel III / Fuuto Pi [subcontracted at Studio Rufus] / Geneshaft / M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane / Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation [Background Art and Art Director] / The Promised Nederland Season 2 / The Tatami Galaxy / Weathering with You film)

——

An idiosyncratic film under the direction of a strongly creative director—-Takayuki Hirao. A little bit of history surrounding this film before I dive right into the content. Around 2017, Hirao was requested by Bandai videogame producer Yusuke Tomizawa about developing a film adaptation of a Pixiv manga series that he believed would suit Hirao’s style. Eventually this worked out because during this time Hirao was working on a novel with Shingo Adachi’s illustrations, and the publisher was Kadokawa. Both whom ended up working on Pompo — Adachi as character designer, which many of you might know his work as the character designer of Sword Art Online and Kadokawa went on to become the main financial backer for the film.

This one is a knockout as a cinematic experience—I really hope that this film garners enough attention because Pompo is the exact kind of film that reminds me that animation works like this one especially when the film’s story holds a variety of influences (much like the TV series Space Dandy held onto) isn’t a normal trend in the industry much anymore. You can really get a sense of how Hirao’s creative freedom was brought on by his predecessor Satoshi Kon. Pompo in my opinion, carries that same level of energy—a sharpness in the quick thick lines and then in the next few frames some of the film’s main characters specifically Gene and Nathalie Woodward contain wacky and very stylish expressions. Considering how well edited this film is and one has to wonder if Hirao is very much Gene himself. The animation doesn’t shine as much as series like Demon Slayer from UFOTABLE or Jujutsu aisen from MAPPA because it’s on a vastly different level—creatively open and unique. A seamless flow of well timed cutting and framing that is obtuse and well-crafted. Perpetuating the flair of this series bombastic and wildly aggressive animated integrity. The film is also complemented with stellar voice acting— establishing the central focal point that its conveying to the audience. Achieving your dreams and capturing the moments that matter.

In the story, Gene is set on making THE film that will make this happen however he doesn’t want to outshine his mentor—-Pompo. She’s an active and highly rated film director and producer that had made her mark with films of wide acclaim (carrying dozens of American and Japanese tropes in its commercialized marketing). The nice thing about this film is it allowed the film’s director, Hirao to unleash his potential both as an animator (as during his start of his career had a tough experience at Studio Ghibli) and as a director to expand his creativity resulting in a film that is messy, cheerful, bleak, and empowering—a story centered around filmmaking. The tour de force about this film is it’s attention to detail—the visual presence pays respects to classic Hollywood films that ultimately inspired the kinds of films that went on to be recognized at an academy level (Oscars, etc.).

Pompo also reminds us how tightly strict and difficult the anime industry is—much like TV anime’s Shirobako presented us a perspective on how anime gets made (in the framework of television broadcasts), this film depicts a timid editor that wants to step outside the bounds of his career and craft a story (with the help of Pompo’s writing) in order to capture that moment for audiences and in this case specifically bring the hotshot producer-writer Pompo to greater heights as both a film creative and a film cinephile. (Hence the title)

It’s extremely fitting how fourth-wall breaking Pompo the Cinephile truly is. Clocking in at 90 minutes (just as Gene’s edited film turns out to be) drives home how personal this film is about creativity within cinema. As much as I wanted this film to be longer, diving into the hearty details of film production at its core–that’s not what this film is about it. Pompo said it best when she said “directing is subjective and editing is objective”. Gene had literally been working himself to death editing a film in order to appease Pompo. I really enjoyed how it were these exhausting moments for Gene to discover he would need to add an additional scene to really capture that defining moment for the film he’s editing. Like he said, it wouldn’t be his film if he wasn’t editing it anymore. Cutting out all of the moments that didn’t matter (in a visually shonen style–slicing through the film reels with a sword) helped elevate the overarching theme centered around what was more important. He would be faced with a challenge by figuring how the film should be edited–objectively or subjectively? Cutting out those scenes with Nathalie Woodward and Martin Braddock hit home with this quite a bit. Ultimately it would be that this editing moment would help Gene to grow as an editor and Pompo acknowledging his skill but this wasn’t about him being accepted but rather what the film he was going to make in order for Pompo to relive her love of cinema as a child.

Pompo the Cinephile relies on creative passion and paying respects to the very films that inspire people to channel their own energy into works of cinema.

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS: [94/100]


On a side-note, my real life obligations have kept me busy and I have had virtually zero time to write for this blog. Hopefully this will change and I will review and as such I am looking for writers for my blog interested in writing for this site. If you are interested in tackling a series and or film(new or current) email me at beatslars@gmail.com

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