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Liz and the Blue Hen – All of the Anime

By Andrew Osmond.


Liz and the Blue Hen was launched in Japan in April 2018, lower than two years after A Silent Voice. It was a super movie for uniting two units of viewers; those that’d grow to be conscious of Naoko Yamada via A Silent Voice, and those that cherished the collection she’d been concerned with beforehand, similar to Ok-ON! and Sound! Euphonium.

These viewers overlapped anyway, however Liz feels each modern and populist. It usually tells its emotional story without having for phrases, however its quiet depth is leavened by cute moments and scenes that commemorate day by day life, issues that have been moderately missing in Silent Voice. In contrast to that movie, Liz isn’t a narrative about guilt, however about longing and craving, the implications of a teen needing to develop, and about how two buddies could also be terribly shut whereas crucially misunderstanding each other.

These buddies are ladies, Mizore, who’s the subdued viewpoint character, and Nozomi. They’re each of their highschool band, and recognised as amongst its high abilities. Mizore performs the oboe and Nozomi the flute. The band’s present undertaking is a musical piece referred to as Liz and the Blue Hen, which includes a duet the place the characters are represented by an oboe and flute respectively. It ought to be preferrred for the 2 ladies, however Mizore has points with the piece, sure up together with her emotional life.


For Mizore loves Nozomi, and is compelled to think about the music piece of a mirrored image of their relationship. Mizore has by no means confessed her emotions to her pal, who treats her with a heat and fondness that Mizore treasures. However they’re now each of their final yr of college, and their future is unsure. At one level, Nozomi sees Mizore’s brochure a couple of music college, and says she may apply there too. However is she being critical, or have any consciousness what that will imply for her pal?

The ladies are gentle and shadow. Nozomi is the favored, cheerful woman, Mizore the silent, unsmiling kind, but her sombre expressions and glances counsel a bottomless effectively. Mizore has affinities with one other character animated by Kyoto Animation in the identical yr as Liz, Violet Evergarden.

Liz’s virtually wordless first minutes paint the ladies’ relationship exquisitely. Mizore waits for Nozomi exterior college on a misty morning, visibly struggling for composure. Her eyes tremble liquidly, she clenches her fists and kicks out her toes. Then Nozomi arrives smiling, her ponytail swaying like a metronome; she’s light-footed, fully at her ease.

The subsequent minutes present the ladies strolling via college, Mizore hanging behind Nozomi, out of step together with her idol in a manner that’s exquisitely poignant. Cartoon followers may consider the mushroom dance in Disney’s Fantasia, with the little mushroom beguilingly out of time together with his taller friends. The Liz sequence is accompanied by a cascading piano by Kensuke Ushio, very in step with his Silent Voice work.


Liz and the Blue Hen is considered one of a number of anime movies of the 2010s that centred ladies’ romantically-tinged insecurities. In 2015, there was the chronically repressed heroine of Anthem of the Coronary heart, written by Mari Okada. The identical yr, one of many kooky ladies in Shunji Iwai’s The Case of Hana and Alice is petrified that she’s finished one thing horrible to her ex-boyfriend. A yr earlier, Ghibli’s When Marnie Was There was based mostly on a British ebook; it’s one other story of a quiet reserved woman falling in love together with her extrovert, laughing soulmate.

As with Marnie, some viewers of Liz shall be infuriated that the protagonist – on this case Mizore – isn’t explicitly confirmed as homosexual. This challenge goes far wider than Liz; there have been comparable arguments in regards to the anime movie Venture A-Ko three many years in the past.  The debut Sound! Euphonium novel, which created the “world” the place Liz is ready, was equally non-committal. “Live performance bands have been a particular place,” creator Ayano Takeda wrote within the first pages.

“The ratio of ladies to boys was often round 9 to 1, however strictly talking, it was usually much more lopsided than that. So it was not unusual for ladies to finish up idolizing somebody of their very own gender. The objects of such infatuated gazes – gazes that have been a lot too fervid to be interpreted as easy envy – tended to both radiate pure femininity or possess a boyish stylishness.”


On display, nevertheless, the facility of Mizore’s longing gaze far outweighs Takeda’s commentary, which was dropped by Kyoto Animation anyway. The studio first took on Takeda’s books in a 2015 TV collection additionally referred to as Sound! Euphonium, directed by Yamada and Tatsuya Ishihara. Tonally, the collection is very completely different from Liz. It’s about the identical music membership, however highlights different characters – Mizore and Nozomi are barely glimpsed in season one. The collection is a standard (although glorious) leisure, a mixture of comedy and drama with out the depth that Liz takes from Silent Voice… although the collection additionally has an evocative bond between two ladies.

A second Sound! Euphonium season adopted in 2016, the place Mizore and Nozomi have been launched correctly, although they have been nonetheless solely help characters. Each seasons have been compiled into movies (2016 and 2017), adopted by a movie sequel in 2019, subtitled Our Promise: A Model New Day.


Nonetheless, Liz purposefully stands other than the remainder of the franchise. You may examine it to the 1979 anime movie Citadel of Cagliostro; it was a part of the infinite Lupin franchise, however was a really distinct model of Lupin, romanticised by director Hayao Miyazaki. In Liz, the characters from the “important” Sound! Euphonium collection are themselves diminished to bit-parts; as an example, collection heroine Kumiko and her soulmate Reina are glimpsed via a window, practising collectively.

However as famous earlier, Liz additionally has cute interludes the place different ladies within the band are proven chatting over day by day trivia. In addition to lightening the movie, these moments present a bridge between Liz and Kyoto Animation’s previous collection, together with Sound! Euphonium itself. Then there are the movie’s “story in a narrative” scenes, through which Mizore reads a picture-book model of Liz and the Blue Hen. These scenes are painted in brilliant fairy-tale colors, paying homage to the outdated World Masterpiece Theatre anime serials like Anne of Inexperienced Gables within the Nineteen Seventies. The story itself appears easy… although one level of Liz is that completely different individuals, relating the story to their very own lives, can learn it in fully alternative ways.

Andrew Osmond is the creator of 100 Animated Function Movies. Liz and the Blue Hen is launched within the UK by Anime Restricted.



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