Directed by: Haoling Li, Yoshitaka Takeuch, Xiaoxing Yi
Written by: Tyler Rhoads (English translation)
Starring: George Ackles, Taito Ban, Dorothy Elias-Fahn (English Dub)
Run-Time: 1h 14min
Genre: Amination, Drama
Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Three different stories of youth set in different cities of China. (IMDb)
This is one of those films that regularly finds itself in my Netflix recommendations. I knew that I would eventually break down and watch it… and I was surprised when I finally did. Sadly, not in a good way.
This film is a collection of short films, three to be exact. All follow themes relating to growing up. The stories themselves are the true highlight as they are relatable and heartwarming. The first, “The Rice Noodles,” is probably the best with its tear-jerking storyline. “A Little Fashion Show” falls short due to a lack of nuance. Conflict in this particular story felt forced, and the characters reacted unnaturally. “Love in Shanghai,” the final story, manages to land somewhere in the middle with a familiar story of young love that unfolds just as you’d expect it to. There is an end-credit scene as well, but it does little more than show the geographic relationship of the stories.
With such lacklustre storytelling, you would hope it would at least be paired with stunning animation. Sadly, this film fails to deliver yet again… The animation is disappointingly average, honestly barely so at times. The only memorable scene is at the beginning of “The Rice Noodles,” depicting the titular noodles being prepared. Otherwise, there isn’t anything that sets this film apart from those like it.
In the end, this film just felt like a waste of time. So little about it is memorable; I’m sure there are similar pieces that achieve what this film set out to do but with much more… elegance.