It destroyed me. I'd seen it all before in the TV series, but I was shocked all over again. I was cringing in horror at about the 15-20 minute mark, then later I was floored by the emotional power of what happened with Nanachi and Mitty. It's one of 2019's strongest movies, animated or live-action. After all, we're following child heroes in a world of whale-sized monsters, incomprehensible body horror and armour-piercing poison fangs.
THIS MOVIE: 106 minutes, again including two brief original scenes. The rest all comes from...
CORRESPONDING TV EPISODES: #9-13, i.e. 128 story minutes after discounting opening and closing credits. (Episode 13 is double-length.) A few scenes have been deleted for the compilation movie, but not much.
It's still beautiful. The Ghibli homage becomes explicit with Nanachi, whose silhouette reminds me of Ghilbi's mascot. The cinema is probably the right place to watch this story. The Abyss is terrifying, but also magical and Miyazaki-esque. Nanachi's house has his friend's face. It's also still charming. It's funny, e.g. the cooking, but it can turn the comedy upside-down to become moving character moments. Nanachi's never eaten good food. Look at his face when he eventually tastes some.
We see Bondrewd, who was mentioned in passing in the first movie. He's worse than we thought. (That sentence is guaranteed to be true, no matter what you were thinking. Jesus. He'll be back in the next movie.)
What makes this film so powerful is its tonal range. It stars cute, adorable children... who discuss the difference between severing your friend's arm at the elbow and smashing the bone in order to preserve a bit more of the limb. That discussion isn't academic, by the way. Medicine gets inserted rectally. Asking another child not to commit suicide elicits a quiet response of "you're cruel". Survival is not the default assumption. And, of course, the film's also beautiful.
It's brilliant. I'm a bit afraid of what movie #3 will do to me, but not watching it isn't an option.