Sumikko Gurashi Movie 2: Aoi Tsukiyo no Mahou no Ko
Medium: film
Year: 2021
Director: Takahiro Omori
Writer: Reiko Yoshida
Keywords: anime, fantasy
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 64 minutes
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=24299
Website category: Anime 2021
Review date: 22 February 2024
Sumikko Gurashi movie 2
It's less impressive than the first Sumikko Gurashi movie, but still pretty good. Obviously, that's in the context of a kiddie show where the cast are cute, mute, genderless and almost spherical. They also have tiny limbs that make their Tyrannosaurus Rex arms look like breasts. The target audience is about six years old. (I nearly said four, but the Sumikko's "dialogue" is still delivered as onscreen text that might be slightly challenging for some pre-school children.)
I liked it, though.
This one's about wizards. There's a world of wizards that can only cross over with ours once every five years, when there's a full moon. Hang on. Only once every five years? There must be magical condition(s) beyond the full moon, then. These wizards also have fangs and bat wings, which made me think of vampires even before considering the additional factors of "only comes at night" and "can turn living beings into other bat-winged magic flying wizards".
If I had video editing software to hand, I'd probably do a fan edit of this movie with footage from Hammer vampire films. Or even The Curse of Fenric, since the vampire wizards fly to our world in Viking longships.
Anyway, the movie's theme involves dreams. "I heard that once every five years, on the night of the full moon, wizards will come and make your dreams come true." (Guess what kind of footage I'd splice in there.) Also, there's a baby vampire wizard who's rubbish at magic and will get stranded in our world with the Sumikko, as an equivalent of the first film's Grey Duckling (except with less emotional power).
This is quite good. We get another look at the Sumikko's strange dreams, which for those two leftover food items still include wanting to get eaten. What kind of crazy person puts that in a children's franchise? (Answer: someone in Japan.) When Baby Vampire Wizard makes the Sumikko's dreams disappear, thinking he's doing good, this prompts everyone to try to rediscover their dreams and what they really want. Result: End-Of-Tonkatsu lies on a plate with lettuce and tomatoes as his friends put delicious sauce on him. What the hell? And to think I used to boggle at Anpanman. We also see End-Of-Tonkatsu and Fried-Shrimp-Tail with cute cartoon snakes trying ineffectually to swallow their legs, which is clearly an insufficient substitute for the devouring they desire.
This is bonkers... but I approve of bonkers. (See also the claw hook from the ceiling that's now graduated to snatching other Sumikko, not just Penguin-Who's-Clearly-A-Kappa.) Also, the Sumikko themselves remain amusing. I laughed at the Sumikko hula dance, while I liked the emotional angle of Tokage and its Loch Ness Monster mother.
In some ways, it's a better put-together movie than the first film. Its plot's more coherent. It doesn't dissolve into a mosaic of disconnected riffs on classic children's literature. You can actually watch it as a narrative without having to whack yourself in the head from time to time. It's not as good, but it's still a million times better than you'd expect from something like this. Not a bad franchise at all.