Sunday, August 12, 2012

Review: Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror

Every now and then you get surprised by something that is really good, I mean way past expectations. Seems that is happening to me more and more with what I would call, High Concept Anime. Most often in the feature length versions, but not always.

I was recently notified by list that a new animated anime feature was available called Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror". If you enjoyed the lovely anime feature "Spiriting Away" then you really have to take a look at "Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror". Oblivion is a 2009 Japanese computer-animated film directed by Shinsuke Sato. It was produced in commemoration of Fuji Television's 50th anniversary.

I am not a great fan of computer animation, mainly because it gives the characters a somewhat plastic look as apposed to the hand drawn version which I consider more pleasing to the eye.

That being said, the movie is every bit as fast paced and environment rich as say Spirited Away. The premise of the movie is that forgotten or otherwise lost items are collected by the fox god.

A young girl missing her mother and feeling unloved, asks for the return of her mother's long lost hand mirror. Soon she finds herself in a small shrine, where through misadventure manages to witness this very same fox god "collecting" items.

Following him, she finds herself thrust into a world of small creatures who build their world with the collected detritus from the human world.

Our main character Haruka soon discovers that this world is ruled by someone called the Barron who in fact has the very mirror she wants returned. The balance of the movie follows Haruka as she and one of the "foxes" as she attempts to regain the mirror and in the balance foil his plans of destruction.

You might not get the same feel of rich legend that Spirited Away provided, but it is clear that the movie's plot and characterizations are rooted in Japanese mythology and a lot of respect was given to the legends that helped formulate the plot.

As far as animated features go, this film I think exemplifies the art-form without being pedantic, so in it's class I would give it a 9 with the drawback of the slightly plastic look to the graphics. I would say that it is well worth tracking down. I found it on YouTube, check it out.

Wikipedia article on Oblivion can be seen HERE


kallamis said...

How did I miss this one? Well, another one to go find, thanks man.

Beam Me Up said...

It's all cool. And here is even more fun...I found it on YouTube under Funimation. I subscribe to their posts and up came this 50th year tribute. If you go to and imput this address -

you should be able to catch the whole feature as I did.