Streaming the first ten/twenty minutes of a film seems to be happening more and more in Japan. At first we saw it with films released by Warner Bros. Japan like Berserk and now Toei have joined the club by streaming the first twenty minutes of their new movie Rainbow-Colored Fireflies: The Eternal Summer Vacation (Niji-iro Hotaru Eien no Natsu Yasumi). This is being streamed online until the 18th of May, the day before it’s theatrical release in Japan.
The story follows a young boy named Yuuta, who lost his father in a car accident a year ago. One day, all alone, he goes to catch a beetle at a dam deep in the mountains he used to visit with his father. On his journey he meets a strange old man and it starts raining. Yuuta slips, falls off a bridge and passes out. When he wakes up he finds himself in a village that should be under water but he has travelled back 30 years in the past. With children named Saeko and Kenjo he experiences summer activities like collecting fireworks, catching a rare beetle and discovering his first love. These experiences will be part of his precious summer memories.
My initial reactions are mixed. The art direction and music are pretty atmospheric (gorgeous nature scenes, especially the rain and Yuuta search for his mobile) but the character designs left me feeling cold. I’d wager that they will grow on me over time. A look at the staff reveals a lot of industry veterans with interesting titles to their names.
This film is based on Masayuki Kawaguchi’s 2007 novel of the same name. It is directed by Konosuke Uda who helmed Galaxy Express 999: Eternal Fantasy and the recent TV anime Ginga e Kickoff!!. Adapting the story into a script is Kei Kunī. The project has character designs and animation direction from Hisashi Mori who has worked on classic movies The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Tokyo Godfathers. Takaaki Yamashita (Summer Wars) is adding visual art, and Seiki Tamura (K-ON!, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya) performing duties as art director. Yumi Matsutōya, the artist responsible for the themes to the classic Ghibli movie Kiki’s Delivery Service is providing the theme song for this film.
Staff: Konosuke Uda (Director), Masayuki Kawaguchi (Original Novelist), Kei Kunī (Script), Masataka Matsutōya (Music), Yumi Matsutōya (Theme Song Composition, Performance), Mori Hisashi (Character Design/Animation Director), Seiki Tamura (Art Director), Takaaki Yamashita (Visual Art)
Voice Actors: Akashi Takei, Ayumi Kimura, Kairo Nitta, Taro Ishida, Takahiro Sakurai, Kazuya Nakai, Chikao Otsuka
Studio: Toei Animation