Hold on tight and discover the magic of memories! A vibrantly animated blend of Japanese folklore and storybook charm reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland, Production I.G's award-winning feature-length romp will amaze both the young and the young at heart.
16-year-old Haruka is on a mission to find her mirror - a precious childhood gift from her mother that mysteriously disappeared. While following a strange foxlike creature in the woods, she tumbles into a mystical world where once-cherished toys and treasures go when their owners neglect them. Join Haruka and her new friend Teo on a roller coaster ride of adventure as they contend with the island's greedy ruler - who wants the mirror for his own evil plan!
The feature Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror
(2009) received favorable notice and some awards on the international festival circuit. Haruka, a 16-year-old high school freshman, feels her hard-working father has neglected her since her mother died. She's also troubled by the loss of the hand mirror her mother left her. Remembering a children's book she had about fox spirits who take things humans neglect, Haruka visits the local shrine and prays for the return of her mirror. At the shrine, she sees Teo, an odd creature in a fox mask, steal her key ring. Haruka follows him into an underground world inhabited by strange beings who live amid discarded objects. The search for the mirror leads Haruka and Teo to the castle of the fey Baron who rules the island. During their adventures, Haruka and Teo learn they are not the living equivalent of discarded objects: they love and are loved. Oblivion Island
has considerable charm, but it also has problems. The filmmakers never really explain who and what Teo is, and Haruka spends a lot of time fussing. Director-cowriter Shinsuke Sato has previously worked in live action, and the endless possibilities CG animation offers seem to have dazzled him. The scenes of Haruka's children's book have an appealing simplicity the rest of the film lacks: Oblivion Island is so overloaded with bright colors and odd shapes, the viewer's eye gets lost in the welter of details. There are also too many elaborate roller coaster rides through the complex backgrounds, a problem that may remind some viewers of Blue Sky's Robots
(2005). But Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror
offers more visual imagination than many bigger-budget features, and Sato's next film should be even more interesting. (Rated TV G: some mildly scary situations, minor violence and alcohol use) --Charles Solomon