Colorful is a film which unfortunately shares a name with another (rather immature sounding) anime series that it shares absolutely no other resemblance with, so don’t let any misguided Google searches put you off from this interesting little production. Colorful has one of those premises that immediately catches your eye – a lost soul, caught in the cycle of reincarnation, is given the chance to redeem himself through the task of discovering the sin he had committed in his last incarnation. To accomplish this, he will temporarily be allowed to inhabit the body of a boy, Makoto, who himself recently died through a suicide attempt.
Makoto – or rather, the soul inhabiting Makoto – at first behaves like a stranger in an unfamiliar house (which, technically, he is), but gradually starts to understand the circumstances behind Makoto’s life which led him to suicide. Upon learning these things, he at first finds himself becoming a victim of the exact same emotions and troubles which plagued Makoto prior to his suicide attempt, but gradually is able to change his ways as the film progresses. The ultimate point to which the anime leads, as one may expect, is to a sense of redemption for Makoto and the people around him. There are several threads which run throughout the film involving different characters in his life, and these threads range from being rather uninteresting (his school crush – Hiroka – in my opinion, fell under this category) to the more unique ones, such as the odd connection between Makoto and an awkward female classmate who sees him as a kindred spirit.
The film goes through all of the expected motions with a respectable degree of realism and good writing, combined with a captivating premise and acceptable ending – making it an anime that is easy to recommend as it does not suffer from any real problems. On the other hand, there remains a lingering thought in the back of my mind that there was just a tad more potential that, if it had been explored effectively, could have elevated the film to even greater heights. There is a reveal towards the end of the film that, though many will foresee, I thought was the perfect way to the end the film – yet I still had the lingering wish that the content of the film had been a little more powerful, to make that final conclusion a real “home run”.
I don’t want to give the wrong impression here – in the end, I still find Colorful to be an excellent film with a competent – but not mind-blowing- execution of its premise. But perhaps it’s because the director had so many good ideas, that I find myself wishing he could have inserted that additional level of care that elevates films to classics – a challenging thing to do, I recognize, but I see a level of talent in the film that suggests it could have been possible.
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