I stumbled across something extraordinary one day while wandering through Anime News Network…
…there’s this 19-minute movie called The Moon That Fell Into the Sea (Umi ni Ochita Tsuki no Hanashi), directed…and almost everything else…by a guy called Akira Oda. It won the 2014 Noburo Oofuji Award, which is how I found out about it. Coincidentally, in 2013 the same award was taken out by Combustible (Hi no Youjin) from Short Peace, which I remember not being particularly impressed by compared to Possessions (Tsukumo).
Moon accomplishes quite a bit in its tiny runtime. So if you thought the talking pinecone from YuruCamp was your jam, this is definitely something to fill in a short gap of boredom.
Basically the name explains itself – the moon falls into the sea and it can’t get back up, all the while enlisting sea creatures on its quest back into the sky – but even though the animation is simple and flat, there’s an almost Disney- or Pixar-like charm to it that evokes the idea of papercraft…plus I like turtles, so a turtle’s inclusion was a bonus point.
The moon itself talks to these sea creatures about things like the concept of the world turtle in mythology, which makes this short edutainment in a way that doesn’t feel preachy or particularly scary. This, added to the animation of the moon’s flickering light as it talks, combines a sense of whimsy with a subtle tinge of melancholy…particularly where the anglerfish warns the moon of the shark and then a shark arrives, only to discuss how a shark can’t stop swimming or else it will die. The moon also rolls around like a ball, and it’s suggested how seals and penguins would play with it if it were in the Antarctic, which adds to an overall sense of “cute”.
The only sticking points I can see anyone having with it are that 1) it’s too short and you want an entire series of it, or 2) it seems too much like Western works (which is, as mentioned previously, more of a strength than a weakness in regards to charm).
If you’re not burnt out on cuteness by the winter season, take this brief anime on for size. Sure, you can’t find it on many anime-archiving sites, let alone the internet in general, but here it is on YouTube with English and French subtitles:
To tell you the truth, I was going to save this post for April, but I’m currently on a writing roll and all the YuruCamp references are going to become irrelevant in a month or two. Also, I wanted to try embedding a YouTube video into a post for once, instead of relying on hyperlinks. So, what do you think of it?