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A sudden mood to watch a new film came upon me this evening, so here’s the first Twenty Days: Anime Movies post in six months.  I will finish this series of posts eventually!

Junkers Come Here (1994) directed by Junichi Sato [1] is an odd piece of film, a mix of the stress of a possibly broken home with Be Careful What You Wish For, and an subdued graphical style.

The Situation

Hiromi Nozawa is a 6th grader who almost never sees her parents.  Her mother is an executive at a major hotel, her father directs TV advertisements all over the world.

It has been nearly 6 years since the last time the family was together at the same time, a trip to the beach with a 5 year old Hiromi. A photo, and her hair clips, from that trip are enshrined in a music box as Hiromi’s most important possessions.

There is a housekeeper and a live in tutor who do most of the work of raising Hiromi.

Oh, and her dog Junkers can talk and can grant three wishes.

The Story

The 11 year old Hiromi is essentially broken inside and hiding it from her parents. One of the ways it emerges is as a crush on her tutor Daisuke, and raging jealousy when Hiromi discovers that Daisuke is engaged to a puppeteer named Yoko.

Combined with the ability to have wishes granted, followed by deep guilt, this nearly ends badly.

Set against a background of a possible divorce and a promotion for Hiromi’s mother to manage a hotel in San Francisco, the story hits nearly every parental abandonment and/or divorce trope imaginable.

The Solution

The story is neatly wrapped up at the end with a responsible use of the third wish as no more than a means for Hiromi to honestly tell, and show, her parents her broken heart.  This also means that there is a sense of realism to the ending: instead of fixing all the problems the family achieves a workable compromise that they can at least live with.

The Style

The film is done with fairly realistic character designs but with a subdued, almost pastel like, palette. It is a suitable choice for the subject matter and works quite well in context.

The Summary

All the pieces are there for this to be good, even a great film, and yet it somehow left me cold.  I’m honestly not sure why this might be.

My best guess, right after watching it, is that the first and second acts do too good a job of hiding how broken Hiromi is.  It is one thing to hide it from her parents, but hiding it so effectively from the audience made it harder for me to care for Hiromi.

Another possibility is that I was expecting something like a Pretear or an ARIA and was thrown off by the different style of film.

Overall I think that, critically at least, there’s a lot to be said for Junkers Come Here but it just didn’t work for me. I do recommend taking at least one look at it, and it is available locally in Australia on DVD.

Day 1 – New Kimagure Orange Road: Summer’s Beginning (1996)
Day 2 – Naruto Shippuden The Movie (2002)
Day 3 – Galaxy Express 999 (1979)
Day 4 – Steamboy (2004)
Day 5 – Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer (1984)
Day 6 – Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)
Day 7 – Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)
Day 8 – Ah! My Goddess: The Movie (2000)
Day 9 – Summer Wars (2009)
Day 10 – Macross: Do You Remember Love? (1984)
Day 11 – Silent Mobius I (1991) & II (1992)
Day 12 – Space Firebird 2772 (1980)
Day 13 – Junkers Come Here (1994)
Day 14 – ???
Day 15 – ???
Day 16 – ???
Day 17 – ???
Day 18 – ???
Day 19 – ???
Day 20 – ??

 



[1] Director of Pretear and ARIA among such other minor titles as Sailor Moon.