Goodbye, Don Glees!
Three boys- Roma Kamogawa (Roma), Hokuto Mitarai ("Toto"), and Shizuku Sokuma ("Drop") are the Don Glees, a club of misfits who are scorned by their peers. They resolve to have their own summer fireworks show (since they'd be harassed if they attended with others), but they end up being accused online of starting a forest fire that occurred shortly after the festival. Believing that an errant drone they sent up might have video proof of their innocence, they set out to recover the drone, lost somewhere deep in the woods.
This is the first feature film from Atsuko Ishizuka, the director of the TV series A Place Further Than The Universe, and it shares many of the themes of the director's earlier work: that one should find one's own path, and not necessarily follow the one insisted on by friends or even family; that one should not be afraid to go into unfamiliar territory ("Have you only walked on tracks that were already laid down?"), with the specific objective of finding your greatest desire at the end. ("Your treasure", says Drop. Roma's "treasure", which he has been reluctant to pursue, is his crush/muse, a girl named Tivoli Urayasu who he met briefly some time back, but who has become quite a world traveler. As we might ALSO expect from Ishizuka's earlier work, this one also reflects a love of travel to exotic (though often more or less desolate) places, but HERE you'll only get that toward the end of the show.)
Boys traveling through the woods in search of something does recall the film Stand By Me, and Ishizuka, in an interview included in the video package, does acknowledge that influence. The heart of the show is of course the interactions between the three boys, as they quarrel a little, cry (a surprisingly large amount of THAT for teenage boys), and, as you might expect, bond more with each other. (Most of the quarreling is between Drop, who wants to lead the way even when he's not sure what the way IS, and Toto, who's easily frustrated with that sort of uncertainty, with Roma attempting to mediate- even though Roma, in maybe a thoughtless moment, at one point himself describes Toto as "whining".)
I've got a pretty long list of specific questions/observations on this one:
-The boys' camp, where they were going to set off their own fireworks, was nowhere near where the fire actually started, so whatever rumors the Don Glees' opponents started about them, I didn't see how fire investigators could ever conclude they were responsible.
-I HATE Product Placement in a show, but it's very much HERE, alas.
-We'll find out where the peculiar name Don Glees comes from. It's NOT, as is made clear in the show itself, from the Japanese word donguri (acorn).
- Concerning the show's main two gags, I don't really see how they could have successfully pulled off either of those actions- and ONE of the situations was potentially fatal.
-I'm pretty sure a bug's flight will NOT leave a visible streak on a photo at typical daylight camera shutter speeds.
-On the other hand, Drop's comment, "The Sun's setting earlier than it should in summer", is exactly right, considering where he WAS, versus where he is NOW.
- I never understood why Roma (who has the most "balanced" personality of the three) was considered such a loser by his peers. I mean, yes, his dad does farming, but the show seems to be set in a rural community, so that shouldn't even be that rare.
-It's been a long time since I've even seen a pay phone, but I don't remember any that displayed Caller ID. Even if they DID, this aspect of the story seemed to me to require something between incredible coincidence and magical realism (and I had to watch the show twice to understand exactly what happened there.) Ishizuka, by the way, says that phone booth in the middle of the wilderness is a real thing.
-I suppose the background art is very good- when you can SEE it. The show mostly seems to take place at night.
-Need I say the Rec was obvious?
Well, they say creative people with brilliant breakthrough works often have trouble making the magic happen again. Don Glees is not bad at all- it's better than maybe 90% of what's currently out there in the anime world- but compared to A Place Further Than The Universe, I didn't find its trio of boys as personally engaging as the quartet of girls, it's not as substantial as Ishizuka's earlier effort, and the plot holes gave me fits. — Allen Moody
Recommended Audience: MPAA Rating PG. Mild violence and peril
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD/Blu-Ray
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Goodbye, Don Glees! © 2022 Madhouse, Goodbye, Don Glees Partners Group.
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