content by

René Walling

Of childhood, memories and foxes: Oblivion Island

Production I.G. is best known for producing Mamoru Oshii’s films (Ghost in the Shell, The Sky Crawlers) as well as working on groundbreaking works like Tekkon Kinkreet, FLCL and Batman Gotham Knight. One of the things they’re well know for is their innovative use of computers for compositing and effects. Oblivion Island : Haruka and the Magic Mirror (ホッタラケの島 〜遥と魔法の鏡) is their first fully computer animated film and it doesn’t disappoint.

Haruka is a 16 year old teen who lives alone with her often absent workaholic father, her mother having passed away when she was younger. At that time, the young Haruka, following a story her mother had read to her, had prayed at a shrine to spirits who return lost things, offering eggs and asking for her mother to be brought back.

One day, Haruko remembers a mirror that her mother gave her and that she has since lost. She decides to go to the shrine and offer an egg to get the mirror back. Accidentally, she spies a small creature with a fox mask and follows it to a strange place called Oblivion Island where she will attempt to find her mother’s lost mirror.

[Crossover to Oblivion Island and reflect on the past (and future spoilers) after the fold]

Long distance calls: Voices of a Distant Star

Mikako and Noboru are high school friends in 2047. Aliens— called Tarsians—are at war with humanity and Mikako is drafted and sent into space as a Tracer (mecha) pilot while her friend Noboru stays on Earth. They keep in touch via text messages on their cell phones, but as Mikako’s assigned ship, the Lysithea, brings her further and further away from Earth—first training on Mars, then assignments near Jupiter and on the fringes of the solar system and, eventually, a different star system—the messages take longer and longer to get to their destination, until eventually the 15 year old Mikako wishes happy birthday to the 24 year old Noboru.

[You won’t have to wait nine years to read what’s after the jump]