I just stumbled upon this title on a quick google search to see what I could watch next on my Anime journey. The title instantly had me intrigued. I usually do a bit of reading before I watch a series or a movie but somehow for this one, I didn't feel the need to. I instantly knew this was something I wanted to watch. It’s almost as if the movie was calling out to me.
Flavours of Youth is a compilation of three very distinct stories that somehow have this hint of nostalgia binding them together. All three seem to be based out of China and have different characters and storylines of course, but there’s a sense of melancholy that runs deep. Each story talks about this longing for childhood and all that it taught us.
The Rice Noodles
The Rice Noodles is the first story. It’s about this boy who enjoys a bowl of San Xian Noodles every day. How those noodles teach him to slow down and enjoy life. How he has this amazing bond with his grandmother over a bowl of food. He considers himself lucky because he lives right next door to this noodle shop.
The noodles there happen to be the best and people come from all around to enjoy that bowl of yummy. It’s truly beautiful to watch how a bowl of noodles makes this little boy overfilled with joy. How they are made with so much love and just like that, received with all that love too. How he makes sure he enjoys each flavor.
Even as he grows up and moves 2.5 hours from home, he misses the noodles he enjoyed most as a child. The love of handmade noodles could not be replaced by perfectly made machine noodles.
The Little Fashion Show
The second story is a tale of two sisters, who now live together after the passing of their parents. The older sister, Yi Lin is a model, although she feels like she won’t be able to complete in the fashion world long enough. Lulu, the younger one is thankful for her sister but also feels slightly abandoned by her and her career. She strives and sews and wishes for her clothes to be out there one day.
It’s a beautiful tale that tells us to open our hearts and know what we are capable of. It also shows us how the people who love us, always come around and how important it is to not take them for granted.
Lulu graduates and opens her clothing line and her sister Yi Lin continues to model, only happier than before this time. And every once in a while, they do a little fashion show of their own at home.
The third story in Flavours of Youth is a beautiful love story. One that is filled with pure, innocent love. It’s about three friends Pam, Li Mo, and Xiao Yu. They’re in their teenage years and Li Mo and Xiao Yu seem to like each other.
It's the kind where they are very fond of each other, take care of each other but they don’t act on it. The cutest bit is where they pass on tapes to each other with recorded messages in between class notes. Reminds me of how back in school we’d pass on little chits around.
This one basically talks about love, passion and not having regrets. Because they didn’t act on it back in school and Li Mo didn’t listen to her last tape he feels like he missed out on his chance at love. So he decides to listen to this tape and that rekindles this spark and as destiny would have it, so does she.
Years later, she shows up and in an instant he recognizes her. She’s his sunflower because her presence brings out the sun on a rainy day.
I like stories that talk about love and light a fire within us. The way the boy in the first story talked about noodles, totally had my heart. The little bits about the flavors of the broth and the texture of the noodles.
How in the second story the little girl Lulu helps her sister break free and achieves her own goals. How in the third story the two of them care for each other and how beautifully that’s been translated visually. I absolutely loved it. What I loved more than the storyline was the animation. I knew there was something special about this movie when I read that title, I'm glad I wasn’t wrong.