The frog at the bottom of a well doesn't know the vastness of the sea, but it does know the blueness of the sky ~ Akane
Blue is loved. Does it know how much it is loved? It's everywhere in anime. The skies, the waters — especially Makoto Shinkai waters — it is there in the eyes that shimmer in dreams and in the hair that make characters appear cool. Blue is everywhere and I could never have enough of it.
Her Blue Sky is an ode to the blueness of the world. It is about experiencing first love for the second time. It is about a trio reconciling with decisions that they made in the past, realising what they had is no longer there, and gathering regrets along the way in hopes of finally moving on.
From the creators of Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day and produced by Cloverwork Studios, Her Blue Sky employs the same inventive artistry to tell a story of loss and indecision that makes us who we are. Or who we are not.
Her Blue Sky, rated 7.5 on MyAnimeList, revolves around the aspiring bassist Aoi and her sister Akane. After the death of their parents, Akane decides to take care of her sister and gives up on moving to Tokyo with her boyfriend Shinnosuke.
Shinnosuke reluctantly shifts to Tokyo alone to pursue his dream of becoming a professional guitarist. Thirteen years later, high schooler Aoi wants to follow in his footsteps and move out so that Akane doesn't have to keep sacrificing her dreams for her.
Aoi remains determined, that is until an 18-year-old "Shinno" appears as a "living spirit" trapped in a guest house while the successful but drunkard 31-year-old Shinnosuke returns to the town for an enka gig. "Shinno" and Aoi assume that if Shinnosuke and Akane fall in love again, Shinno's spirit may finally become free. Thus, they hatch a plan.
We later discover that Aoi has always been hopelessly in love with Shinno and Shinno learns that the reason he's trapped in that room maybe for some other reason altogether.
Her Blue Sky is a work of stunning visuals and poetic direction. The blues are really blue and everything else is of the right shade. The rotoscope animation is nowhere choppy and very emotive and fluid.
Whether one takes the “living spirit” thing literally or metaphorically, I find it satisfying, especially the ending animation which tends to put off people who’re gruff about fantasy rules, magic systems and consistency and all that jazz.
The score is melancholic and heartwarming. Gandara is the perfect soundtrack, although the anime barely capitalizes on its potential. For an anime musical, there is very little musical closure and some of the most important scenes are conveyed through the end credits instead.
I understand this can be chalked off as a creative decision, but it surely leaves me hanging. It’s disappointing that an anime about a band is musically stale.
The characters are lovable but may be easily misunderstood by viewers who are looking for chemistry. The characters don't have any chemistry because they're not supposed to have it.
Because they lost it and they're now figuring out what and where it went wrong and if it’s worth it at all. Her Blue Sky isn’t a story about old flames, but a coming-of-age fantasy narrative about confronting repressed feelings.
There is significant character development for Aoi and Shinnosuke. Aoi’s growth is remarkable, while Shinnosuke’s may be quite predictable. "Shinno" of course had the biggest impact on the plot.
His presence as a spirit not only made Aoi come to terms with her feelings but also allowed Shinnosuke to understand the kind of life he left behind and if it was worth it.
But aside from the two main characters, there is little development of the other characters, even for Akane who plays a major role in the film. Nonetheless, the way the film dealt with Akane and Aoi's distinct ways of coping with regrets and grief is remarkable.
Her Blue Sky is a film that I will surely be returning to, if not for the characters, then for all the blueness it offers.