2. Tokyo Marble Chocolate (2007)

Very sweet, but … there’s no chocolate in this movie…

Directed by: Naoyoshi Shiotani
Written by: Masaya Ozaki
Starring: (the voices of) Marina Inoue, Mitsuo Iwata, Nana Mizuki, Takahiro Sakurai.

Japanese animations can turn stories of epic proportions and light simplicity into beautifully detailed works of art that feel and look like no other. In doing so, the animations open up visually exciting possibilities with unlimited movement and colourful textures that create vivid, imaginative worlds filled with eccentric creatures and characters.

More of this please.

Taking the simple romantic story of a boy and his girlfriend, Tokyo Marble Chocolate plays with perspectives, distinctive characters and abstract representations of the mixed emotions one can go through when love has you scared. But as sweet as the story is, Tokyo Marble Chocolate doesn’t push its creative potential to the heights it could have reached if it had had a more compelling story.

Divided into the two perspectives of Yudai (Takahiro Sakurai) and Chizuru (Nana Mizuki), Tokyo Marble Chocolate cleverly weaves two stories of the same situation to show the fears, thoughts and feelings of lovers lost in different insecurities and memories. When these emotive experiences are expressed in unreal and bizarre bursts of animated awesomeness, Tokyo Marble Chocolate taps into the innovative and exciting space that only animation can fill. But when left to the devices of the real world, the only thing shaking things up is a mini donkey, complete with nappy and green mohawk, letting all the vibrance and excitement of earlier moments slowly melt into an ending that lacks much meaning or significance. Movies like these always seem to leave the question: So what?

Nevertheless, Tokyo Marble Chocolate is magical with a subtlety that doesn’t need fancy shmancy colours and pixie dust in order to be charming and romantic. Even if that involves a crazy-looking donkey by your side.


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