Long time readers of this site will probably remember I am not the biggest fan of dystopians- particularly of the YA variety. I find they often have little to teach besides cynicism and I don’t really need that in my art- I get enough of it when I watch the news! The one exception to this rule is in my animated films- particularly anime. Movies like Akira, Ghost in the Shell and Paprika dazzle me enough in the animation and have enough hope in the narrative to win me over to the more depressing world-building.
Now you can add another anime to that list- the wonderful and underrated film from director Yusuke Hirota called Poupelle of Chimney Town. This might just be charming enough to win over people who don’t normally like anime (people I do not understand for the record).
Poupelle of Chimney Town is adapted from his own picture book by Japanese illustrator Akihiro Nishino and it has the look and feel of a steampunk fairytale. In the story Lubicchi, a young spirited boy, is determined to show everyone there is a greater world than the smoky, soot-colored world he lives in called Chimney Town.
One day he makes a friend out of literally out of trash called Poupelle who is voiced by Tony Hale in the dub who ironically has played another similar ‘trash’ character with Toy Story 4‘s Forky. The unlikely duo then go on a series of adventures including an intense incinerator scene and a roller coaster type scene through the wild steampunk world of Chimney Town.
The animation is wonderful with both the intimacy of 2D and the immersion of CGI. It draws you in from the start and never lets go. There was something about the whimsy that had a vintage quality to it- like something Don Bluth would have directed in the 80s. It’s the kind of project Dom DeLuise would have voiced back in the day.
Poupelle of Chimney Town is available on digital and on dvd/blu-ray (ad) on May 31st. Don’t miss your chance to check out this dazzlingly animated achievement!
8 out of 10
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