Lu Over the Wall is a Japanese fantasy animated film directed by Masaaki Yuasa, which won Cristal for Best Feature film of the Annecy International Animation Film Festival. Masaaki Yuasa has prominent personal characteristics, whose films often present surreal, scenery picture and abstract art. Lu Over the Wall illustrates a story about growth, family and environmental protection.
The story happened in a seaside town called Hinashi where residents mainly live on fishing. The residents who live in Hinashi Town spread a legend about mermaid eating human. High school student Kai move back to Hinashi Town starting new life with his father and grandfather after divorce of parents. Kai has complex feelings with his family, thus, he often performs depressed. Only when he creates the music, his emotion can relieve. One night, when Kai practice song, a young mermaid named Lu is attracted by his song. Soon after, Lu and Kai become friends. However, when Lu is discovered by the residents, a part of the residents is touched by innocent dance and song of Lu but another part of the residents think that the mermaid is symbol of death and disaster. With the development of the story, the relationship between residents and mermaids is changing. Eventually, the mermaids and the residents defend disaster together, therefore, the residents solve their misunderstanding of the mermaid and the mermaids all disappear after disaster.
The whole story is complete and logical. In addition to Kai’s main storyline, there are many hidden storylines such as the divorce of Kai’s parents, grandfather and early death of his mother, the contradiction between Yuho’s father and grandfather and grandmother against the mermaids. Kai’s main storyline and these hidden storylines constitute a complete story and abundant emotional experience for audiences. Although the film present abundant emotion, overall, the emotional foundation of the story is relaxing and positive. Moreover, the climax of the story focuses on the salvation rather than hurt. Thus, it can be seen that the themes of the story are positive and happy.
However, because of bright and relaxing story the rhythm of story is slightly quick. Quick rhythm lead to the problems of characterization. For example, in the film, Kai’s attitude and mind change many times without any hints. Kai rejects to save Lu when Lu is caught by Yuho’s father only because he listens to broadcast. In addition, the reason why young mermaid Lu like human and desire to be friends with human is not told, even Lu’s inner workings are not described. Nevertheless, other characters’ shape is successful. From Kai’s grandfather to announcer of the town, Masaaki Yuasa give them different sides. As I mentioned previously, the development of the story is around the growth of Kai. Kai found what he loves and his true heart through meeting with Lu. I believe that the thing that Masaaki Yuasa want to tell audience is always pursuing your heart through Kai and other characters in the film.