If you’re looking for a delightfully imperfect animated film during (or after) an alcohol-filled binge, then look no further than The Night is Short, Walk on Girl, a 2017 Japanese animated romantic-ish comedy directed by Masaaki Yuasa. And if you’re familiar with Devilman Crybaby, another directorial project by Yuasa, you’ll have had a small taste of what to also expect in this spiritual and hazy film.
The premise is as simple as the film’s title—a trio of friends embark on a night out and end up experiencing a myriad of adventures because of their heavy partying and the main character’s obsession with Ratatatam, a one-of-a-kind and special children’s book from the main character’s childhood. You’d think the film would be straight forward, but it quickly takes viewers on a ride that will either make them rewatch it entirely or descend down a rabbit hole of existential dread.
While featuring mostly flat and simplistic and straight out of Adobe Illustrator shapes, the animation style cradles and supports the chaotic and dizzying adventures each character finds themselves in. But be warned; the elaborate frames and dramatic transitions create such woozy and mind-bending sequences that this alone could honestly induce the urge to hurl if you’re too drunk.
Despite recurring symbolism in the form of Koi fish and the wind, I personally found the narrative or “what’s the point” hard to follow. But I came to enjoy the messiness and randomness of the story because life’s nature is a lot like this and there’s something to take away from any minute of the film. And I didn’t mind the lack of representation because the subject matter and situational comedy created an almost reverie that was, at times, peaceful and thought-provoking.
A few scenes that left my mind racing were: the introduction of The Sophist Dance, 13 minute mark, Elitist Collectors, around the 32 minute mark, Guerilla Theatre, 43 minute mark, The Codger of Monte Cristo, 56 minute mark, and many many others. There’s just something about watching animated characters engage in entertaining dances or deeper conversations about the gatekeeping of books for profit or interconnectedness that leaves you utterly distraught with thoughts of “what does it all truly mean” 😮.
By the end of this film, if the entirety of your thought process (and wonder) isn’t a big WTF, you would have come to appreciate this story of courage and perseverance, the existentialist grandeur of it all.
If you enjoy this you may also like: Midnight Gospel (10/10) and/or Devilman Crybaby (8/10)
An emerging Black poet, NaBeela Washington works towards her Masters in Creative Writing and English at Southern New Hampshire University. She was invited to read her poetry by the Takoma Park Poetry Reading Series, and has been published in Juke Joint Magazine, perhappened mag, The Cincinnati Review, and is forthcoming in The Washington Writers’ Publishing House.