Pompo the Cinephile is going to inspire a whole new generation of filmmakers after it captures and showcases the art of filmmaking in a way that only anime can.
One of the best parts things about anime is that the medium makes some of the most sensational and dramatized series about some of the most unexpected subject matters. Yes, there are the more larger-than-life subjects like Gundam, Dragon Ball, and Goblin Slayer, all of which are stories primed for the animated medium. But I’m referring to mundane, every day, almost too boringly normal subject matters. Ranging from simple acts like Light Yagami eating a chip in Death Note to shows like Saki which is about Mahjong, or Haikyu! about volleyball. There’s something about the medium and the storytelling that brings life to often-overlooked subjects.
Such is the magic of Pompo the Cinephile.
Pompo the Cinephile Will Inspire New Cinephiles
Joel D. Pomponette, aka Pompo, is Nyallwood’s top producer of B movies. Her work is renowned and wildly successful. Now, she’s finally found a drama she wants to produce, with a young first-time actress she wants to star in her film, as well as a first-time director for her film. That director is her apprehensive assistant Gene. Gene takes the reigns, but like with most productions, chaos ensues, and budgets, deadlines, and resources are no longer guaranteed. It is up to Gene to rise to Pompo’s challenge and prove he has what it takes to be a real Nyallywood director.
Pompo the Cinephile is a feel-good slice-of-life anime feature that captures and shares the art of filmmaking like never before. The film fully utilizes the medium to bring an entirely new, but impeccably accurate portrayal of the filmmaking process. Without spoiling the film, an example of the genius symbolism the film displays is the film editing process. When Gene edits films, he is transported into a sub-dimension, imagine a morphing sequence from the Power Rangers or the transformation sequence of the Sailor Scouts where he cuts flowing streams of film with a scalpel like a master chef. It is a glorious embodiment of the video editing process.
The rendering and the homage and likeness of it to other super-powered sub-dimension transformations truly make those scenes resonate. It’s a bit of a dramatization, but one that feels organic to the experience. Much like the dramatizations and exaggerations in sports animes. It is impossible to watch these sequences and not feel a twinge of excitement. The symbolism throughout the anime is very powerful and layered. Everything has a deeper and other meaning and it makes for a very impactful emotional ride. I am sure Pompo and the Cinephile will have the same influence on filmmakers as Haikyu! had on volleyball.
Round of Applause for CLAP and the Musicians
Pompo the CInephile marks CLAP Animation Studios first feature animation. They did spectacular work that simultaneously grounded and amplified the film. A shining example of this seeming contradiction is Pompo herself, designed by Shingo Adachi. Her character design seems slightly different than the rest of the world of the film. Her design looks and seems a bit cartoony compared to the rest of the world, and her colors also seem a bit more vibrant. It really highlights and embodies the character making her presence more pronounced and impossible to miss.
In addition to the visuals, the music of the film really drives and controls the emotion. Pompo the Cinephile featured songs and performances from CEL, EMA, and KAF. Their music in combination with the sound effects bring this world to life and really engulfs viewers in the events going on on-screen. When Gene enters his editing transformation sequences, the music controls the pace of which the intensity is felt, and the sound effects of the film deliver the steps for the emotions to climb. It’s a surprisingly intense experience that almost forces a smile on your face.
The Only Thing About Pompo the Cinephile…
The only mediocre or less compelling aspect of Pompo the Cinephile is the story is predictable. At no point do you ever feel Gene will not succeed. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as this film is obviously geared towards a family audience, and it is a nice change of pace to have a generally positive story out there. However, it also makes it kind of easy to forget. It is a thoroughly enjoyable film, and I’m sure will entertain most who go to see it. But without that x-factor to make it stand out, I feel most will forget the film before they get a chance to spread the word about it.
Pompo the Cinephile is a thoroughly entertaining film that captures and showcases the art of filmmaking. The artwork of CLAP Animation, in combination with the music, and Direction of Takayuki Hirao will undoubtedly inspire a new generation and new type of filmmaker with the powerfully symbolic depictions of the process. While the film does brilliant work of tapping into the emotions of the audience, the story of the film just doesn’t quite reach the same level of impact. Which, unfortunately, makes the film a bit easy to not remember and will undoubtedly affect its lasting resonance.
Despite that, Pompo the Cinephile is a delightful film that families, fans of movies about making movies, and slice-of-life anime fans will love. I give Pompo the Cinephile 3.5/5.
Pompo the Cinephile is now playing in select theaters across the US.
ABOUT POMPO THE CINEPHILE
Release date: April 29, 2022 (USA)
Director: Takayuki Hirao
Production Studio: CLAP
Distrbutor: GKIDS Films
Characters: Mystia, Gene Fini, Nathalie Woodward, Joelle Davidovich “Pompo” Pomponett, Martin Braddock
Running time: 94 minutes
Pompo is a talented and gutsy producer in “Nyallywood,” the movie-making capital of the world. Although she’s known for B-movies, one day Pompo tells her movie-loving but apprehensive assistant Gene that he will direct her next script: a delicate drama about a tormented artistic genius, starring the legendary and Brando-esque actor Martin Braddock, and a young actress seeking her first break. But when the production heads towards chaos, can Gene rise to Pompo’s challenge, and succeed as a first-time director?
Did you already get your tickets to Pompo the Cinephile? What animes have inspired you to learn more about or take up new hobbies? How excited are you for the DVD extra of this movie when it comes out? Let us know what you think in the comments below and share your ticket stubs and reactions to the film with us on Twitter.