Drifting Home is a heartwarming coming-of-age adventure that will tug at the heartstrings.

There is something special about the transition from being a kid to a teenager/young adult. It is often captured in films with the growth of character and self-realization, but what many tend to overlook is that it is often the understanding of the gravity of our problems. Coming of age usually means realizing the weight of the world, and the magnitude of our problems in it. Netflix‘s anime movie from Studio Colorido, Drifting Home, brilliantly captures the phenomenon and creates an entire world to represent the feelings and emotions that people come to understand as they age.

Not What They Had Planned for Summer Vacation

Drifting Home focuses on the story of two pre-teens who were raised like brother and sister, Kosuke and Natsume. When introduced to them, their relationship is strained after the passing of Kosuke’s grandfather. At the beginning of their summer vacation, Kosuke and his classmates sneak into an abandoned apartment complex, which he and Natsume used to live in when they were younger. The complex is scheduled for demolition and is rumored to be haunted.

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At the complex, Kosuke and his friends discover Natsume, an argument breaks out and Natsume almost falls off the roof, but a miraculous phenomenon transports the complex into the middle of a vast ocean. Now Natsume, Kosuke, and their classmates are adrift in a mysterious sea on their childhood home. They must band together to survive and hopefully find a way back home.

Drifting Home Creates a World of Emotion

Drifting Home

The highlight of Drifting Home is its full embrace of the animation medium. There are some things that would just too imaginative to make look realistically, and a world where abandoned buildings are adrift in a mysterious falls squarely in that category. Outside of this fantastic element, the world is very grounded. No supernatural abilities, no magical creatures, but there are building ghosts, who for the most part seem human aside from the pale skin and growing vines. But despite that, this mysterious ocean world is a beautiful representation of memories.

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The building decays as Natsume, Kosuke, and others begin to move on. Other structures from other characters appear when they need it most. These buildings, structures, and locations act as support and anchors for the emotions and situations of the film. It fully embodies the saying, “Home is where the heart is,” in an elegantly visual way. It expands on the saying quite a bit, but it’s a gorgeous rendering of the impact places have in people’s lives. Location is a major factor in everyone’s lives, but it is so prevalent we tend to take it for granted. Drifting Home allows audiences to see just how big of a role places have in our lives.

Buildings Adrift Don’t Make a Lot of Waves

Drifting Home

This magical world of magnificent symbolism is not matched by the story itself. Drifting Home is a perfectly fine movie. The performances in the dubbed version are solid, though personally, I feel some of the voices don’t quite match the look of the characters. Nothing against the performers, but sometimes a grown-up voice feels out of place on a child. It isn’t a deal breaker, and very much a personal preference. The major emotional moments land and the heartstrings will definitely be plucked multiple times.

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However, it is the in-between moments that will likely leave much of the audience wanting. The pacing of the film is a bit slow. The story isn’t very complex and largely uneventful outside of getting isekai’d to this fantastic ocean world, there aren’t many more major events. The film is largely a slice-of-life on a deserted island film with nearly 0 natural dangers and only one notable dramatic relationship. While the rift between Natsume and Kosuke is the biggest and most important thing in their lives, Drifting Home never quite gets the audience to feel like that is the most important aspect of the film.

The world of the film eclipses the characters.

Drifting Home Lands Safely

Drifting Home

Drifting Home is a heartwarming coming-of-age story, that wonderfully captures the emotions and revelations of that transitional phase of life. It is set in a truly magical world that magnificently embodies the emotional connection and magnitude places have on our lives. The movie does tend to move at a pace of a boat with no paddles, which heightens the lack of stops on the journey. However, strong performances and relatable events do ensure all the major emotional beats land. It’s a great film for families looking for a more profound experience.

I give Drifint Home a 3/5.

Drifting Home is now streaming on Netflix.

About Drifting Home

Drifting Home

Release: September 16, 2022 on Netflix
Director: Hiroyasu Ishida(Penguin Highway)
Screenplay: Hayashi Mori, Hiroyasu Ishida
Character Design: Akihiro Nagae
Music: Umitaro Abe
Producer: Koji Yamamoto
Production Studio: Studio Colorido (Penguin Highway, A Whisker Away)

Synopsis:
Raised like brother and sister, Kosuke and Natsume have been friends since childhood, but their relationship begins to strain in sixth grade after Kosuke’s grandfather Yasutsugu passes away.  One day during their summer vacation, Kosuke and his classmates sneak into an apartment complex that is scheduled to be demolished, and rumored to be haunted. Both Kosuke and Natsume grew up there, so the place holds a lot of memories for them. There, Kosuke stumbles into Natsume and is asked if he knows about the mysterious Noppo. But suddenly, they get caught up in a mysterious phenomenon.

When they regain consciousness, they see a vast ocean before them. As the apartment complex drifts in a mysterious sea with Kosuke and the others on board, they band together to try and survive. There are tears and fights, and maybe even reconciliation. Will they be able to return to their previous world? A summer farewell journey begins…

Will you be adding Drifint Home to your queue? Are there any places that impact your life? Do you remember your first fights with your friends? Let us know on Twitter!

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