The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl Blu-ray Review

Masaaki Yuasa’s Sibling Movie To The Tatami Galaxy

If there is such a thing as an auteur in anime, award-winning director Masaaki Yuasa fits the bill. Masaaki Yuasa’s movies like Mind Game, Lu Over The Wall and now The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl all share his unique creative signature.

The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl is a side project of sorts to cult favorite The Tatami Galaxy. Made by the same creative team, the parallels are striking. While the movie is not a direct adaptation and stands by itself, it vaguely resembles Tatami Galaxy in many similar respects. All are unmistakably from Yuasa, bearing expressive visuals and outlandish characters. This movie technically adapts a novel but has been widely changed for the screen.

The freewheeling comedy is a sweet, farcical adventure about an unnamed girl referred to only as Otome or Kohai (Kana Hanazawa), and the Senpai (Gen Hoshino) that pines for her from afar. Without delving too far into the nuances of Japanese language, it would be like naming two characters “junior” and “senior” in an English movie. It’s not completely out of left field for an anime, as it captures the nature of their student relationship in Japanese society. Otome is a young college student oblivious to the ways of love. Senpai believes the key to her heart is finding a favorite childhood book she remembers.

There’s singing, there’s dancing, it’s a lightly romantic movie with a unique feel

This movie is about Otome’s surreal adventures one night out on the town and Senpai doing everything possible to meet her, and then win her heart. Beginning in a bar and meeting a friendly lech that collects erotic prints, her night only gets weirder and weirder. Drinking copious amounts of alcohol, she will encounter strange and colorful characters along the way. From crashing a going-away party to visiting a used-book fair, she quickly becomes a central figure in the local nightlife. It’s an existential trip in all but name as Otome transitions into adulthood.

The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl is fast-paced and unconventional even by anime standards. The plot never takes itself too seriously, has amusing moments, and is a visual delight. There’s singing, there’s dancing, it’s a lightly romantic movie with a unique feel. The imaginative movie is never boring and goes in unexpected directions.

That isn’t to say the movie is a slam-dunk winner. This is a movie for lovers of whimsy and sweet, furtive romantic longing. If you are looking for a tight plot structure and excellent characterization, look elsewhere. The plot veers all over the place at the hands of the eclectic supporting characters. Some which are fun, some which make little sense.

If you love Yuasa’s movies, you know what to expect by now. The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl is more of the same freewheeling and zany comedy the director specializes in, while continuing his indelible sense of visuals. If you are looking for a companion piece to The Tatami Galaxy, this is it.

Video

Animated by the same team behind The Tatami Galaxy, The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl is a colorful anime movie with striking visuals. Director Masaaki Yuasa’s works like Mind Game have all been visually impressive, featuring distinct character designs and backgrounds that stand apart from most other anime productions. If you’ve seen his prior movies, this is more of the same. This Blu-ray edition from Shout Factory looks absolutely perfect in outrageously good 1080P video. It is presented at a 1.78:1 aspect ratio.

The main features runs 92 minutes on a BD-50, encoded in AVC at superior parameters nearing 40 Mbps. If you are worried about banding, those fears can be put to rest. The flawless AVC encode renders the flat animation to perfection. Primary colors are bold and saturated. Black levels are inky and reach perfect black. The brightly-colored palette highlights one of the better-looking anime movies from the past year.

Audio

The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl arrives on Blu-ray with its original Japanese 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack. An English dub hasn’t been produced and the anime’s nature probably precludes a coherent English soundtrack faithful to the source material. It would be difficult getting the songs and some of the Japanese wordplay to work in English.

The visuals are more inspired than the serviceable but fairly ordinary surround mix, offering a decent audio experience with clean sound. Dialogue is anchored to the center channel. Some directional pans and surround moments come into play. The soundstage is wide open across the front. Singing plays a part in the movie and vocals shine with crisp clarity. The discrete mix isn’t a bass monster but contains a noticeable low-end presence.

Optional English and French subtitles play in a white font. The English translation capably captures the essence of the idiosyncratic Japanese dialogue and wordplay. There are a couple of small errors in the English not worth fretting about, such as when one character orders ‘Baileys’ and it’s transcribed as ‘Birelys’.

Extras

Shout Factory distributes this GKIDS release. The combo Blu-ray and DVD set comes with a high-gloss slipcover. The interview is in Japanese with English subtitles. The Blu-ray is coded for Region A.

Interview With Director Masaaki Yuasa (06:35 in HD) – The Japanese director discusses the choices made when adapting the original 2004 novel and comparisons to his Tatami Galaxy. Working with the same crew behind The Tatami Galaxy, he explains the ease working on this project behind the scenes.

Theatrical Trailers and TV Spots (06:37 in HD) – A variety of trailers and shorter television spots from Japan.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray release was provided to us for review by the label. For information on how we handle all review material, please visit our about us page to learn more about DoBlu’s editorial policies.

The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras

Movie

Another fun and distinctive anime from auteur Masaaki Yuasa combines outstanding visuals with a colorful lineup of characters. This is essential viewing for fans of his The Tatami Galaxy.

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