A decade after Mamoru Oshii’s Ghost in the Shell comes the next era-defining anime feature. As connoisseurs would expect, the plot is essentially baffling (if you must ask, it’s a sort of eco-spin on The Matrix Reloaded and the social conditioning found in HG Wells’s The Time Machine), while the visuals are, inevitably, beautiful to behold. The surprise, however, is that Sky Blue hails not from Japan, but South Korea. Directed by Moon-Sang Kim, and known domestically as Wonderful Days, it’s been a festival hit already, but is now getting a limited UK theatrical release. According to Onedotzero director Shane Walter, who previewed it briefly in May, Sky Blue marks both the international adoption of a hitherto overwhelmingly Japanese genre and the rise of Korean animators as creatives in their own right. Previously, the country has mostly operated like one vast production house. On-screen, the movie is multi-layered and strangely hyper-realistic. Moon-Sang’s team has blended live action miniatures, immersive 3D CGI backgrounds and traditional 2D cell animations to striking effect – using the same Sony HDW-F900 camera used on the Star Wars prequels. Better than The Revenge of the Sith? That’s a no-brainer. The question is, will its techniques be as influential as those developed by Lucasfilm?
Sky Blue opens at five cinemas in London and Dublin on 8 July. A regional release, also through Tartan Films, begins on 22 July. For more information, see www.skybluethemovie.com