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[Liz and the Blue Bird]
AKA: リズと青い鳥
Genre: Drama
Length: Movie, 90 minutes
Distributor: Currently licensed by Shout Factory, also available streaming on Amazon Prime.
Content Rating: PG (Mature themes.)
Related Series: Sound Euphonium! (26 TV episodes+ OVA; 3 other movies)
Also Recommended: Sound Euphonium! The Movie: May The Melody Reach You!; Sound Euphonium! The Movie: Our Promise: A Brand New Day
Notes: Based on the Sound! Euphonium novels of Ayano Takeda; directed by Naoko Yamada, screenplay by Reiko Yoshida
Rating:

Liz and the Blue Bird

Synopsis

Mizore Yoroizuka, who's an oboist in the Kitauji High School Concert Band, is an introverted girl who's been content to live in the shadow of her sole friend, flutist Nozomi Kasaki. But Mizore begins to see parallels between the fairytale Liz and the Blue Bird, on which the piece they're performing is based, and her relationship with Nozomi.


Review

So OK, I've found a second Kyoto Animation show to fall in love with (the other, of course, was A Silent Voice.) It's also a prime example of the maxim that "less is more".

The show is in the Sound! Euphonium! franchise, but the series' nominal lead, Kumiko Oumae, only makes one or two appearances here. I haven't seen the weekly series, but I've seen two of the Euphonium! movies- namely May the Melody Reach You!, and Our Promise: A Brand New Day- and while they're both quite good, I think Liz and the Blue Bird is really in a different league.

We see that Mizore's psychological dependence on Nozomi is having negative repercussions on Mizore's social development, AND on her performance in the "Concert Band" (this is really more like a small orchestra); and it's threatening to move Nozomi in a less-than-optimum (for her) academic direction as well. (The dependence to some degree works both ways.) The question becomes, will Mizore develop the insight into her own dependency to understand that it's damaging both girls' futures- and will she ever have the willpower to put a LITTLE space between herself and her friend, for BOTH their sakes?

The show gives Mizore an opportunity to develop another friend, if she'll take it- a fellow oboist named Ririka Kenzaki keeps inviting her to join her "fellow double-reed players" for lunch and other activities. But Mizore's a difficult case, and Ririka, quite understandably, feels a little hurt with Mizore's continual refusals.

A considerable part of the show relates the Liz and the Blue Bird fairytale (in a simpler art style than is used in the "reality" part of the show.) If Mizore takes the moral of the story to heart, maybe she can spread her OWN wings.

One of the more realistic anime dramas I've come across- I've known people like Mizore. The show does a terrific job of drawing the parallels between Mizore and Nozomi versus, well, Liz and the Blue Bird- AND how the solution to the real-life dilemma might just lie in that fairytale. Structurally, it reminds me more of an outstanding short story than a movie per se in its laser-focus on its two protagonists and in the way the story components are carefully, but subtly, structured to paint an unusually true-to-life picture of someone who's maybe a bit TOO close to another for her own emotional good.Allen Moody

Recommended Audience: Rightstuf says 10+ for the DVD. Mature situations.



Version(s) Viewed: Streaming on Amazon Prime
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Liz and the Blue Bird © 2018 Kyoto Animation.
 
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