"Hosoda created a small masterpiece really quite unlike anything ever seen in the genre. The backgrounds are no longer merely photorealistic, they really are based on actual photos taken by Hosoda around Tokyo — see this page for examples. (And yes, I’ve read in an interview with Hosoda that he himself did the location hunting for both films.) This is a big part of what makes the movie so incredibly fresh and convincing. It’s realism, but not the quasi-neo-realism of a Takahata. It’s closer to the poetic realism of Oshii, but without the dopping helpings of self-indulgence. It’s really one of the best examples of sci-fi/fantasy I’ve ever seen, because it doesn’t think of itself as such — it doesn’t bash you over the head with the stuff — it merely tries to capture the way kids would react to this one-time, curious, magical event in their otherwise ordinary, real world. With very little plot, Hosoda manages to create a seamless 20 minutes where every image is perfectly composed, and every moment is made to count. To give the film the relentless forward drive he wanted, in a brilliant stroke he used Ravel’s Bolero as the only piece of music. As hackneyed as the piece may be, in this case it really works, and doesn’t feel gimmicky. It took guts and imagination to do something like that, and skill to pull it off.”

I finally watched Digimon Adventure and it honestly impressed the fuck out of me in a way that I didn’t expect. I was going to write a lengthy post about it, but the above 8 year old mini-review from Ben Ettinger ( for the full article) summarizes it better than I ever could.

I watched Our War Game before, and it was certainly good… but it wasn’t as amazingly unique and atmospheric as this. This was one of those pieces of animation where you just feel like you’re in very good hands from the get-go and you become fully immersed in the experience.

An absolute must-watch, if you’re slow like me and haven’t seen it yet. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like Digimon, it doesn’t even matter if you know nothing about the franchise. Hell, not knowing anything might even make it better.

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