Lu Over the Wall (Yoake Tsugeru Lu no Uta) (PG)

Animation 112 min. May 11, 2018
By Sherilyn Connelly
Mermaids are the new vampires, so Masaaki Yuasa's bouncy anime Lu Over the Wall incorporates vampiric elements into its mermaid mythos, because why not? Indeed, "because why not?" seems to be the guiding impulse behind this colorful trifle about a teenager named Kai (the voice of Michael Sinterniklaas), a talented musician who's been sulking ever since his family moved from Tokyo to a small fishing village. He reluctantly agrees to help classmates Yuho (Stephanie Sheh) and Kunio (Brandon Engman) with their band, creating music that attracts a little mermaid named Lu (Christine Marie Cabanos).

Calling the mermaid little isn't just an easy Disney allusion; she's a wee thing, which combined with her limited vocabulary, wide smile, and desire to spread love and friendship makes her come across like a precocious 5-year-old, or perhaps the Manic Pixie Dream Girl archetype taken to its logical conclusion. Her relationship with Kai remains largely platonic, though Lu's own music makes humans dance uncontrollably, causing all hell to break loose in Kai's historically mermaid-phobic village. Oh, and direct sunlight is fatal to Lu and her bite can turn humans and dogs into mer-creatures, so again, she’s a skosh vampiric. Even by anime standards, Lu Over the Wall is best enjoyed by disconnecting your logic circuits and just enjoying the pretty colors and sounds.
Masaaki Yuasa Kanon Tani, Shôta Shimoda, Shinichi Shinohara Reiko Yoshida, Masaaki Yuasa GKIDS

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