I watched the 2019 animation Seven Days War in Scotland Loves Anime in 2022, which means a big screen and an audience.
In a week of fantastic anime, this feature-length got the biggest, bolded and best cheer from the audience.
The story is straightforward on the surface. A girl wants to temporarily run away from home to celebrate her birthday with friends before her family drags her to Tokyo for careers. The guy, our main hero, agrees to help because he fancies her.
However, she invites a bunch of friends along too. Disaster.
So, our gang of adolescents ended up camping in the safety and shelter of an abandoned mine building. Not the dark tunnels below but the brickwork building above. A good thing, too, as a typhoon is coming.
The catch? There’s someone else in the coal processing plant with them.
I don’t mean this to be a pejorative, but the plot becomes Home Alone Five, with multiple teens, not one cheeky scamp.
Look and feel
The characters are fun and friendly, even the grim and dour one. The audience cheers as these people work through their issues and make good choices.
In particular, Seven Days War positively challenges some anime tropes – earning cheers from the audience and producing what I suspect most people will consider the best scene.
Also, Seven Days Wars challenges and fronts up to broader Japanese society issues. There’s the relationship between politics and business, bosses and employees, self and secrets and even immigration.
The anime style is punchy, the characters realistic, and there’s no surrealism (except some in-story video effects). There’s a degree of disbelief suspension needed, a pivotal ending scene earning laughs of ridicule, but it doesn’t harm the overall vibe.
One of my favourite anime of the year, and I watch a lot of anime.
Seven Days War has a feel-good factor, but you have to work for it; sometimes, it feels uncertain.
I think Seven Days War is a great anime to introduce sceptics to the genre. It’s also a great anime for students of Japanese history and those familiar with the tropes I’ve alluded to.
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