With an intergalactic cast of thousands, Koji Masunari’s colorfully explosive debut feature sets a new high for visual spectacle and sheer inventiveness of character design – in what has to be one of the most gleefully surreal depictions of alien life forms ever portrayed in cinema.
It seems like just another lazy summer is in store for Amane and her older cousin Natsuki. Lolling about the Japanese countryside, the days are blithe and boundless. But boredom quickly vanishes when they find an injured dog in the woods and bring him back to the cabin – only to discover that he is not a dog at all, but Pochi, an alien botanist sent to Earth to track down a rare and powerful plant called Zughaan (better known to Earthlings as wasabi root). Before long, Pochi has whisked the kids away to a space colony on the dark side of the moon, an interstellar melting pot where we experience a non-stop parade of humorous alien creatures, jellyfish spaceships, dragon trains, and – if that weren’t enough – a theme song from UK pop anomaly Susan Boyle. (Really? Yes, really.) The plot twists come fast and furious, and with such a glorious barrage of color and invention washing across the screen, you just want to hit pause and gawk at the wonder of what you are seeing.