nobody movie_Pompo this Cinephile is an anime ode to Hollywood

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Almost a year after its Japanese debut and an Annie Award nomination later, Pompo the cinephile finally hitting North American theaters this week. Based on the shojo manga by Shogo Sugitani and directed by Takayuki Hiraothe madhouse and the Ufotable vet it’s best known for god eater, pompom is a witty and skilful ode to Hollywood. Or at least a better version of it.

Gene (Hiroya Shimizu and Christopher Trindade) is a nerdy aspiring production assistant to Nyallywood’s leading B-movie producer and resident anime girl Pompo Peterzen (Konami Kohara and Brianna Gentilella). Having worked his whole life towards making films, Gene feels thrown in at the deep end when Pompo enlists him to produce her next non-B-movie film. Pompo has written an Oscar-baiting blockbuster drama titled master about a passionate musician who, thanks to a farmhand in the idyllic European countryside, learns to love music and life again.

Image via GKIDS

As you might have guessed, Nyallywood is anime-cat-themed Hollywood, replete with an eponymous mountain sign, a walk of fame, and a grand awards show that just feels a little odd to follow the recent events. As Shirobakothe cute girls doing cute things anime about making anime, Pompo the cinephile is a work-related anime that romanticizes a tense, exploitative industry – and presents a deeply compelling vision of creative expression under that system. As we champion the artistry of the underdogs in the industry, particularly the young adults whose only goal is their devotion to the medium itself, Pompo the cinephile keeps his characters’ motivations and ambitions understandable. They are not stars seeking fame; They are not artists trying to change the world; They’re just young professionals working within the studio system and trying to establish themselves as best they can.

Based on Sugitani’s original artwork, character designs by Sword Art Online Shingo Adachi shines in motion. Adachi captures Pompo’s oversized presence in each room, embodies self-doubt in Gene’s creeping body, and balances the ideals of beauty that coexist in the film’s two actresses, Mystia (Ai Kakuma and Anne Yatco), the established blonde action film star, and Natalie (Rinka Ōtani and Jackie Lastra), the no-man’s girl, takes odd jobs in between failed auditions. And none stands out more than larger-than-life superstar Martin Braddock (Akio Ohtsuka and Kenneth Cavett), a Marlo Brando-esque celebrity whose design approaches realism to capture his domineering aura and overall Americanness.

Image via GKIDS

While GKIDS produced an English dub for the theatrical release, the screener We Got This Cover Reviewed contained only Japanese-language audio files with subtitles. However, both voice actors are star actors with little dubbing experience – and that’s not the only fourth wall nod that adds charm, if not much depth, to the film.

Pompo the cinephile is Studio CLAP’s first major international success, and it was only the studio’s second full-length production when it was first released. Well, the seductive film adaptation of The tunnel to summer, the exit of farewell, is on the horizon. From the impression pompom makes, I suspect the simmering excitement for the studio’s future projects will only increase. And like Gene, Hirao can do all this and more in just 90 minutes.

Pompo the cinephile Premieres in US cinemas April 27th and April 28th through GCHILDREN.

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