In bladder, a new anime film on Netflix, has many hallmarks of a dystopian city. The film is set in a version of Tokyo that has been almost entirely abandoned, and there are lots of rusting cars, crumbling buildings, and lots of greenery reclaiming its place amidst the urban sprawl. But the city also has a certain vibrancy – something that was very important to director Tetsuro Araki. “We wanted to make it light and colorful because we wanted to present this dystopian landscape as almost utopia,” he says The edge.
The reason for this sound could have something to do with it bladder‘s fairly unique premise. It’s not a typical doomsday story. Instead of a planet ravaged by war or natural disasters, in bladder, the earth is attacked by…bubbles. Five years before the events of the film, mysterious bubbles began to rain all over the world, and eventually a huge bubble enveloped the entire city of Tokyo. From then on, Tokyo was mostly abandoned while the rest of the country continued largely as normal. The only residents are street kids who live alone and compete in a team-based version of parkour, where winners receive supplies like gas and ramen. For these kids, the feeling of freedom in the city is almost like a utopia.
It’s certainly a unique premise, and one that’s also used to tell a coming-of-age story that generously excels The little mermaid. According to Araki, who previously worked on shows like death notice and attack on Titan, it was the more personal part of the story that came first. “It all came out of this idea that we wanted to tell a coming-of-age/love story,” he explains. “It happened through conversations I had with my producer, Genki Kawamura. From then on we decided to use the motif of The little mermaidand after that came Gen Urobuchi, known of course for his science fiction work, and he came to us as a screenwriter for this film. He finally made us realize it was about bubbles.”
Tokyo is a city that has been depicted and reinvented many times in pop culture, often in post-apocalyptic scenarios. Araki says that ubiquity actually helped with crafting bladder‘s unique vision. The movie version of the city is partially submerged, and there are also areas where gravity has been distorted (which not only looks cool, but also helps make the parkour sequences more exciting). “Tokyo is a city that’s so familiar to us that it was easy to create this stunning backdrop because we’re showing it in a different way,” says Araki. “It’s a lost city now. It’s just so grotesquely different from the Tokyo we’re used to.”
The challenge, he says, was making sure everyone stayed the course with that vision. “I had to be very careful directing because whatever they produced tended to be dark,” he explains. “So I had to remind all my people, ‘Listen, this must be a utopia that we’re portraying here.’ I had to keep reminding her of that.”
The team also had to face the unique circumstances of creating a largely abandoned version of a large real-world city at a time when the streets were empty due to the pandemic. (The creators of the game faced a similar challenge Ghostwire: Tokyo.) Although the idea for the film came before the pandemic, it still had an impact on the creative process. “It was almost like reality caught up with what we were portraying in the film,” says producer Genki Kawamura The edge. “The roads were closed [Japan] hosts the Tokyo Olympics, where they attempted to shield the games from the effects of the pandemic by creating a bubble system of sorts. This is a very sci-fi film, but the strangeness of reality helped keep it grounded in reality.”
bladder ultimately introduces a very special twist, which I won’t spoil here, that ties together all of its seemingly disparate elements, from the love story to the parkour to the bubbles themselves. It’s clever and unexpected – even if it took a while find out. “It was all one big, long, meandering exploration,” Araki says of the creative process.
bladder now streaming on Netflix.
https://www.theverge.com/2022/4/28/23044634/bubble-netflix-anime-director-interview The Netflix anime Bubble transforms post-apocalyptic Tokyo into a colorful playground