Blue Little Bear Ursa Minor Blue

Tagged: Film

Japanese short animated film (1993). Original title Ginga no Uo Ursa minor Blue. Ai ga areba Daijobu Co.. Directed and written by Shigeru Tamura. Voice cast includes Shouhei Ayukawa, Ichirô Nagai and Shinichi Tsuda. 23 minutes. Colour.

On an island observatory (see Astronomy) an old astronomer (Nagai) and his grandson, Yuri (Ayukawa), notice Ursa Minor now has an extra Star. The following morning they row downriver to the sea, meeting talking trees, flying primates and a walking tower block; the latter remarks upon the diminishing number of stars in the Milky Way. Reaching the ocean, the boy notices a suburban landscape below the surface, with its own coast and sea: for their boat is now on the river of stars, the Milky Way. They discover that Ursa Minor has turned into a diabolic fish, attacking the other constellations on the river. After a harpoon forged from star fragments is made for Yuri, the pair meet a mutilated giant Robot lighthouse (Tsuda), who tells them the fish went towards the Spiral Galaxy. They follow and – a little anti-climatically – Yuri hits the fish on his first throw, whereupon the sky is suffused with gold and their boat gets dragged into the Galaxy whirlpool, taking them home.

Gently surreal (see Absurdist SF) and inventive, though a little slowly paced, this is a charming short work with simple but engaging animation. It is based on a children's book by Tamura, as were his two other animated works A Piece of Phantasmagoria (1995) and Glassy Ocean (1998). [SP]

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