Garakowa: Restore the World Review

Taking for granted, this film is 60+ minutes of mind twisty fantasy. Combine that with a bit of sci-fi, cute girls, adventure, and mysterious worlds and you get Glass no Hana to Kowasu Sekai. Now, I have to admit, watching this film for the first time felt like taking a chemistry course. It’s like all sorts of ideas thrown together at once. For such a product, it would have been better off as a TV series. However, Glass no Hana to Kowasu Sekai has something to offer and that’s a world of strange wonders.

The film is directed by Masashi Ishihama. Anyone familiar with sci-fi thrillers like Shinsekai Yori or Speed Grapher may recognize his work. Thus, diving into this film requires a bit of thinking behind the logics. The premise itself takes on a unique approach that transits between fantasy, reality, and emotions. The movie starts off with Dorothy and Dual doing their usual business until they run into a peculiar girl named Remo. From there, it becomes obvious that she is anything but ordinary. In fact, there’s hardly anything ordinary from the beginning as we witness a multitude of dimensional-like realms, reality distortion, and even altered timelines. Remo is particularly strange as she doesn’t have her memories intact except for her name. The phrase “”I must return to the flower patch…” is also part of major source of mystery about her character. On the other hand, there’s Dorothy and Dual. Both of them fight a mysterious enemy known as the “Virus” to protect the “Box of Wisdom”. Throughout the movie, we learn their motives and the essence of their enemy while also discovering the truth about Remo. 

To be quite honest, this movie is a bit confusing. It takes a few times to really comprehend what the message is. A lot of terminology has connections with software and technology. Some of these include virus, anti-virus, bugs, etc. The “Box of Wisdom” invites attention as viewers will wonder about its purpose. The height of my sadness was as great as I was in my ‘wtf is going on’ mode. It was not coherent at all, and I’m left from start to finish just going ‘yep, this just happened, and no one is going to tell me why’. Furthermore, we also have Remo’s role in the movie who has a mysterious significance in the story. It offers a Madoka-like feeling that combines sci-fi thriller, fantasy, and even slice of life. The SOL part comes from the friendship between the three girls. Their adventures takes them around the world as they see wonders. At one point in the film, they can even be described like “sisters”.

The thriller part comes from the challenges the girls undertake as they fight viruses. There’s also a feeling of virtual reality that can easily be felt through the world fiction of the film. That being said, the film also has some more sensible topics that includes extinction, dealing with loss, and blurring a line between fiction and reality. As such, approach this film with a bit of trepidation. It’s one of those fictional works that either you’ll like or dislike. On a personal level, I think the film’s length is questionable. A television adaptation would be more suitable as it feels like there’s too much ideas thrown into a package all the same time. On the other hand, the film itself is thrilling enough to stand out on its own. It has the characters, a premise that invites curiosity, and stunning visuals that combines world fiction with adventure.

We see minimal character development in this movie, mostly because of the lack of plot explanation and the contribution of a short screening time. Although they were cute girls with separate personalities, none of them are qualified to be of any recognition in my after-movie life. There’s nothing that I can defend any of them with in terms of decisions that they make in the movie if someone came up to me and told me this character was trash. The music was good, however, I do question the selection and the creation of these pieces. Some of the piano songs did not reflect the sort of mood that the scene was trying to relay, and I was left quite emotionally confused. The songs on their own are very nice to listen to, and I would even invest in the soundtrack if it were to be released. Just… I don’t know, get a better music director.

A-1 Pictures crafts the visuals with a stunning amount of effort. The backgrounds has a surreal-like feeling especially if you examine the Box of Wisdom. The action is also fluid and credible in terms of science fiction. Furthermore, the character designs is innocent and decorative for the girls. It almost makes us forget that there’s darker concepts going on in the background. As the screenplay is produced by Fumihiko Shimo (known for Air, Kanon, Clannad), expect facial expressions of the characters to show emotions. Furthermore, the characters’ voices are expressed in a way that is suitable for their roles. At the end of the day, you’ll probably remember the characters more than the story.

Overall, this just isn’t worth the investment, which is upsetting considering it’s founded on some pretty solid ideas and found itself in the hands of some rather talented people. I felt like a big issue with this came from it feeling like an aborted television series, like if it were a recap film to a show never made. Make no mistake, this isn’t The Matrix in a more charming form. Rather, Glass no Hana to Kowasu Sekai is a technologically sci-fi adventure that will get people talking. Whether the talk is about the story, characters, or stunning visuals can be viewed differently in a variety of stances, it’s still a rather unique piece of work. Once again, confusion isn’t something that should be surprising when watching this for the first time. It’s tough to explain but how much more does a peculiar world with three cute girls really take?

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