Hey folks, Valkor here. What do you get if you were to take a giant pot, stir in the likes of "The Wizard of Oz", toss in some "Alice in Wonderland", and a heavy dose of CGI? You'll get something like Shinsuke Sato's "Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror" aka "Hottorake no Shima" or "Haruka to Maho no Kagami". But no matter what you call it, it will still come out great!
Oblivion Island follows the adventures of Haruka (Haruka Ayase) as she enters a magical world where items that were "forgotten" or lost but never sought out, are taken by these creatures to help build their own world. In Haruka's case, all she wants is her mom's mirror that was given to her as a child, just before her mom passed away. A mirror she promised her mom that she won't ever forget. Now with the help of her new friend Teo (Miyuki Sawashiro), the twosome seeks out the mirror, only it's in the clutches of "The Baron", the guy who runs Oblivion Island.
It turns out that Haruka's mirror is the most powerful mirror in the land and The Baron has some serious plans in store for it. It's explained that mirrors hold a special power and that if placed inside inanimate objects (such as Haruka's long lost doll Cotton), that object will come to life. The Baron wants to use Haruka's mirror to be the source of all power, for all the mirrors that he has in his control, which in turn will give life to a robotic army that will be used to take over the human world. Will Haruka retrieve the mirror in time to save the Oblivion Island plus her own, and return back to her own world?
It's a happy ending story, so of course she'll succeed. But it's getting there that's half the fun and lots of wonder and excitement waits behind every turn.
First up, Oblivion Island has some of the greatest use of CGI, not only in its human characters, but the creatures who inhabit the other world, plus the other world itself. The backdrops used for the entire film has an oil painting look to it, which to me looks quite beautiful, full of bright colors and wonders. The different creatures that inhabit Oblivion Island are quite unique and very imaginative, though most look like walking aardvarks or hairless foxes (not a complaint). The animation on Haruka looks like what an anime character turned CGI would look like; not too much detail, such as a lack of moving hair, but it's made up in how her face emotes. I would have loved to have seen this film on the big screen and in 3D! Next the story takes the stage, though its typical fantasy fare with some predictability, there are no crazy twist, but there's lots of excitement, laughs, and suspense; with every scene there's always something new. The voice acting is a major plus as each voice matches each character perfectly. Kudos goes to Haruka Ayase for a wonderful performance as "Haruka", but big ups goes to Miyuki Sawashiro as Teo, my new hero, and yes I'll say it, he's damn adorable and her voice just makes him look and sound that much cooler. Finally the orchestrated music has a nice Miyazaki feel to it, but the final end song wins Oh and that end song by Spitz "Kimi wa Taiyou" or "You're the Sun". Awesome and has just made the rotation on my MP3 player.
Oblivion Island is a CGI masterpiece that takes the imagination to new heights! It's a magical, imaginative, and a wonderful fantasy treat all can enjoy; a great story, great animation, and great acting round out an exceptional CGI film worth experiencing. Out of TOV 5 stars, I give Oblivion Island 5 stars perfect! And it's been Valkor tested and TOV Approved.