Hello World is the story of high school boy, Katagaki Naomi, who lives in Kyoto in 2027. Naomi’s future self appears and reveals to him that he’s actually little more than a digital record of the real Katagaki Naomi. Future Naomi has developed an avatar self to go into the recorded past and help teenage Naomi save his soon-to-be girlfriend, Ruri.
This is going to be rather short as I find I don’t have much to say about it.
- Kyoto’s famous sites are very prettily rendered! I enjoyed seeing a few places that I’ve actually been to in real life.
- The story is sort of like Matrix combined with Inception and some time travel notions but it manages to work. The twist at the end of the second act was pretty surprising, though perhaps not clearly explained.
- The romance is nicely developed. The change in interactions between Naomi and Ruri feel natural (although Future!Naomi certainly helped kickstart things).
- I was distracted by the animation. I suspected – and confirmed through other reviews after seeing the movie – that it was animated in 3D rather than 2D. I don’t know if I like the effect. The characters look absolutely like they were drawn in the regular 2D style but once they start moving… The 3D-ness is quite obvious in its slightly odd fluidity of motion.
- The crow character didn’t do much for me. It felt a little too much like a deus ex machina.
- Either too much time or too little time was spent on the side characters. Some characters were given just enough emphasis to make you think they’d have something more to do but then absolutely nothing important happened involving them. It felt as though they weren’t quite sure how big a role the side characters – especially Naomi’s and Ruri’s schoolmates – should have in the story.
- The fox-faced hunchbacks that represent the simulation’s defense software (or something) were appropriately creepy and when they swarmed, it felt quite Studio Ghibli-like.
- I was only a little confused by the ending, but not so much that it spoilt the movie. I do wish it had been explained a little more, but then that might have dragged out the ending scene unnecessarily. It’s typical sci-fi in that sense: they want you to draw your own conclusions. But it’s more clear-cut than, say, the ending of Inception.