Studios: Steve N’ Steven, Rockwell Eyes
Publisher & Distributor: GKids, Shout! Factory
Release Date: September 17, 2019
I recently had the pleasure of watching a newly released (on Blu-ray) anime movie by the name of The Case of Hana & Alice. Honestly, at first I didn’t think I would like the movie; the premise was nice, but the animation style dredged up memories of a show that I didn’t particularly care for. However, I gave the film a chance, and it has proven to be a title that I am happy to have in my collection. Many thanks to GKids and Shout! Factory for the review copy!
The story opens with us following Alice as she heads to her new home and promptly falls out the window. We witness her transfer to a new school, get embarrassed by her mom, and even stop by an old acquaintance’s ballet lesson. However, soon after she starts attending school and getting settled into class, Alice overhears an urban legend about a boy who died and his four wives. As luck would have it, she’s been assigned to the dead boy’s seat, and apparently that alone is reason enough for her to be alienated by everyone at the school. Almost. I won’t go into much further detail, but once Alice meets Hana, the duo takes off on an adventure to uncover the truth behind the urban legend, and the ensuing hijinks are hilariously entertaining to see.
The dynamic between the titular twosome in The Case of Hana & Alice is extremely gratifying to watch. I’ve seen plenty of slice of life anime in my time, and Hana and Alice present very relatable characters. From their first interactions with each other to their individual responses to other story elements, I couldn’t find a single thing to dislike about either teen. For the most part, even the side characters were enjoyable (save for the ones who only antagonized Alice. I have “words” for them that I elect not to say in this review). In fact, it was their personalities, and the expression thereof, that led me to enjoy the animation much more than I anticipated.
The Case of Hana & Alice is animated using the rotoscope technique. Essentially, it’s frame-by-frame drawings of live-action footage. Now, I’m a huge fan of anime with “squash and stretch.” I find that those types of anime, with highly exaggerated features and movements, make it rather easy to understand what the character is feeling. A good example would be Chihiro’s reactions in Spirited Away when she first gets a whiff of the “stink spirit” or when she stomps on the slug with her bare foot.
However, in this case the rotoscoping still manages to muster the full force of feelings while coupling them with the more realistic movements characteristic of the technique. This movie uses its selected style to its advantage, especially with its emotional scenes. You’ll feel what they want you to feel. The dialogue combines with the musical score and animation to evoke emotions ranging from joy to grief and even anger. All while telling you a heartwarming tale of friendship.
All-in-all, I highly recommend this Blu-ray. The Case of Hana & Alice is a rather interesting tale and one I rewatched several times since receiving the disc. From the storytelling to the characters, it’s an enjoyable romp through these girls’ lives. In addition, it’s a prequel to the live-action film Hana and Alice and actually got me invested enough to make me want to watch that film as well. If you’re looking for a film that’ll tug on your heartstrings and give you a smile, this is the one for you. At the price of $26.99 USD on the Shout! Factory website, it’s well worth the money. Give it a try.
Lolinia gives The Case of Hana and Alice a score of 9.7 out of 10.0 (97) Moé Blobs.