Strange 4D Animation Evening

Movies have evolved so much over the few decade.  New spectrum and story line push the limits of what producers and directors can do to make a good show for its audience.  Back in the day, when Titanic was filmed, it was label the most extraordinary and expensive movie of its time.  It’s budget was 200 million US dollars.  Well done, James Cameron.  Next, we had Avatar which made designers create new technology to make the backdrop of the movie look real.  It started a new era of imagination and possibilities for film makers.  It’s budget was 237 million US dollars.  Again, well done James Cameron.  News tells us that Mr Cameron is shooting for Avatar 2, 3 and 4.  Let’s see how that plans out as I personally felt the story line has come to can end in the first one, but who am I to judge.  Other movies that have given us audiences astonishing tales and imagination are Harry Potter, Lord of the Kings and Star Trek.  TV shows such as Game of Thrones has also become much larger than anyone has anticipated.  The list just goes on.  In Japan, it is never short of imagination.  If I dare say, Japan is the land of imagination.  Through games, manga, and anime, the imagination is so spectacular that some people live their lives in it.  There are times where I ask the question as to how the hell did people came up with certain ideas and how amazing it is that “that crap idea” become such a phenomenon.  On a recent after work evening, I watched a Japan animation movie and that exact thought popped into my mind while watching it – “how on hell did people came with this idea?”

A colleague invited me to watch this movie.  I was pretty much a tag along with her and her friend.  Going into that movie I had no idea what to expect. The only information I was told was it was it’s a 4D movie, a Japanese animation, it’s quite cute, there wasn’t much of a story line  yet it’s a really interesting experience.  How can you say no to that, right?  Getting to the cinema was as normal as anyone would expect.  We drive, we parked the car and headed to the level where the cinema was.  Typical procedure.  This was my first 4D movie was I was indeed excited.  The tickets for the movie was 2400 yen.  Pretty pricey but not surprising. While buying the tickets, the ticket person went through some rules like going on a ride at an amusement park.  I bought a drink, gave my ticket to the entrance girl and slowly approached the cinema.  Very shortly I was told I had to put all my belongings into a locker; and I did.  Very amusement park ride like indeed.  What happened next was where the word “strange” truly kicked in.

Have you ever been to a concert? If you have,  you would know that people would cheer and go crazy with their yelling to the performer on stage.  Some dedicated fans may even wear some form of outfit to suit the occasion and also bring props to show their commitment as a fan.  My experience watching this movie was kind of like that.  I saw heaps of girls – if not all girls – Japanese girls.  Some wore outfit that seemed like cosplay or something.  Nearly 99% of the audience had a pair of fluorescent concert lights in their hand.  I was warned by my colleague that people would have these concert lights.  Apparently you could buy them at a counter at the cinema entrance.  It didn’t quite make a connection given what I was watching was a movie.  We eventually found our seats and sat down.  Within moments, the lights dimmed and the movie screen lit up.  All of a sudden, people were saying things together.  Looking at the screen and trying to understand what the audience were saying, they were shouting out the company names displayed on screen that supported this movie.  Say what? Yes, people were reading the displayed company names out loud.  Next thing, the movie starts, music is playing and the main character is talking. Literally all the fluorescent lights lit up and everyone was shouting the main character’s name.  No, they won’t shouting. They were chanting.

For the remaining one and a half hours of the movie, I remained in state of complete surprise and shock.  I am not sure whether I was more surprised or shocked, or vice versa.  Through the entire movie, the audience would chant and shout out words or lines in response to the character’s line.  Was the movie interactive? No, it wasn’t! But somehow it worked and just made the movie experience more exciting and hilarious.  During certain segments of the movie, the fluorescent lights would change colour depending on which character was on main focus at the time on screen.  The audience would also use their lights to do actions that would synchronize with the mood of the scene.  Doesn’t make sense? Ok, let me try to paint you a picture.  In the movie there is a scene where people are in a church.  Literally everyone’s fluorescent lights turned white and everyone made a cross shape with their two lights.  Sounds strange? Another example is in another scene, there was a character who’s colour was purpose and he had a cane in his hand.  He was hitting the cane against his left palm.  Everyone was doing the same thing.  Again, sounds strange much? A third example is where there was singing in the movie.  One character’s colour was red and he did these skating tricks and was pivoting in the air.  Everyone took up their pair of lights and was twirling them in the air.  Given it was a 4D movie, the moving chairs was not a surprise.  I said before this was my first 4D movie.  But all honestly, if you have ever been to a theme park like Universal Studios or Disneyland, they all have this attraction where you get to watch a short film.  Those short films are usually 4D and its a similar idea.  Chairs move, air gets blown out from tubes onto your face from time to time, and even water gets sprinkled on you.  The one and a half hour movie checked all those boxes.  Apart from the additional fluorescent lights and people cheering, we also got bubbles showered onto us.  The bubbles were definitely a nice surprise. They tend to be released when the movie was at a scene where it seems a bit romantic. The guess the word “strange” doesn’t really cover it, but it was sure was hell exhilarating.

I wasn’t so much touched by the story line.  In my opinion, I wouldn’t even say there is one.  In a nutshell, it is an animation with extremely cute little characters that are technically boys.  (I say technically because these boys are very pretty and could pass as girls for me. The main things holding me back is the boy chest they have.) These boys are all working towards being famous stars. Hence, there is a lot of singing in the movie.  Effectively, the audience got to use their lights to cheer and chant on numerous occasions.   I pretty much laughed out loud throughout the entire movie.  Somehow, this movie has grabbed the attention of the Japan population and become a phenomenon.  According to my colleague, the movie become popular due to word of mouth rather than advertisement.  Kind of like how Fifty Shaded of Grey become famous.  I do see why and how these became big in Japan, because of the huge geeky or Otaku population.  It is doubtful to me whether this would fly in other countries though.

Overall, was this experience worth 2400 yen? Yes.  Would I do it again? Yes for sure, but preferably for another movie.  Would I watch the 4D movie with the fluorescent lights? I’d like to give it ago for sure.   What was the movie name? The animation movie was called King of Prism by Pretty Rhythm.  Everyone should definitely give this experience ago.  Whether you like it or not, it makes a great story to tell.

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