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After School Midnighters (Hokago Middonaitazu) (tbc)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byJennifer Tate24/10/2012

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 94 mins

With its adorably funny lead characters and fantastically amusing script, After School Midnighters is a loveable animation that will go down a treat with both adults and children.

What’s it all about?
Directed by Hitoshi Takekiyo, After School Midnighters is a Japanese animation about Kunstlijk (voiced by Koichi Yamadera), an anatomy model at the elite St Claire’s Elementary School, who comes alive after midnight. When three mischievous pupils dare to beautify him during school hours with lipstick and scribbles, Kunstlijk decides to take revenge on them by inviting them to an After School Midnight party, at which the giggling trio must complete a set of challenges to win a set of gold medals, which will grant them survival and a wish.

The Good
Based on director Takekiyo’s short film After School Midnight, After School Midnighters is a beautifully animated, bold and visually stunning animation, with an occasional and terrific dark and gothic twist that feels like it’s taken inspiration from Tim Burton at times. The three challenges taken by the three fearless young girls – Mako, an adorable blabbermouth, Mi, a lady of leisure and luxuries and Mu, a shy and unapproachable science geek – all have a computer game feel to them, and they’re incredibly exciting and enjoyable to watch.

The Great
After School Midnighters is ultimately an animation targeted at kids, but its sharp, witty dialogue and great narrative means it will be a hit with both adults and children. The animation relies on a lot of obvious, slapstick physical humour but it also features many amusing lines out of the mouths of its three plucky and simply hilarious heroines, who are fantastically funny to watch. Mako amusingly refers to Kunstlijk as Mr. Naked and the diva-like Mi funnily frets at the thought of wearing a cheap swimsuit for her set challenge. After School Midnighters’ likeable villain, Kunstlijk, also provides some comic relief, like when he takes a break from the challenges to casually check and update his blog, and the film ends on an open, but uplifting note, hinting at the chance of a promising sequel.

Worth seeing?
This sweet, whimsical Japanese animation with a dark side is incredibly engaging and amusing and it will be a travesty if it’s not nominated for the Best Animated Feature Film category at next year’s Academy awards. Highly recommended.

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Content updated: 20/04/2019 23:53

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