Flavors of Youth (Shikioriori) is the newest anime movie from CoMix Wave Films (CWF), the studio behind Makoto Shinkai’s big hit movies including Your Name. The movie’s Japanese premiere took place on Tuesday 17 July at Cine Libre Ikebukuro in Tokyo. Prior to the screening, cast members Taito Ban, Haruka Shiraishi, and Takao Otsuka appeared on stage together with the directors, Li Haolin and Yoshitaka Takeuchi.
Flavors of Youth is an anthology of three short films each set in a different city in China. The respective themes of the films are ‘clothing’, ‘food’, and ‘shelter’. The films are Hidamari no Choshoku (Sunny Breakfast) directed by Yi Xiaoxing, Chiisana Fashion Show (A Small Fashion Show) by Takeuchi, and Shanghai Koi (Shanghai Love) by Haolin.
Li Haolin, the general director of the anthology, said, ‘Us three directors have different thoughts and ways of expressing things. I’d be glad if the audience could watch the films while enjoying the differences.’ Takeuchi, who has been working with Shinkai for many years, looked back on the creating process and said: ‘It was the first time for me to create things from scratch by myself. It made me realize how hard the director’s job is.’ Then he smiled happily saying: ‘I had a great experience collaborating with various people while enjoying the creation process.
Ban, who portrayed the protagonist Shaoming in Hidamari no Choshoku, said ‘I realized that Shaoming and I have many things in common, which let the role naturally come to me.’ Shiraishi, who portrayed Lulu in Chiisana Fashion Show, appeared on stage wearing a bright red dress and revealed that the video sent to her with the script contained Takeuchi’s voice. Takeuchi explained: ‘The directors at our company must add voiceovers to our storyboards. It was embarrassing…’ Shiraishi immediately replied excitedly: ‘His Lulu was very gentle and I felt his love towards the film, which was touching. Otsuka, who played his first main character role in Shanghai Koi, looked back his recording and said, ‘I felt a certain responsibility thinking that I must bring Rimo to life, as the film was perfected visually already at the time of the recording.
Since the themes of the anthology are clothing, food, and shelter, the cast members were asked about their most memorable food. Ban’s was ‘a bowl of ramen I ate with my grandfather’, Shiraishi’s was ‘family dinners on anniversary days’, and Otsuka’s was ‘bento box lunches my mother made.’
At the end of the stage greeting, Takeuchi passionately told us, ‘The three short films depict interactions of human emotions in modern China. Although the stories are set in China, I believe the audience must feel something uniquely Japanese at its core. We created this anthology painstakingly. Please enjoy it. I’m looking forward to hearing your reactions.’
Flavors of Youth will be released from 4 August nationwide in Japan including Theatre Shinjuku and Cine Libre Ikebukuro, and will later be released on Netflix worldwide. The movie boasts CWF’s beautiful background art and landscape art. No wonder CWF has been working with Shinkai for long. Please enjoy the films and let us know your thoughts.