Anime Ode To Hollywood

Lovable characters and effervescent storytelling make for anime greatness in Pompo the Cinephile. Almost uniquely made for film lovers of all ages, it’s a delightful love letter to the art of filmmaking and movie magic. Animator Takayuki Hirao captures the raw joy of creating a movie with cinematic visuals inspired by manga and a charming story.

Based off a popular 2017 manga, Pompo the Cinephile is centered around a sharp b-movie producer and her erstwhile assistant, a talented young kid named Gene. Joelle Davidovich “Pompo” Pomponette is the granddaughter of a legendary producer in Nyallywood, the film’s thinly-veiled take on Hollywood.

I’m over-the-moon crazy about Pompo the Cinephile’s lighthearted laughs and fun characters

Producing action schlock and cheesy b-movie fodder in her day job, Pompo goes for a serious filmmaking venture by hiring the inexperienced Gene as director. Using her industry connections, Pompo lures iconic Nyallywood star Martin Braddock (think Robert DeNiro or Jack Nicholson) out of retirement for the leading role. Struggling rookie actress Natalie is given her first big break as the female lead in Pompo’s high-minded drama.

There is something irresistibly fun and snappy about Pompo the Cinephile, especially if you love movies. There’s a happy energy which elegantly captures how casting, direction, writing, acting, and even finance all play a role in shaping a movie’s final outcome.

Gene is a sweet, slightly awkward young filmmaker with a passion and talent for making movies. Pompo is wise beyond her years and youthful appearance, demonstrating an uncanny command of the business she learned growing up. The sassy character is a real fireball with most of the best lines. She’s a great creation and I hope this isn’t the last we see of Pompo.

There’s a crisp satirical edge underlying the plot which pokes fun at industry tropes and Hollywood business. The opening act is an exuberant tour de force. It’s upbeat, energetic, and hilariously funny. Takayuki Hirao makes absolutely fantastic use of the animated medium to tell this delightful send-up of the movie industry and filmmaking process behind the scenes. The lively premise has the first-time director working on a movie-within-the-movie.

I’m over-the-moon crazy about Pompo the Cinephile’s lighthearted laughs and fun characters. One of the most unique and fresh anime films to come around in a while, its subject matter and gentle Hollywood spoofing should be a homerun with Western audiences looking for more relatable anime. Sweet, genuine and highly entertaining, there’s something for everyone in its many charms.

Video

Pompo: The Cinephile looks fantastic on Blu-ray, a marvelous combination of appealing character designs by Shingo Adachi and skillfully-made two-dimensional animation from CLAP. Boldly saturated colors and a diverse palette produce a wonderful 1.85:1 presentation stuffed with fluid activity and engaging movement. GKIDS properly handles the BD transfer with flawless execution.

The main feature runs 94 minutes on a BD-50, encoded in high-bitrate AVC. It’s a completely transparent rendering of the movie’s animation and avoids banding. The creative direction actually changes the aspect ratio a couple times, switching to a tighter scope framing for certain scenes.

Inky black levels and a deep contrast create vivid, high-impact anime visuals. Clearly more refined than your usual anime production, Pompo the Cinephile takes full advantage of the animated medium for manga-like caricatures and line work. Backgrounds are packed with surprising amounts of detail.

Audio

Excellent Japanese audio in 5.1 DTS-HD MA is nearly matched by an equally exciting English dub in 5.1 DTS-HD MA. Open, spacious and detailed, the soundtracks have intelligible dialogue with fairly dynamic musical scores. Bass response is adequate, sparingly used for a couple of Mystia’s big action scenes. A nice, cohesive soundstage doesn’t offer the usual discrete activity found in the best surround mixes but the immersion is largely effective.

Hiroya Shimizu voices Gene and Konomi Kohara voices Pompo in the preferred Japanese mix. Brianna Gentilella voices Pompo and Christopher Trindade plays Gene in the new English dub. There’s nothing wrong choosing the English dub if you dislike reading subtitles, but there’s a touch more emotion and attitude found on the Japanese track.

Three optional subtitle tracks are provided: English, English SDH, and Spanish. They all play in a white font. The English subs provide a translation of the original Japanese audio.

Extras

GKIDS serves up special features brought over from the Japanese release in a fine Blu-ray and DVD combo package. A slick slipcover is available for early pressings. The disc is coded for Region A. What we don’t get from the limited Japanese release by Happinet is a 56-page booklet, but it’s not English-friendly if you are thinking of importing.

Audio Commentary by Director and Crew – The Japanese group commentary includes English subtitles. Director Takayuki Hirao is joined by unit director Imura and the film’s editor Imai.

Feature-Length Storyboards (93:43 in HD) – Becoming a more common supplement on anime productions, the issue with these storyboards is a complete lack of audio.

Trailers & TV Spots (05:47 in HD) – Eight international and domestic trailers for Pompo the Cinephile.

Character Design Gallery (03:18 in HD)

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided by the label for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Pompo: The Cinephile
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
5

Movie

A delirious and refreshing ode to the magic of making movies with a creativity and passion only anime can provide.

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5 (1 vote)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 45 full resolution, uncompressed HD screen shots grabbed directly from the Blu-ray: