Anime Supremacy

Anime Supremacy Will Ignite Your Inner Artist

Dept. of Dueling Directors

Are you looking for a fun, emotional, and poignant movie, with a naturally bright colour palette, that seamlessly blends the hopeful ideals of pursuing one’s dreams with the harsh reality of what it actually entails? Kohei Yoshino’s Anime Supremacy is by no means a simple genre piece. Based on the 2014 novel of the same name, the film brings to light the harsh realities that come with dreaming for a living.

We follow Hitomi Saito, a newbie to the anime industry, who is looking to bring her creative vision to life. We watch as she desperately perseveres and tries to protect her artistic integrity while constantly facing down the pressures of commercialization. She is inspired by the work of her hero – and eventual rival – Chiharu Oji, who is in the midst of mounting a long overdue comeback. Chiharu, who returns to the industry after a hiatus, longs to prove to himself, and to the world, that there is still magic in his stories.

Anime Supremacy goes on to paint a picture of two parallel lives, each one at different stages of their individual journeys, one bright eyed, the other jaded, but both enthusiastic, dedicated, stressed, and fatigued. It is a complex mix of feelings and states of being that is a common consequence from working in Japan’s anime industrial complex.

Anime Supremacy

Both leads deliver fantastic performances. Riho Yoshioka plays Hitomi as someone who looks like she has the weight of the world on her shoulders, while the amazing Tomoya Nakamura brings Chiharu to life with a dry wit that he uses to suppress the passion he once felt for an industry that has since neglected him. The visible frustration on his face, when people reference his most popular work as if it were his only ever success, brings depth to a film that so easily could’ve been drowned in surface-level dogma about the story of the underdog

Visually, it is the liberal use of animation throughout the movie that will undoubtedly catch your eye. It is a bold decision from Kohei Yoshino as he attempts to meld the two worlds inhabited by these characters. What is particularly refreshing about this decision is that all of it is done in service of the larger narrative and not merely as an over-indulgent gimmick.

Anime Supremacy

Anime Supremacy brings to the forefront a profit-driven industry, with inhumane deadlines, that pushes anyone with so much as a drop of talent into a box that “fits” its own profiteering needs. But this is a story that possesses a relatability that transcends the anime industry. It is a movie that will make working adults feel seen and heard while simultaneously removing the proverbial blindfold from those about to venture out into the working world. 

Anime Supremacy’s overarching narrative is that of perfection and the chase of it. Chiharu says that “perfection is a moving target,” implying a lifelong chase with no hope of ever achieving it. It is the attempt that matters. It is the process of creating and never giving up; despite the odds.
Anime Supremacy may have begun as a film about the corporate, cutthroat nature of the anime industry, but it ends up being about chasing what’s in front of you without ever looking back.

Anime Supremacy is just one of 23 movies now streaming as part of the Japanese Film Festival Online 2024. Click here to register and watch it, for free, and from the comfort of your own home.

Mohnish has been discovering the joy and impact of the moving image ever since he saw his first film. To him, watching one film a day keeps the boredom away. Reviewing films is more than something he wants to do. In the chaotic dimension that is his mind, it's something he must do.

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