After the death of a younger sister and the divorce of his parents, Touno Kaoru is unable to find his place at home. After a harsh confrontation with his drunken father, he runs out of the house and discovers a mysterious tunnel. Confused by what he sees inside, he runs away, picking up a parrot along the way that looks identical to his long-dead pet.
Once outside, Kaoru realises that despite spending only a few dozen seconds in the tunnel, a whole week has passed. That’s when she recalls the rumours of the “Urashima Tunnel.” A passage that grants wishes in exchange for the passage of time. Kaoru begins to wonder if another visit might help.
After returning to the tunnel entrance the next day, the boy notices that he has been followed by Hanashiro Anzu. A new student in his class. She also knows about the rumors and asks him to help her with an experiment. It turns out that she also has a wish that she can fulfil in this mysterious place.
Table of Content
- Natsu e no Tunnel, Sayonara no Deguchi (2022) – Audiovisual Design
- Natsu e no Tunnel, Sayonara no Deguchi (2022) – Plot and Characters
- Natsu e no Tunnel, Sayonara no Deguchi (2022) – Evaluation and Summary
Natsu e no Tunnel, Sayonara no Deguchi (2022) – Audiovisual Design
It was the first anime by the CLAP studio that I had the opportunity to watch. When I looked at their portfolio, I understood why. They were basically only involved in films. Four films, one of which was about male idols, so completely outside my circle of interest. The quality of the visuals is sensational. Beautiful backgrounds, very nice character design, all tied together by good composition. I must also commend one detail during the events of the summer festival that caught my eye. Specifically, the fireworks. True, they were done in CGI, It has been the norm for almost two decades now. But I have not seen such nice-looking fireworks anywhere else in modern anime.
I also liked the color play. Strongly emphasizing the mood of the scenes and playing an important role in the symbolism. More on this a bit below.
The creators have opted for lesser-known actors in the leading roles. Quite new faces, you could say, when it comes to roles in anime. I’m always curious to see how the newcomers in the main roles will do. In this case (as usual, anyway), I hasten to inform you that I was not surprised. The level of voice acting and the rendering of the characters’ characters came off brilliantly.
The soundtrack is hardly memorable. It fits perfectly into the background, but has no listenability value outside the film.
Natsu e no Tunnel, Sayonara no Deguchi (2022) – Plot and Characters
Natsu e no Tunnel, Sayonara no Deguchi caught my interest from a friend of mine who sent me one scene. However, this was not the deciding factor. When I looked at the tags and saw romance, drama and sci-fi. The description clearly outlined to me that I would be dealing with a material about playing with time. I knew I had to watch it. I just want to point out that I am not familiar with the source material (light novel). I’m only evaluating the movie.
A quick look at the plot
Touno Kaoru’s life turned into a nightmare after the tragic death of his younger sister, with whom he had a strong relationship. The situation led to his parents’ divorce, which in turn sparked his father’s alcoholism. The boy lived aimlessly from day to day. One day he meets a mysterious girl at the train station whom he has never seen before. After a short conversation, he exchanges an email address with her. That is where his contact with Hanashiro Anzu ends. It soon turns out that she becomes the new student at his school. Moreover, she has been assigned to Kaoru’s class.
That same day, after a sharp confrontation with his drunken father, he runs out of the house and discovers a mysterious tunnel. Confused by what he sees inside, he runs away, picking up a parrot that looks identical to his long-dead pet on the way.
Once outside, Kaoru realises that despite spending only a few dozen seconds in the tunnel, a whole week has passed. That’s when she recalls the rumours of the “Urashima Tunnel.” A passage that grants wishes in exchange for the passage of time. Kaoru begins to wonder if another visit could help make his dream come true. Upon returning to the tunnel entrance the next day, the boy notices that he has been followed by Anzu. She also knows about the rumours and asks him to help with the experiment. It turns out that she also has a wish that can only be fulfilled in this mysterious place.
What the movie is about
Natsu e no Tunnel, Sayonara no Deguchi shows an interesting reflection on the phenomenon of time dilation. However, it focuses primarily on showing the consequences of this phenomenon. A phenomenon that occurs in physics and has been proven and also a phenomenon often explored in the Sci-Fi genre. In this case, the author took a very original approach to the subject. It was shown with the help of a supernatural and very mysterious place. We are talking about the Urashima Tunnel, which grants wishes in exchange for consuming huge amounts of time from the outside world – and thus everything the entrant is connected to.
The gradual unraveling of the mystery of the tunnel, combined with the occasional introspective conversations between Hanashiro and Touno, is not only important from a character development perspective, but also a stark warning against the passage of time – the past is immutable, and trying to change it will only lead to the loss of the present.
Personally, I love such concepts and from the very first minutes of the film I was convinced that it would find a special place in my memories.
The vast majority of screen time in the film is devoted to Touno Kaoru and Hanashiro Anzu. It is a movie about them and their unique bond. It is true that they occasionally interact with others, but this does not change the fact that the filmmakers clearly wanted to show and develop the theme of the deep feelings binding them. This is evident right from the opening seconds of the film, where their first meeting already ignited their feelings.
Kaoru and Anzu influence each other in a very positive way. Kaoru gives Anzu confidence, while Anzu gives Kaoru a sense of life and action with her presence. At first, they do not realise how much they have in common. They both only realise it when the time of separation comes and longing literally tears them apart from the inside.
What could be done better
This is where I would like to make my main complaint about this adaptation (even though I am not familiar with the original). The pacing of the film in places is very disruptive to the flow of the movie as a whole. The story presented in the film had the potential to emotionally devastate the viewer (in a positive way). However, it takes time to explore the characters’ emotions.
The way the plot accelerated towards the end of the film, unfortunately, somewhat missed the potential to be remembered as a brilliant drama. Far too little time was devoted towards showing despair. Of course – this can be explained by the fact that the whole thing was shown from the perspective of the person entering the tunnel. And this is absolutely not a bad argument. Nevertheless, I would have been even more impressed by the film if the filmmakers had decided to extend the whole by even twenty extra minutes.
Natsu e no Tunnel, Sayonara no Deguchi made use of quite a few background elements to depict the emotional state, the feelings connecting the characters and the general atmosphere. These included planes in the sky set against each other at different angles and distances. There were also motifs of stations and railway crossings or seasons. In addition, there were also some less obvious things. Such as the same shots of flowers blooming and wilting. Or even fish in an oceanarium reflecting the feelings of the characters.
The brilliant play of color and light further emphasized this. There was a lot going on in the background. It’s really worth paying attention to these details. These elements that are like spices for this film when cooking.
The manga on the main character’s shelves are real titles. Quite a few items from Flower Comics, a publisher that specializes in publishing shoujo manga. I even have one of the titles seen in the screenshot below in my collection (Bokura ga Ita).
Another interesting fact is the table in the cafe where the main characters went. It is a table that is at the same time a slot machine with the game Galaxian. Or rather, its clone for the Japanese market – Moon Base. More on this subject was said by The 8Bit Guy on his channel. I recommend his video on the subject, as he did it better than I would have been able to. From the simple fact that he physically owns the equipment.
I’m glad that the makers of Natsu e no Tunnel, Sayonara no Deguchi decided to show this device – that way I know what use it had.
Natsu e no Tunnel, Sayonara no Deguchi (2022) – Evaluation and Summary
Despite the problems with pacing, I am able to appreciate the efforts of the creators. The characters and the story presented are able to stand out strongly. The visuals are a feast for the eyes. Admittedly, the ending would have been much more satisfying (that’s not to say that it isn’t, as it is) if more time had been devoted to the exploration of the characters’ despair, as this would have more firmly bound the viewer emotionally. Nevertheless, I am able to accept the film as it was completed. It is possible that in the future I will pick up the source material to get to know the characters better. However, this will take place in the further rather than nearer future. In conclusion, I can say with a clear conscience that Natsu e no Tunnel, Sayonara no Deguchi is a must-see item for fans of this type of story.
Which translation do I recommend to watch Natsu e no Tunnel, Sayonara no Deguchi (2022)
- TakaNishi (Spubs) – good translation. I have basically nothing to complain about. If I had to invent something, it would perhaps be the fact that there is no translation of the opening and endings songs. There is only a romaji transcription. However, in terms of the translation itself – I have not been able to find anything else that I can wholeheartedly recommend.