“The Night is Short, Walk On Girl” plays at MFA Japanese film festival

On Valentine’s Day, the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) screened the film “The Night is Short, Walk On Girl” as a part of the Boston Festival of Films from Japan. The movie, which was played in Japanese with English subtitles, dazzled people in the theater with phenomenal animation.

The Remis Auditorium, which can accommodate up to 400 people, was packed with a diverse audience just minutes before the film started. As the lights dimmed, the crowd was pulled into the mind of director Masaaki Yuasa.

The film follows two nameless Japanese college students on a surreal, bizarre and intriguing night out in Kyoto, Japan. The female protagonist is referred to as both Kōhai (“Junior”) and Kurokami no otome (“girl with black hair”), while the male protagonist is referred to as Senpai (“Senior”). Senpai wants to confess his romantic interest in Kōhai, but is kept apart from her for most of the night.

After partying with other college students at a club, Kōhai, after consuming many alcoholic drinks, strolls around Kyoto alone at night. Over the course of the evening she meets several intriguing characters, including Rihaku, a supernatural being.

Meanwhile, Senpai encounters a number of obstacles to retrieve a copy of Kōhai’s favorite childhood book “Ratatatam,” in hopes of winning her heart.

Originally released in Japan in April 2017, “Night is Short, Walk On Girl” quickly earned the praise of many critics and won the Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year. It was released to the United States in August, 2018.

The animation’s vivid colors created a sense of hallucination for the audience as they experience the mysterious dream-like night alongside the characters.

Yuasa’s use of high contrasting colors on cocktail drinks, bright city lights and neon signs was remarkable. The brightness of those scenes set against the dark night was wonderfully shown.

The romantic comedy was filled with a number of funny moments. As the characters navigate bizarre situations and humorous adventures, the venue was filled with laughter. The story’s comedic atmosphere kept the film fast-paced and upbeat.

The flu spreading from Rihaku to other characters demonstrated that all the events are connected and everything happens for a reason. The film also depicted the mental growth and development of Senpai, who put himself outside of his comfort zone in order to get Kōhai to notice him.

The 92-minute animation showcased a beautiful night in Kyoto by depicting the traditional Japanese atmosphere of the city. It offered an opportunity to show an often overlooked aspect of Japan.

The Boston Festival of Films from Japan succeeded in introducing Japanese culture to a new crowd. The festival will continue at the MFA until Feb. 28.