Directed by Satomi Maiya and Yutaro Kubo, The Girl From the Other Side is a heartwarming tale of a blossoming friendship between someone presented as a monster and an innocent young girl. The movie is based on the captivating manga of the same name, written and illustrated by Nagabe.
The film begins without any introduction, launching viewers straight into a fast-paced and sprawling look at a dark forest. The Outside, where those who are Cursed reside, is full of overgrown trees and thick canopies that block out even the moonlight. A young child named Shiva finds herself lost in the Outside, but a Cursed being rescues her and brings her to a haven. While Cursed are known to be dangerous creatures who can turn others into Cursed through touch, Shiva’s savior is unlike the others. His gentle and considerate nature easily earns Shiva’s trust and respect, as she decides to call him Teacher. Together, the two embark on a journey of self-discovery and build a strong relationship.
Animated by WIT Studio, The Girl From the Other Side brings a unique art style to the big screen, With slight movements even in still moments in every frame, the film is like a fairytale storybook brought to life. The film is animated in a way that shows small details in a hazy way. Rather than using several broad strokes of color to depict shadows, for example, it implements small, thin lines shaded together for a shadow, as if creating a sketch or painted canvas. The art style is perfectly adapted from the manga and sets the tone for the film.
While the story may feel predictable, it is still told in a way that is enchanting. The film is driven by scenes of Shiva and Teacher just conversing and going about their day together, which may seem mundane but are sweet interactions that inspire simple delight. Without giving too much away for those unfamiliar with the source material, the story of Shiva and Teacher is one that is touching, and one that will linger in your mind. One scene that perfectly encapsulates the nature of the protagonists’ relationship is when Teacher questions Shiva about whether she is afraid of him. When she flips the question on him, Shiva reveals how her innocent mind works and how Teacher is simply a lonely soul seeking companionship.
With a meaningful storyline and beautiful animation that mimics the original manga, “The Girl From the Other Side” is definitely well worth the watch.