Blue Giant

Blue Giant
Blue Giant
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Anime is fast gaining popularity, to the extent that the original TV shows are now being turned into successful live-action adaptations. Take a look at the ever-running One Piece for instance. On the other hand, hit manga series have been translated from page to screen like Blue Giant and one of them will be shown at selected cinemas this week. Yuzuru Tachikawa (Mob Psycho 100, Death Parade) directs Blue Giant, which is bound to resonate with every young musician – and anyone else who dares to dream. With electrifying music numbers and an explosive jazz score, cinephiles will not want to miss Blue Giant in all shapes and sizes.

Blue giant” is a term that describes stars in space so hot that they seem blue instead of red. The so-called “shining star” here is Dai (voiced by Yûki Yamada), a teenager who plays basketball until his life comes crashing down when he happens upon jazz at a bar near him. And then he stops playing basketball and goes off to Tokyo for good. There is no school here; Dai just picks up a tenor saxophone and immediately starts practicing, aiming for stardom.

However as they say it’s easier said than done though in reality it isn’t simple like it sound because Day must do manual labor during the daytime while living with his friend Tamada (Amane Okayama) under cramped conditions in expensive Tokyo. However Day has such an awful lot going on for him that Blue Giant does work as both film (manga too). It’s really only his likability because of how determined and goodhearted Dai always was which helps make Blue Giant successful as a movie among many other reasons we could mention about this fine anime adaptation). Also one of the waitresses called Akiko-san falls for his charm instantly so she recommends him to this live music venue because why not? To start with, she is astonished to learn that Dai can connect her business’s music with the weather patterns; “I love jazz because it’s passionate and intense,” Dai also says at one point.

Yet, it’s at another joint that deals in music where he meets Yukinori (Shôtarô Mamiya), a gifted musician who plays numerous instruments including piano. For one thing, Yukinori looks like an arrogant musician at start but eventually he agrees to help make a three-piece jazz band with him and Tamada turned into more serious interest in drumming. They are 18 years old after all so their ambitions radiate from them as they leap out of the screen. JASS is their band name and although they bomb on their first performance, the group start getting some attention around town.

In an interesting way, Blue Giant has flash-forward sections where each of the three band members (now older) reminisce about this turning point in a kind of talking-head documentary way and this is happening more frequently in films as a clever device. However, cooler still are the live performance sequences when JASS takes to the stage around town. They are so different that someone in one part of the story starts calling them “tomorrow’s jazz.” The excitement you feel can be likened to Pixar’s Soul, which won an Oscar. More so, it is actually evocative of music videos – there’s a rapid rhythmic cutting between each musician just going nuts with their instruments while Yukinori bangs out piano solos. Some of the songs they jam seem to go on forever — but in a good way, not in the kind where my butt falls asleep.

But let us not forget that all this constitutes a captivating plot and thus these main characters go through hell despite their ultimate triumph at various levels. They have their rival group Act whom are always trying to steal away attention from JASS. Then again, Yukinori is talented enough such that he gets very attractive offers from better known bands making him split up JASS this results into fights among them. At some point tragedy happens leaving one band member badly injured.

This is another part of Blue Giant where its heart really shines through, as the other two contemplate what to do and how to carry on without him or her – third leg off our tripod? It feels much like any number of other sports movies; for example Gary who was captain Remember the Titans for his team. This doesn’t mean that Blue Giant isn’t an original story itself which challenges our anticipation concerning plot development while changing music into something universal: just follow your heart whatever may happen.

Personally I did however play saxophone for two years at some point though I foolishly stopped doing it because I got interested in other things. How I wish that wasn’t the case, since Blue Giant introduces a whole new world of anime and film enthusiasts. Just think you can be it!

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