By Jana Monji, AsAmNews Arts & Culture Reporter
The animated short Summer Ghost is a pensive 40-minutes about life and death and friendships between three people who band together and seek a rumored apparition named “Summer Ghost.”
When the film begins, a year has passed since three high school-aged people have been together. The two boys are seniors. The girl is a junior. Of the two, the one who instigated their meeting, Tomoya Sugisaki 杉崎友也 (voiced by Chiaki Kobayashi), is studying hard for college entrance exams. The other, Ryō Kobayashi 小林涼 (Nobunaga Shimazaki) has recently given up basketball. The girl Aoi Harukawa 春川あおい (Miyuri Shimabukuro) is often bullied at school.
In a flashback, they remember their first time they met and came out to an old abandoned airport, attempting to summon the ghost. The ghost does appear and they learn her name is Ayane Satō 佐藤絢音 (Rina Kawaei). She tells them, “Only those meddling with the idea of death” can see her. The film then gently explores why each of the three is contemplating death and why Ayane appears and the nature of her death, which was rumored to be a suicide.
This is a gentle ghost story about life choices and friendship with a thoughtful statement on suicide.
The film made its international premiere at the Leeds International Film Festival in England on the same day (12 November 2021) that it was released in Japan. The film was shown in Los Angeles are part of the Animation Is Film festival 2022. The film is currently available to stream on Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube and Vudu.
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