Blu-ray Review: Liz and The Blue Bird

When we talk of a musical animated movie, the mind goes straight for Disney flicks with cute characters breaking out into songs that will win Oscars and haunt you for the rest of your life. Crabs, snowmen and princesses break from the action to let their voices rise. Liz and the Blue Bird is an animated film about music and magic animals. But the music comes from the instruments of two girls and their classmates in the school band.

Nozomi (Nao Toyama) and Mizore (Atsumi Tanezaki) have been friends for a longtime, but things are getting awkward since their senior year in high school is coming to an end. The two girls are going to separate college plans. Fears rise as to what will happen to their friendship with such drastic changes approaching. The two girls are a little bit different Nozomi plays the the flute and is an extrovert. Mizore is a very introverted oboist. But the duo even each other out as they hang out in the bandroom. Nozomi has found an old picture book that she liked so much called “Liz and the Bluebird” about a girl in the countryside who meets a bluebird that becomes a girl with blue hair. She wants to be friends forever with her magical pal. Although this doesn’t seem like an easy thing to happen. The fantasy story and the high school tale mingles as the girls deal with the last performance they’ll ever play. They have to be in perfect sync to make the song work, but can they get back in tune as they fear the future?

Liz and the Blue Bird is a sweet teen movie that is illustrated so elegantly. There’s a pure beauty to the characters and their world. The magical fairytale adds to the “reality” story instead of distracts. The characters delve into what the book means to them so that it informs their life. There’s a gentle tone that doesn’t betray the emotions between the characters. Director Naoko Yamada and his crew keep things gentle and lush. The fingers and instruments move rather realistically during the class orchestra moments. This makes the girls seem so real on the screen so you don’t feel like you’re watching a cartoon. Liz and the Blue Bird is great film if you’re pondering what you’ll do when your friends go off to different colleges after high school.

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The transfer brings out the soft charms of the school girls in their uniforms. The audio is 5.1 DTS Master Audio for both the Japanese and the English translation. The subtitles include the English SDH and original language version.

DVD with the movie at a lower resolution.

Shout! Factory presents Liz and the Blue Bird. Directed by Naoko Yamada. Screenplay by: Reiko Yoshida. Starring: Atsumi Tanezaki, Nao Toyama & Miyu Honda. Rated: Not. Running Time: 90 minutes. Released: March 5, 2019.

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