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Anime / Hello World

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Hello World (ハロー・ワールド) is a 2019 Japanese science fiction and romantic drama animated feature film directed by Tomohiko Itou (ERASED, Occult Academy, the first two seasons of Sword Art Online) and produced by Graphinica. It was released in Japan on September 20, 2019, with subbed releases in Southeast Asia in the following weeks.

Naomi Katagaki is a shy, bookish Japanese high schooler living in Kyoto in 2027. Nothing in his life prepares him for how, chasing a Crow that stole his book, he comes into contact with an older man who claims to be himself from 10 years in the future and reveals that the world the younger Naomi knows is really a simulation run on the ALLTALE computer system built to preserve Kyoto's history.

A short time in the future, Naomi will fall in love with his hitherto cold, unapproachable classmate Ruri Ichigyou, only for the budding romance to come to an abrupt halt due to a lightning strike during a festival. The older Naomi has come back to the past in an attempt to avert that fate and give an instance of himself the happiness he could never have.

Gifted the older Naomi's foreknowledge and a matter-manipulating glove called the "Hand of God", the younger Naomi must save Ruri from the impending disaster. ALLTALE is no mere passive player back of the past, however, and its homeostatic system will not tolerate this interference; the younger Naomi has his work cut out for him.

A three-episode spinoff anime, Another World, began release September 13, 2019. Comprised of three 10-minute shorts, "Record 2027", "Record 2032" and "Record 2036", it expands on how things went for older Naomi in the original timeline.

This film contains examples of the following:

  • 20 Minutes into the Future: Set seven years from its release year.
  • Alien Sky: The first sign of things getting weird is the appearance of an orange aurora in the sky. It comes back when 2027 Kyoto is getting deleted and restored, and younger Naomi in the space between worlds goes all the way to Ant-Man or Dr Strange levels of acid trip.
  • Ambushing Enemy: Homeostatic system programmes can appear out of walls and pretty much anything nonliving in the environment.
  • Big Damn Heroes: When the homeostatic system programmes are trying to eliminate Ruri and older Naomi, younger Naomi shows up and stops them.
  • Big Damn Kiss: After not one but two Almost Kisses, younger Naomi and Ruri finally get to kiss at the end.
  • Boxing Lessons for Superman: Younger Naomi accumulates an ever-growing pile of science books as he grapples with mastering the Hand of God.
  • Clock Roaches: It's technically diving into a digital record of the past rather than actual time travel, but the homeostatic system programmes serve the same function by trying to purge anomalies from the record of history.
  • Cue the Sun: In the ending, as Ruri and Naomi in 2027 contemplate their future together, the cloudy sky clears and gives way to sunshine.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Ruri becomes gradually more receptive to Naomi over the course of their interactions.
  • Determinator: Older Naomi took thousands of tries to develop a way of reaching his past self and suffered harm in the process, including one failure that left his back badly burnt and another where the feedback threw him out of his chair forcefully enough to be lame in one leg, but he persisted. He also worked his way up from a new employee at the ALLTALE lab to main systems director in 5 years, "Record 2032" establishing that this was the year he began work there.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Naomi holds Ruri after the lightning strike in this manner. Although it's later revealed Ruri was only struck into a coma in the original history, the depiction otherwise conforms to this.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Despite all the obstacles, Ruri and Naomi eventually get together. Both the 2027 simulation incarnations and the real world ones.
  • The Eiffel Tower Effect: Fushimi Inari Shrine is where older Naomi first appears in the 2027 simulation and the final battle takes place at Kyoto Station, with Kyoto Tower being weaponised.
  • The Ending Changes Everything: Immediately before the credits, we are shown another synchronisation meter filling up and the thought-deleted older Naomi waking up from a coma to be greeted by an older Ruri. The film then shows this is happening on the moon. Immediately, all the allegedly historical events depicted as captured and replicated by ALLTALE, even before the alterations caused by both Naomis, become suspect in their veracity.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Naomi is shown prominently reading a physical book the very first time he appears onscreen, something he keeps up even amongst his phone-using fellow inhabitants of Kyoto. He also tries and fails to work on his assertiveness.
    • Ruri in turn is demonstrated to be even more out of touch than him by having difficulty using a smartphone and giving him her snail mail address. She is also shown to be very blunt.
  • Final First Hug: In the original timeline, Ruri and Naomi never got to be physically affectionate before the lightning strike. Before she heads down the stairs at Kyoto Station to undergo conversion back to the 2027 simulation, Ruri hugs older Naomi, thanks him and bids him farewell. He breaks down in tears afterwards.
  • Gainax Ending: The scene immediately before the credits revealing that there is another layer of reality above the 2037 one, but offering no further explanation, just leaves the viewer with so many unanswered questions.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Older Naomi smiles at the younger him while getting deleted.
  • Godzilla Threshold:
    • When the homeostatic system programmes make their final, desperate attempt to thwart Ruri's salvation, older Naomi tells younger Naomi to forget about The Masquerade and not hold back. Out comes the black hole.
    • Subverted against the homeostatic system programme kaiju. Younger Naomi wants to bust out another black hole, but is denied by the Crow because it will cause too much damage.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: Xu, the sole Chinese member of the ALLTALE staff, occasionally lapses into her mother tongue.
  • Heroic Mime: Downplayed in "Record 2036", where older Naomi spends much of the short not saying a word and his lines are rendered in text like in a silent movie.
  • Impostor Forgot One Detail: As awoken-from-coma older Ruri and older Naomi are about to kiss, she asks him about the important book in their memory, and his failure to answer correctly reveals to her that he's not the Naomi she knew.
  • Improvised Weapon: When told by his older self to create a weapon, younger Naomi creates a book, which he later attaches an energy tether to as a sort of Epic Flail.
  • In the Hood: Older Naomi's outfit in the simulation includes a white hooded coat, which he initially has up.
  • Inside a Computer System: 2027 Kyoto as younger Naomi knows it is a simulation. 2037 too as it turns out.
  • Invisible to Normals: Older Naomi cannot be seen by the other residents of the simulation.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The limited edition Blu-Ray packaging contains a very big spoiler for the ending.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: The fox-masked homeostatic system programmes.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • During their talk while taking a break from transporting books to the used book sale, younger Naomi tells Ruri that he likes reading science fiction because it transports him to an extension of reality, one where he is an extra to the goings-on. Later, as Ruri prepares to undergo conversion and return to the 2027 simulation, she asks older Naomi who he is, and he says that he's not the real Naomi, merely an extra.
    • After Ruri is kidnapped by older Naomi, younger Naomi desperately begs for a means of transport: A car, a motorbike, even a bicycle. Later on, the Crow asks him if he wants a motorbike or car and he goes for the bicycle because he can't drive.
  • Monumental Damage: The homeostatic system programme kaiju tears off the top of the Kyoto Tower, with visitors still inside, and attempts to throw it at Kyoto Station where the Naomis are.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Older Naomi speaks dramatically about ALLTALE while at the riverbank, making it seem as though he's leading up to some very serious reason for intervening in the past... and then he tells younger Naomi that he's there to get the younger him a girlfriend.
    • In "Record 2036", after the attempt to enter the simulation that burns older Naomi's back, we are shown a comedic barbecue sequence with the ALLTALE staff, which then transitions into a serious scene of after older Naomi gets crippled in a leg due to another failure.
  • More Expendable Than You: Older Naomi determines that the homeostatic system programmes are trying to delete Ruri and one of the Naomis as unneeded duplicate data and tells the younger him to delete him. Despite the younger him's initial reluctance, after he Takes The Bullet, younger Naomi tearfully Mercy Kills him.
  • Not What It Looks Like:
    • While picking up his dropped book, younger Naomi bumps headfirst into Ruri's butt and gets slapped for it.
    • In "Record 2036", when older Naomi tries to prevent Xu from cleaning his lab so as to hide his experiments to enter the simulation, she thinks it's because he's hiding lewd material.
  • Porn Stash: Older Naomi has the Crow knock over a box containing his younger self's collection of sensitive material as part of his attempt to get younger Naomi to go along with the plan.
  • Psychic Nosebleed: Younger Naomi starts bleeding from the nose from the strain of using the Hand of God to fight the homeostatic system programs kaiju.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Older Naomi is quite stoic, but in "Record 2032", a character dismissing his efforts to revive Ruri as futile causes him to start shouting.
  • Recursive Reality: For much of the story, we are led to believe that 2027 Kyoto is the simulation and 2037 Kyoto is the real world. Cracks start appearing in this facade when the homeostatic system programmes show up in 2037 Kyoto to eliminate older Naomi and the awakened Ruri and younger Naomi regains the ability to use the Hand of God. At the very end, it turns out that 2037 Kyoto is itself a simulation when older Naomi awakens from a coma of his own to be greeted by an older Ruri from within a Moon habitat.
  • The Reveal: Ruri as older Naomi knows was not actually killed, merely struck into a coma, and older Naomi wants his younger self to save her in the simulation so that he can use the altered data to revive her.
  • Roof Hopping: Older Naomi does this to get around Kyoto in a hurry.
  • Rule of Symbolism: In Shinto, it is believed that torii serve to separate the realms of the sacred and profane. It is thus entirely apt that older Naomi first appears in the simulation in the midst of the Fushimi Inari Shrine's 1000 torii, and also that the devices Ruri has to pass through to be converted back to the 2027 simulation resemble torii.
  • Scenery Gorn: The sight of buildings and vehicles disintegrating as 2027 Kyoto is deleted is profoundly unsettling.
  • See-Thru Specs: Younger Naomi is provided with a pair of sunglasses that he initially needs to see homeostatic system programmes.
  • Taking the Bullet: Older Naomi puts himself in the way of swords fired by the homeostatic system programmes at his younger self.
  • Throwing Off the Disability: Older Naomi forces his crippled leg to work long enough to throw himself in the way of aforementioned swords fired by the homeostatic system programmes at his younger self.
  • Tragic Keepsake: In "Record 2032", older Naomi is shown having framed the bookmark he got from Ruri.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: "Record 2032" actually starts in 2034, but rewinds to 2032 shortly after the beginning.
  • Zerg Rush: The homeostatic system programmes have no ranged attacks at least none shown outside the kaiju form or grasp of tactics, but their numbers are seemingly endless.