Lu Over the Wall (Yoake Tsugeru Lu no Uta) is a 2017 anime fantasy film directed by Masaaki Yuasa and produced by Science SARU. It tells the story of Ordinary Middle School Student Kai Ashimoto and his encounter with a mermaid, the titular Lu.
Kai lives in Hinashi Town, a lonely fishing village, with his father and his grandfather, a parasol maker. He used to live in Tokyo, but after his parents divorced he moved back to his parent's home town. Kai has trouble telling his parents the complicated feelings he has for them, and he's lonely and pessimistic about his school life. One of his only joys is uploading songs he writes to the internet.
One day, his classmates Kunio and Yuho invite him to join their band, "SEIRÈN". As he reluctantly follows them to Mermaid Island, their practice spot which the rest of the townsfolk avoid, they meet Lu, a mermaid girl. Lu is attracted to their music and soon develops a close bond with Kai. As Kai begins to spend time with her, he starts to be able to say what it is that he's really thinking. Though of course, nothing is ever that simple. Especially when you live in a town that considers mermaids a curse.
The film opened to positive reception from critics and audiences and won the Ōfuji Noburō Award and the Annecy International Cristal award for best feature film.
Lu Over the Wall provides examples of the following tropes:
- Art Shift: See Deranged Animation.
- Cast of Snowflakes: As per the course for Masaaki Yuasa.
- Chekhov's Gun: Kai's grandpa makes umbrellas, and states how important umbrellas are in life. Umbrellas are everywhere in this film.
- Cute, but Cacophonic: Yuho's singing is not exactly praised by those who hear it.
- Deranged Animation: Mostly during the underwater scenes and flashbacks.
- Elemental Hair: Lu has hair made of seawater, to match her water control powers.
- Genki Girl: Lu herself.
- Heroes Want Redheads: Inverted with Kai and Yuho: she wants him, but it doesn't seem to be requited.
- Interspecies Romance: Between Lu, the mermaid girl, and Kai, a simple middle school student.
- It's All About Me: The flaw that both Kai and Yuho have to admit to and overcome for their Character Development.
- Love Confession: Kai gives that one to Lu, near to the end of movie, and judging by her reaction, it was mutual.
- The Magic Goes Away: With the destruction of the rock that shadows their bay and protects them from the sunlight, the merpeople must leave Hinashi at the end of the movie.
- Making a Splash: All the merfolk can control water.
- Non-Standard Character Design: Lu is drawn and animated in a much more cartoonish way with more exaggarated facial expressions than any of the human characters.
- Older Than They Look: The merpeople don't appear to age once they're bitten.
- Our Mermaids Are Different: The merfolk in Lu come in all shapes and sizes, can turn other creatures into mermaids with their bites and are killed by sunlight, vampire style.
- Papa Wolf: Both Lu's papa and Yuho's father rush to save their daughters when their in danger, even though in the latter's case she was fine all along.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Begins idealistic, slides into cynicism and then returns to idealism for a happy ending.
- Spoiled Sweet: Yuho, mostly. She does have one or two moments of being a plain Spoiled Brat but she gets over them quickly.
- Two Guys and a Girl: SEIRÈN consists of Kai, Kunio and Yuho.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Lu's papa, a giant shark/whale man, only attracts one of two odd looks and remarks from the townspeople before they accept him.
- Visual Pun: The "dog-fish".
- Weaksauce Weakness: The merpeople burn up in sunlight. The only reason they can stay in the bay in Hinashi Town is because of the shadows cast by the cliff.
- Youkai: Ningyo are technically youkai.