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Anime / Ni no Kuni

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An animated film adaptation of Ni no Kuni produced by OLM and Warner Bros. It was released in Japan on August 23, 2019. It's an original story, heavily inspired by the premise of the original Ni no Kuni, instead of a direct or close adaptation. Netflix picked the film up as an 'Original' and streamed it on January 16, 2020.

The movie is about high school friends Yu (Kento Yamazaki) and Haru (Mackenyu) who travel between the real world and a parallel fantasy universe to help their friend Kotona (Mei Nagano), whose life is in danger after she is stabbed by a mysterious assailant.

This movie provides examples of:

  • The Ace: Haru is shown to be one. He is the star played on the basketball team, is good looking (based on all the girls who swarm over him after he wins the basketball game) and is implied to have good grades.
  • All Just a Dream: After Yu heals Princess Astrid Haru believes everything that happened to be a dream.
  • Ambiguous Situation: In the recent past, Evermore attacked and destroyed a neighboring kingdom called Beladon. The current Evermore king Fidelius Astrum stated his father had a reason to, but no explanation is given.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: Regarding the setting of the Ni No Kuni world. The movie begins showing an old man heavily implied to be Oliver. In the otherworld, Yu and Haru arrive in a kingdom called Evermore. It is ambiguous how much time passed between the events of the games, and the movie, especially since the second game implied several hundred years passed since the first one.
    • Possibly Narnia Time is in effect.
  • Anti-Magic: Yu is somehow able to remove the blade infecting Princess Astrid, by removing the evil aura around the blade allowing him to pull it out.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Yu and Haru during the mock sword arena match, which turns out to be a real sword battle.
  • Back from the Dead: The former prince Sedulus Astrum returned as Gnauss Wisden and Galeroth Felgrimm using alchemy and demons to do so. He had been killed by his father using Mornstar.
  • Big Bad: The former prince Sedulus Astrum, acting as the Big Bad Duumvirate of Gnauss Wisden and Galeroth Felgrimm.
  • Big Damn Heroes: After being knocked down by Galeroth in his One-Winged Angel form, Mornstar was knocked away from Yu. Cue Haruto running up, grabbing Mornstar and impaling Galeroth from the top of his head through his chin.
  • Bittersweet Ending: After defeating the Big Bad Sedulus Astrum, Yu remains in the other world with Astrid. Haru is saddened that his best friend is gone forever but is happy that Yu is happy. It is more sweet than bitter.
    • Recursively for Evan. Even after the founding of Evermore, one of his successors led a war between Evermore and another country called Beladon. Despite founding Evermore for peace, there is still war and conflict later after he has passed.
  • But Now I Must Go: After the old man, implied to be Oliver, gives Yu his cane, which is really Mornstar, he returns to the hospital in the real world.
  • The Chick: Kotona. Her character arc mainly resolves around Haruto and Yu fighting over her, Haru to kill Astrid to save her and Yu to protect Astrid. Kotona herself has little say over the events and is just there for them to fight over. Astrid is a little better but not by much.
  • The Captain: Captain Bertha of the City Guards.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: The Black Banner armor amplifies the users strength. Haru finds this out when he attacks Evermore in the Black Banner armor. In truth, his armor is special armor Gnauss uses to control him.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: The old man in the beginning of the movie is trying to use his cane to cast a spell. The spell happens to be "Gateway", and the old man is heavily implied to be an older Oliver.
  • Connected All Along: When he was five, Yu met the old man attempting to use the 'Gateway' spell. In the same meeting, the old man tells Yu about the other world and counterparts. This pays off later when the old man gives Yu his cane, which turns out to be Mornstar.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: Compared to Shadar and the White Witch from the first game and Doloran from the second, Sedulus Astrum, aka Gnauss Wisden and Galeroth Felgrimm, is more of a Flat Character. While their evil actions are all fueled mainly by grief, Shadar, Cassiopeia and Doloran thought in their own way they were doing good. Shadar and Cassiopeia by removing emotions and Doloran trying to resurrect his lost love. Sedulus on the other hand is mainly concerned with revenge, though he says he is not, and is trying to overthrow Evermore and absorb the magic from his niece Astrid. Furthermore, he is the only villain who is not redeemed and is outright killed.
  • Cool Airship: The royal airship.
  • Continuity Nod: Many throughout the movie:
    • The main story takes place in Evermore, though there is no mention of Evan.
    • There is also a statue of King Tom.
    • Though the terminology is different, the concept of "soul mates" is in full effect.
    • Mornstar is used again.
  • Conveniently an Orphan: Yu' parents died in a plane crash when he was five years old. This resulted in him in needing a wheelchair. As Yu is actually from the other world, it is unknown how his parents actually died.
  • Court Mage: Magic Minister Gnauss Wisden. Actually the former prince Sedulus Astrum.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Haruto is quickly shown to be this way regarding Kotona. After she is stabbed and Yu falls on top of her while trying to help, Haru angrily asks why Yu is on top of her in the first place. He takes it even further when he decides to kill Astrid to save Kotona.
  • Dimensional Traveler: Par for the course with Ni No Kuni. The boys are somehow transported to the magical world in the middle of a near traffic accident and learn to jump back and forth. They are called "Wayfarers". It seems neither Yu or Haru could travel on their own. Galeroth/Sedulus was making them transport back and forth each time.
    • Later turns out Yu was a true Wayfarer and actually came from the other world in the first place. He was Haru's soul mate.
  • Doppelgänger: Another mainstay of the franchise. In the games they are called "soul mates" though the terminology is not used in the movie. Kotona and Princess Astrid are ones for each other, leading Yu and Haru to think Astrid is actually Kotona.
    • Yu points out Bertha looks like his sister Saki.
    • Three people that died in a traffic accident look exactly like Master Zeelok and his two assistants, who also died trying to cure Princess Astrid.
    • Yu turns out to be one for Haru.
  • Energy Absorption: To be specific, magic absorption is Sedelus's main goal to obtain power. He plans on absorbing the magical power Astrid has in order to become all powerful.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Haru, on the basketball team and during a game, is shown to be assertive, aggressive and a little hot headed. Yu, sitting on the sidelines and watching the game plans, is shown to be observant and calculating. This is exemplified when Yu chastises Haru that if Haru had taken his time in the game, he would have scored more points. Haru brushes him off.This leads them to ending up on different sides initially for the Battle for Evermore. Yu wants to protect Astrid and doesn't believe she has to die to save Kotona. Haru on the other hand doesn't wait to listen for an explanation and sides with the assassins trying to overthrow Evermore.
  • Expy: Gnauss Wisden, the royal advisor and Magic Minister, looks like a red haired version of Leander Arisides.
  • Freudian Excuse: The main reason for Sedelus' actions. He already felt his younger brother, Fidelius, was preferred over himself. He was given to a rival kingdom, Beladon, at a young age. There he was happy, married and had a family. Then, everything changed when his father, the then king of Evermore, attacked Beladon using Mornstar and destroyed Beladon, killing Sedulus's family. He then focused on taking over Evermore and gaining absolute power.
  • Genius Cripple: Yu, who has to use a wheelchair, is very intelligent.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Yu says this to Haru to convince him that killins Astrid is a bad idea. Thankfully, he starts to listen.
  • Happily Adopted: Yu. He was the only survivor of a place crash. His parents were killed and he ended up in a wheelchair at 5 years old. Saki is adoptive older sister and Yu comments she looks a lot like Captain Bertha.
  • Happily Married: Yu and Astrid end up together in the end. He is also crowned as a prince, signifying he married into royalty.
  • Healing Spring: The Lake of Purity, which heals Astrid of her stab wound.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Astrid offers for Yu to kill her to save Kotona. Yu refuses.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Inexplicably, there is a pole dancer in several scenes at a bar Yu and Haru go to to find information on the world they fell into.
  • I Choose to Stay: Yu stays in the other world with Astrid, as they had fallen in love with each other. This works out for him because Yu is actually from the other world in the first place and he belongs there.
  • Ill Girl: After Haru and Yu return to their world, Kotona is diagnosed with a malignant tumor and given 3 months to live. At the end of the movie, after saving Evermore and saving Astrid from her evil uncle, Kotona has the tumor surgically removed.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Haru kills Sedulus with Mornstar, impaling him straight through the head, from the brain through the bottom of his chin.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: To save Kotona, Haru decides to kill Astrid, her counterpart. He attempts to do this by joining the assassins the Black Banners who have been trying to overthrow Everemore.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: After Yu remains in the other world, everyone in the main world forgets about him. Except for Haru, his other self.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Haruto pulls a Face–Heel Turn and sides with the Black Banner assassins in his goal to kill Astrid to save his girlfriend Kotona.
  • Magic Misfire: Unfortunately for Master Zeelok. His cure rebounds from Astrid's curse and the doctor explodes in a puff of black smoke.
  • Magical Sensory Effect: Yu can sense magic. He uses this to detect that Gnauss had the same black magic scent as the dagger that cursed Astrid.
  • Manipulative Bastard: The former prince Sedulus Astrum manipulated the kingdom of Evermore as the magic minister Gnauss Wisden and attacked Evermore from the outside as Galeroth Felgrimm. All was part of his plan to take over the kingdom, and what he viewed as he rightful throne, and gain power.
  • Murder, Inc.: The assassin group the Black Banners, led by Galeroth.
  • Mythology Gag: Several throughout the movie:
    • The music used is the same from the game, such as the overworld music and the town theme songs.
    • There is a status of King Tom.
    • The location of the Black Castle looks very similar to the Miasma Marshes. Also the Black Castle itself looks like Shadar's castle.
  • No Body Left Behind: After Haru kills Galeroth with Mornstar, Galeroth's body dissapears into smoke and light.
  • One-Winged Angel: Sedulus, in his Galeroth persona, transforms himself into a gigantic demonic spider-dragon monster. Its large enough to grab and hold Astrid in his hand.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: The anime very briefly reveals that Haru's and Yu's full names are Haruto and Yusuke, respectively.
  • Passing the Torch: The old man gives Yu his cane. The cane turns out to be Mornstar. The old man comments its rare for someone worthy of Mornstar to appear in each generation.
  • Playing Both Sides: Sedulus Astrum, more specifically his alter egos Gnauss Wisden, the royal advisor, and Galeroth Felgrimm, leader of the Black Banners. Their goal is to take down Evermore; Gnauss from the inside and Galeroth from the outside.
  • Posthumous Sibling: Sedulus Astrum, the older brother of the current king Fidelius Astrum. He is actually still alive and split himself into Gnauss Wisden, the royal advisor, and Galeroth Felgrimm, leader of the Black Banners.
  • Professional Killer: All of the Black Banners. Of note are the Masked Man who starts the plot by stabbing Kotona and later attacks Saki, Yu's sister and their leader Galeroth.
  • Protective Charm: A Royal Aegis is supposed to protect Princess Astrid, and implied by extension other royalty. A fairy mentions anyone who does harm to the princess is supposed to suffer the same harm or injury. After The Reveal of who Gnauss really is, his body is shown to be damaged with the same curse wounds inflicted on Astrid.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Yu is blue and Haruto is red. Since they are each other's life-links, they each share part of the other's behaviors and personality.
  • Ret-Gone: After Yu decides to stay in the other world, all memories of him are erased from Haru's world. Haru is the only one who still remembers him, due to them being soul mates.
  • Someone Has to Die: Haru believes this to be the case for Astrid and Kotona. After healing Astrid, Kotona is diagnosed with cancer. Haru believes Astrid was supposed to die of her curse originally, and decides to kill her to save Kotona. Galeroth seemingly confirms this.
  • Split Personality: Much like Cassiopeia and Pea from the first game, Sedulus also has two different personas of Gnauss Wisden and Galeroth Felgrimm. Except in this case, both alternate personas are evil and are working together.
  • Spotting the Thread: Yu puts the pieces together and realizes Gnauss Wisden was the one who stabbed Astrid and put the curse on her in the first place. He would have known about the protective Royal Aegis and how to work around it, and would have been the only person close enough to actually try to kill her. Additionally, both the Black Hooded man and Galeroth say things to Yu and Haru, respectively, that they only said in front of Gnauss, further tipping them off.
  • Synchronization: As Yu figures out, what happens to one person in one world affects their counterpart in the other. This carries over to locations as well, such as during the Battle of Evermore, the hospital Kotona is at catches on fire as well. She is safe though. This is based on the games original concept of "soul mates."
  • The Good King: King Fidelius Astrum, father to Princess Astrid.
  • Thinking Up Portals: Yu figures this out for him and Haru to go back and forth between worlds. The issue is they have to trigger something dangerous for it to happen, such as jumping off a cliff. They automatically portal as a result.
  • Throwing Off the Disability: In the otherworld, Yu is suddenly able to get up and walk. He doesn’t even realize he is walking until Haru tells him he is. He really doesn’t make a big deal about this.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Haru realizes that Yu was his soul mate/other self from the other word, which explains why they are so similar. It only occurs to him after Yu stays in the other world, since he came from there in the first place and was returning to where he belonged.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: The two guys are Yu and Haru and the girl is Kotana, though Kotana and Haru are in a relationship together.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Galeroth attempts to use Haru as one to kill Astrid.
  • Wheelchair Woobie: Yu is this. He is shown sulking in his room, depressed he can’t go everywhere with his friends and is unlucky in love.
  • Witch Doctor: Master Zeelok and his associates were non-evil versions of this. They used dancing, chanting and incense to try to cure Princess Astrid. Unfortunately for them it backfires and they explode.
  • Wound That Will Not Heal: Princess Astrid is stabbed in the abdomen and under a curse that is spreading throughout her body. The curse is identified with a glowing purple mark on her abdomen with purple vines spreading throughout her body. The stab wound is in the same spot Kotona was stabbed in.