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Anime / The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl

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You can't trust people you meet at night.
"Those without Talent should use Effort! / Effort is Talent!"

A university student (Otome) decides to break away from a wedding reception after-party to go on a Kyoto nightlife adventure all her own filled with urban legend cocktails, possible tengus, and lovely coincidences.

Her smitten upperclassman (Senpai), who had planned to confess his feelings to her at said after-party, pursues the black-haired girl into the night on a farce plagued with criminal thugs, treacherous gods, and harebrained schemes crashing into one another.

Are all her fortunes fated? Are all his calamities coincidental?

A ribald and romantic evening awaits them both.

The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl is an anime film directed by Masaaki Yuasa and released in 2017. It's based on a novel by Tomihiko Morimi, author of The Tatami Galaxy (which Yuasa also directed an anime adaptation for). The film is meant to be a Spiritual Successor to The Tatami Galaxy, though while both works share the same university setting and some of the same characters, their plotlines are largely unrelated. The novel was given an official translation by Yen Press and released in 2019. In January 2021 the film was streamed on Max with an English dub. A stage play adaptation was performed in 2021 in Tokyo and Osaka, and a musical adaptation has also been produced.

Provides examples of:

  • The Ace: Otome is beautiful, rich, intelligent, lucky, and skilled in martial arts. Her pep, helpfulness, and ability to consume large quantities of alcohol make her very endearing to everyone she meets. The old solipsists outright call her "one of the most talented people in the last 100 years" after she gets them out of their funk.
  • Adaptational Timespan Change: The book spaces out its four big backdrops (wandering around Kyoto in a pub crawl, the used book fair, the Kyoto University school festival, and everyone coming down with a cold) as vignettes across one year linked together by Senpai's efforts to get together with his crush. In contrast, the movie opts to simply have all four events happen in one incredibly wild night for the main characters in order to streamline the narrative.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: The Director of the Festival gently calls the Otome out on this when she visits him, as she's still clueless that the Senpai is in love with her. The Otome agrees, noting that she's always after what piques her interest and can get too distracted to pick up on other people's feelings.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: The Director of the Festival has a habit of dressing up as a women and tricking men into falling in love with him, including Don Underwear, whose apple girl was just the Director in drag.
  • Big Bad: Rihaku for most of the film.
  • Break Them by Talking: Rihaku's usual tactic for winning drinking contests involves waiting for his opponent to have a few drinks in them already before combining this trope with his fearsome reputation to intimidate them into losing.
  • Butt-Monkey: Senpai.
  • The Cameo: Kai, Yuho, and Kunio can be seen in the background at one point.
  • Central Theme: Coincidence vs Fate. While Senpai believes that everything that happens is fate pushing him and his crush towards each other, including his own actions to make them meet more often around campus, but Otome simply believes these things to be coincidences and is happy to navigate through life being surprised by them. They seem to reach a middle ground in the end where they understand that while the random events that happened and that made them get close to each other are brushed as coincidences, the fact that they did get together is fate.
  • Classical Anti-Hero: Senpai is plain, poor, unlucky, and does so-so at school. His gloom, selfishness, and inability to hold his liquor make him rather unpopular with just about everyone, and the trio he forms with his only two friends is often at odds with itself.
  • Contemplate Our Navels: Both the Solipsist Club members and alumni are depicted as pedantic and listless in how often they argue and brood.
  • Continuity Nod: There are several direct references to The Tatami Galaxy in both the book and film.
    • Higuchi and Hanuki return in both versions of the story as major supporting characters who befriend Otome.
    • Act 47 of the guerilla theater's play about Princess Daruma have her confront a character from The Tatami Galaxy; in the book, it's Aijima and in the film, it's Jougasaki, with a further reference included to his beloved doll Kaori.
    • The book refers to the Eccentric King's final set piece as an inescapable prison consisting of 4.5 tatami mats, an allusion to the Epiphanic Prison that story's protagonist was eventually subjected to. Furthermore, Princess Daruma and the Eccentric King declare they'll go out and seize that rose-colored campus life as the final lines of the play.
    • Higuchi mentions that the only other treasure besides the Junpero drug that he's ever sought for is the Kamenoko Scrub Brush, which he only obtained in one loop of The Tatami Galaxy.
    • The film has several dozen clips of The Tatami Galaxy playing in the background as security footage to demonstrate the School Festival Committee's reach.
    • Both the Sophistry Debate Club and School Festival Director are fleshed out here, after previously being mentioned by the narrator of The Tatami Galaxy as being under the thumb of the Lucky Cat Chinese Restaurant secret organization.
  • Cool Big Sis: Otome references her older sister who taught her many life lessons and bits of philosophy that she still uses today several times throughout the story, but said sister never actually shows up in the story.
  • Dirty Old Man:
    • Toudou, who is old enough to be Otome's father, tries to grope her breasts when they first meet. He's also part of a club that collects vintage erotic prints.
    • Rihaku often has his thugs attack young men and steal their pants/underwear.
  • Expy: While they superficially resemble the Protagonist and Akashi from The Tatami Galaxy, Senpai and Otome are very much their own people.
  • Happily Married: Naoko and Akagawa, whose marriage provides the first setting for the story as both Senpai and Otome attend the wedding and later get swept up in post-nuptial celebrations.
  • Hidden Depths: While she comes across as The Ditz to initial observation, Otome's inner monologues are rather poetic.
  • Loving a Shadow: Don Underwear eventually admits that he's more in love with that sublime moment of coincidental connection vis-a-vis the apples falling on their heads at the same time than he is with the actual "Princess Daruma". Senpai fears that this might be the case with him and Otome as well.
  • Magical Realism: Gods and tengu mingle with ordinary humans, koi fish swarm in the sky to reunite with their depressed owner, and Senpai and Otome share a magical moment of flying in Kyoto's skies, but it's kept in the background and nobody really bats an eye at some of these incredible things happening.
  • MacGuffin: Three of them, each of which punctuates the film's main three acts/storylines. The Imitation Denki Bran, Otome's childhood copy of Ratatatam, and the miracle cold cure Junpero.
  • Meaningful Background Event: Hanuki drinking Rihaku's leftover alcohol in a fairly ignominious scene winds up getting most of the cast sick with his fever.
  • Meaningful Echo: Rihaku tells Otome "The night is short, walk on girl" in both meetings as they bond together and as a means of supporting her.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: In The Tatami Galaxy, Higuchi is implied to be the dual identity of the god who approaches the protagonist at the beginning of the story. In The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl, he claims to be a tengu. Of course, this is Higuchi, so if anyone could reasonably have a multiple-choice past, it would be him.
  • Mythology Gag: In his final monologue, Senpai mentions that this one night felt like it spanned a whole year, this is a reference to the Adaptational Timespan Change, as in the source material, the events took place over the course of a year.
  • Naked People Trapped Outside: Senpai gets his pants and underwear stolen by Rihaku's gang early on and spends the first half of the movie desperately trying to acquire some new ones, and there are a few gags where he's trying to cover himself with various objects such as a stool.
  • No Name Given: Even with Otome's name explicitly written on her childhood copy of Ra Ta Ta Tam and noted by several characters as the way of identifying it as her book, it's never actually stated what her name is.
  • Odd Job Gods: The God of Used Bookfairs, who oversees the obtaining of books that people wish for and punishes imprudent collectors by stealing their books to be distributed at various fairs. Others think Higuchi made him up but he turns out to be very real. To his credit, he is really good at his job even if he manifests as a bratty child to annoy Senpai as the God guides him to the copy of Ra Ta Ta Tam Otome owned to help get together with his crush.
  • One Crazy Night: Over the course of one night's drinking, Otome develops a rivalry with a mob boss, meets gods and tengu, infiltrates a number of secret societies, acts in a guerilla musical, and tends to dozens of sick people.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Deconstructed. In-universe, Senpai's plan to gradually insert himself as a near-constant presence in Otome's life is regarded as extremely creepy by his friends, and he eventually becomes highly critical of his own actions, wondering if he really does love Otome as a person or just sees her as a sex object and distraction from more pressing matters in his life.
  • Second Love: An odd version. Don Underwear is madly in love with a girl when both of them got hit in the head by falling apples. He's still in love even when find out that the "girl" is actually his male friend, the Director of the Festival who reciprocates out of loneliness. Don Underwear's playwright assistant Noriko, is in love with Don Underwear but won't stand in their way. The Senpai sees this is wrong (Don only loves the Director because he's in love with the moment of the fateful encounter of the falling apples) and knocks the Director through a secret door. Then a whirlwind happens and falling koi hit Don and Noriko in the head, causing Don to fall in love with her.
  • Title Drop: The phrase "The night is short, walk on girl" is given in both the book and the film, but have somewhat different contexts.
    • In the book, as Rihaku realizes that Otome has cured his cold and thus made the endless long night of the Winter Solstice more bearable by removing the pain of suffering through a cold, he thanks her for making the night metaphorically shorter and encourages her to keep going.
    • In the film, the night has been going on for the entire film, but Rihaku is visited by Otome, despite being a massive asshole, and gives him medicine like in the novel. Rihaku title drops the phrase to encourage her to go after Senpai.
  • What Is This Feeling?: Otome, who lives primarily by her appetites and youthful whims, is very confused when she starts to experience "fuzzy, cotton candy-like feelings" whenever she thinks of Senpai.