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Western Animation / One Small Step

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One Small Step is a 2018 animated short film (8 minutes) directed by Andrew Chesworth and Bobby Pointillas. It is the first production of the Chinese-American studio TAIKO Studios.

A Chinese-American girl named Luna Chu lives in San Francisco. Luna sees a NASA launch when she's a little girl and instantly becomes a space nut, making helmets out of cardboard, festooning the walls with drawings of rockets, hanging models of planets from the ceiling. Her father, a shoe repairman, indulges her, even buying her some child-sized NASA boots. Luna studies hard, trying to reach her goal of becoming an astronaut, but life intervenes.



  • Age Cut: A cut between Luna putting on her NASA boots and Luna putting on a more mature pair of shoes serves as transition from Luna as a little girl to Luna as a teen.
  • An Aesop: Don't give up on your dreams, no matter how hard life seems to be getting, because others around you, such as your loved ones, will never give up on you.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Luna's father dies by the end of the short, but she is inspired by him to continue to strive to be an astronaut. And by the end, she becomes one.
  • Complete-the-Quote Title: It is of course from Neil Armstrong's quote, "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."
  • Cosmic Motifs: The moon. Luna's name means "moon". The first scene has her watching the landing of the moon as a child. Her childhood shoes has moons on them. And the ending shot has a grown up Luna on the moon.
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  • Daddy's Girl: Luna and her father are shown to be very close.
  • Efficient Displacement: Luna and her dad make a perfect outline when they fly right through her cardboard cutout of Saturn in an Imagine Spot.
  • Foot Focus: Luna's feet when we see her walking to and from college, and when she takes them off or puts them on.
  • Genki Girl: As a child, Luna was quite energetic.
  • Good Parents: Luna's father is a caring, attentive father to his daughter.
  • Gray Rain of Depression: Luna slogs home through the rain after bombing a test at the technical school. Things get worse after she gets home.
  • Half Empty Two Shot: Every time Luna comes home from college, her father is sitting at the dinner table to greet her. One day, she arrives to an empty table...
  • Heroic BSoD: Luna drives further into one as she fails her classes and receives a rejection letter. She fully hits it after discovering her father's death.
  • Important Haircut: After being inspired by her father's memory, Luna cuts her long hair to a bob style.
  • Imagine Spot: Little Luna likes to play pretend games where she and her dad get in her cardboard spaceship and zoom through the solar system.
  • Match Cut: From Luna in her child's NASA boots, striding around her bed as a little girl, to Luna as a grown-up astronaut setting foot on the Moon for real.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: Luna is first introduced as a child before a young adult.
  • Missing Mom: Where's the mom? Dead? Abandoned the family?
  • Motifs: Shoes. Luna's father is a shoemaker and he presents a young Luna with her NASA boots on her birthday. The transitions of Luna as a child and young adult are seen from her change in footwear. Throughout the short, Luna's father is seen repairing shoes, mostly Luna's. She is re-inspired to achieve NASA dream after finding her old pair of NASA boots. And the Match Cut is between her NASA boots and the proper footwear for stepping on the moon.
  • Primary-Color Champion: Luna's clothing consist a variety of red, blue, and white.
  • Significant Name: The little girl who dreams of becoming an astronaut is named "Luna".
  • Silence Is Golden: The whole short flim has no dialogue.
  • Wham Shot: Luna comes home after a miserable day and discovers that her father isn't at the table like he usually is. Worse, his walking cane is discarded on the floor...