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You ever hear the saying "less is more"? Well, Liz and the Blue Bird is this saying in a nutshell, and it is absolutely gorgeous. Now, I'm not familiar with Sound! Euphonium and haven't seen the series, so I'll only be talking about this movie on its own merits. Surprisingly, despite my lack of knowledge of the original source, this movie manages to stand on its own very well. Considering the movie was animated by Kyoto Animation, what is there to say about its animation that hasn't been said already? The movements are fluid, the colors are soft and vibrant, and the visual storytelling is just fantastic.
Again, the soundtrack hits a home run, and you can't have a series that has a heavy focus on music to have a bad soundtrack, now can you? I'm a sucker for orchestral music, and every single piece in the OST is well made and well performed.
The characters, while not explored entirely in-depth here, are decently likeable and far from your typical teenaged characters here. Also, I REALLY appreciate that the movie doesn't dive into overblown melodrama that's a very common pitfall that shows/movies involving teenagers tend to fall into, and it's so refreshing to see characters just be pleasant to one another and talk things out without getting unnecessarily hysterical. Kudos to you, Naoko Yamada. I found I related to Mizore the most, as she and I are rather shy and have some anxiety issues.
My only gripe with the movie is that it takes place solely at school, nowhere else. I kinda wish the setting wasn't restricted to just one location, as doing that kind of held back the character development quite a bit. Having the girls go home or hang out at karaoke bars might have livened the movie up a bit and given them a bit more depth, but after having read some interviews, I think I can understand Yamada's choice to do this for narrative reasons. Still, having the girls be shown outside of school could have benefited the movie greatly.
Bottom line, if you want to watch a genuinely sweet, well made movie, don't miss this one. Oh, and watch the English dub while you're at it. It's fantastic. I was skeptical about Laurie Hymes being cast as Mizore at first, but not only does she sound EXACTLY like Atsumi Tanezaki, perfectly capturing Mizore's shyness and quiet personality, but her performance absolutely knocks it out of the park, in stark contrast to her more divisive, phoned in take on Lillie, who I think many can agree was very much miscast.
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