Synopsis: Cherry has a hard time expressing himself, instead sharing his feelings in the form of haiku, which he posts on social media site Curiosity. A chance encounter at the local mall leads to him meeting Smile, Curiosity vlogger who hides behind a mask, embarrassed by the size of her front teeth. As the end of summer looms, the two work out their insecurities together.
You know a movie’s good when it leaves you feeling wonderful inside days after, like a nice soda pop on a summer afternoon.
Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop is easily one of the cutest anime movies out there. I had a feeling it would be when I first saw its trailer about two months back. With bubblegum visuals set to Never Young Beach’s summery Cider no you, it was one hundred percent a summer flick. I’m happy to say it stole my heart from start to finish.
Studio Signal.MD does a great job depicting modern-day youth culture through vlogger socialite Smile and Twitter – sorry, Curiosity – haiku poet Cherry.
It’s a simple meet-cute story. Shy Cherry has trouble expressing himself, opting instead to share his feelings through haikus he posts on Twitter – sorry, Curiosity. A trip-up at the mall leads to him meeting Smile, a high schooler and online celebrity who hides behind a mask, embarrassed by the size of her two front teeth. Under summer skies the two learn to overcome their insecurities – with a little encouragement from one another.
Incredible production quality brings this story to life. The animation is brilliant. Though a little washed out at times, it’s bright and vibrant but never overwhelming, the colors coming together like pastel crayons to bring to life the rural Japanese strip mall setting. Words Bubble Up’s sleepy electro-pop soundtrack fits perfectly with the animation, giving the whole movie a dreamlike, wistful vibe. Streetlights shine in soft bubbles, coming alive with cute popping sounds like the fizz of soda, or the simmering feelings of our cast of self-conscious adolescents.
Words Bubble Up is visually mesmerizing all throughout its short runtime. The characters brim with energy, and backgrounds are put together with an incredible amount of detail. The whole movie drips with life, from its sweet visuals to its sugary soundtrack.
The writing is as fantastic as the production. It’s very tightly written. Not a single shot or scene felt wasted or unnecessary. Even lingering indulgences, like a long shot of Smile crying alone as she tries and fails to put together a record for Mr. Fujiyama does a great job showing us how she feels inside. A story involving an old vinyl and Mr. Fujiyama made for a wonderful, well-told B-plot despite having screen time of, like, five minutes. It was like the intro to Up. I was in tears.
What I liked most about Words Bubble Up was how honest it felt. You can really feel when a piece of art has been workshopped to death. In fact, that’s my biggest problem with a lot of media these days, with many shows and movies having had most of their personality blasted off. Words Bubble Up didn’t feel that way at all. Its plot points didn’t feel like they’d been picked off a rack, nor did its characters. Each frame, each scene was put together with palpable love. It felt like I was watching someone’s memoirs as opposed to something that was made to match sales quotas.
As of time of writing, Words Bubble Up has a MAL score of 7.5. Not bad, but criminally low if you ask me. I can understand it not appealing to everyone. Those who prefer complex plots or the blockbuster spectacles of your Shinkai or Hosoda flicks may find this movie to be too slow or simple or not to their liking. Some may find it childish, but I’d say that’s part of its charm. It’s a story of young people finding the confidence to look past their insecurities. I think there’ll always be space for wholesome stories like that.
For its outstanding production, the tightness of its story and its lovable cast, though, Words Bubble Up gets top marks from me. This honest little flick was full of simple joy, and I urge everyone to watch it.
(-) Hardly a negative, but its short run time will leave you wanting a little more time with its cast and setting.
(+) Beautiful artwork and a bubbly soundtrack bring this rural summer story to life.
(+) An honest, genuine story born not of some committee, but from the depths of a youthful heart.