Tentacle-Free Anime: "You are Umasou" (2010)
- by Kazekun, 27 May 2013
I grew up with a love for dinosaurs. As a child they were one of my favorite topics and I still have the dinos that I played with as a kid to this day, even though a few of them are quite damaged now. "The Land Before Time" is a series of some of my favorite kids movies, and "Dinosaur" is a fantastic Disney movie. So it’s definitely odd that I never imagined there being an anime about, well dinosaurs. And so, I decided to give this one a shot upon discovering and I even brought my girlfriend along for the experience. She too is a dinosaur lover.
I actually discovered this movie fairly recently when I was watching a YouTube video of anime movies “I should see” and when I discovered there was an anime about dinosaurs, well, count me in all the way. And like I said earlier, I brought my girlfriend Megan in for the ride. What we got though was beyond what we were ready for, especially her. My initial thought looking at this, animation and everything was that it would be a fun kid’s movie for the whole family and yet every scene save for a scarce few are imbued with so much onscreen carnage, one could make a drinking game to how many times a dinosaur is killed eaten on screen in this thing. This movie is filled with so much sadness and death I had to wonder throughout what the target group for this movie was.
Needless to say, even if it may or may not make sense, after all the sadness throughout the movie a happier ending would’ve been kind; though much like the world that dinosaurs inhabited long ago, this world is not kind. And if I had to guess, that’s what the true meaning behind this story was: we can learn to be better than what is expected of us, we can learn to break the mold and be a hero. But in the end the world isn’t kind and we have to make our best in it. Which isn’t a bad a message to have come across, I just don’t think they portrayed it right.
Heart, our main character, runs away from his adoptive family after traumatically discovering the truth behind the type of beast he is and why he is so different from his brethren. This is where the awkward pacing kicks in; there are so many time jumps forward in this movie it’s incredibly hard to keep track of how much time has passed from when Heart was a new egg to when the story ends. Heart discovers a new egg himself, much is the way the world works and finds himself the unwilling adoptive father of Umasou, the titular character. But the movie isn’t at all about Umasou, it’s about Heart discovering who he truly is, it’s just Umasou that kickstarts Heart’s head into thinking like the hero Umasou paints him to be. Umasou is adorable, and I felt all kinds of heart-wrenching pain as the little Ankylosaurus hatchling had to deal with the horrors of this world not long after entering it.
I do find Heart and Umasou’s relationship to be the most heartwarming part of the whole movie though, as Heart learns what it is like to not only raise a child but to raise one that is of a species that should be his pray. We see him try to teach Umasou life lessons, he teaches Umasou how to protect himself in the most funny but also most awesome scene of the whole movie and he even struggles internally and externally with the hero status Umasou has bestowed upon him. In many ways, Heart is a true father.
This movie has an abundance of epic characters, but it does fall flat in that many of those characters are seen only for a few minutes throughout the whole movie and for some of them they don’t even do anything worthwhile or to drive the story forward. Like I said before, I do have to ask who the target age range for this movie is. I am by no means a person who says “children cannot see death on screen because that would scar them for life,” because I do believe if it is done tastefully and not in a way that will haunt their dreams then yes I do believe they can handle it. But there’s so much raw, survival of the fittest in this I could only imagine a small child who loves everything about dinosaurs seeing this movie and being scarred senseless by the amount of death. And based off the art style, you can’t blame me or anyone for thinking it is a kid’s movie. I figure the part that brings this movie down for me is the false sense of security you get going into the movie and having your eyes blown wide up, generally I actually like that but only if it’s a good surprise. This movie just didn’t do it in a positive way, and in the end the story was filled with more sadness then what it needed to have. It moved forward the pace too awkwardly, characters didn’t get enough to do, and there was really very little resolution to many key mysteries involved in the story.
Next time I promise a much more well-known anime. It’s been awhile since we’ve had one of those.
Final Score: 2 Big Jaw’s out of 5
Have you seen "You Are Umasou"? Enjoyed the review? Let us know in the comments!
Tagged: Tentacle-Free Anime.