Night is Short, Walk On Girl will leave you drunk on anime

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      Featuring the voice of Kana Hanazawa. In Japanese, with English subtitles. Rating unavailable

      The positive side of alcohol is given a rare airing in this clunkily titled exercise in anime gone wild. No one is actually supposed to tread on the youth referenced here; it’s misappropriated from a sage, if increasingly blotto, elder (cartoon stalwart Mugihito) who pep-talks her over “imitation denki bran”, a type of brandy dating back to 1880s Tokyo.

      The teenager in question, a feisty student voiced by Kana Hanazawa, is not actually given a name but is called Otome: “maiden” or “girl” in Japanese, but now also generic for games aimed at nonboys. The direction by TV veteran Masaaki Yuasa is as peripatetic, and often seemingly formless, as 90 minutes in a packed pachinko parlour. It’s adapted from Tomihiko Morimi’s bestseller about a young woman who spends the night sampling cocktails and searching for a book from her childhood. But it sure doesn’t play out like a normal novel.

      A slightly older student, referred to by the honorific Senpai (Gen Hoshino), has a mad crush on Otome, but, in timeless rom-com style, lacks the courage to address her. This leads to some serious stalker action, including extra-creepy electronic surveillance—something the movie treats as mostly cute. Well, Otome does pack a mean punch, or “friendly fist”, as she calls her restrained firepower, when guys get handsy. This comes in useful with the collector of woodblock erotica she encounters early in the evening, who’s an equal-opportunity groper.

      This guy (Ryûji Akiyama) also steals underwear from young men, something that slows down Senpai’s search. Yet another fellow has vowed not to change his tighty-whities until a long-lost love returns. Don’t know what the deal is with undies here, but that’s just one of the many elements that blur by in this psychedelically paced adventure from the same warped noggin that brought us 2004’s even weirder Mind Game.

      Between frantic nods to Nihon pop culture, bibliophilia, and Greek philosophy (old guys do a bizarre “sophists’ dance” at one drinkery), you might not notice that Otome doesn’t have much of an actual personality. In the end, after all that walking, she doesn’t seem any drunker than at the beginning. Nor do we know anything more about her. Frankly, it takes enough effort just to keep up with the pretty colours.

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