Penguin Highway (ペンギン・ハイウェイ, Pengin Haiwei, stylized penguin highway) is a 2018 Japanese science fiction film directed by Hiroyasu Ishida based on the 2010 novel of the same name.
A fourth-grader, Aoyama-Kun, investigates the mysterious reason behind the sudden appearance of penguins in his village, which is somehow related to a power from a young woman working at a dental clinic.
Why It Rocks
- It is completely stays faithful to Tomihiko Morimi's 2010 novel of the same name.
- A story about a fourth-grade student discovers a lot of penguins in the streets of the village and throwing things in the air and turning things into penguins is very creative.
- Very stunning animation that was still aged up very well, even in anime standards, even the 2D-CGI animation for the vehicles are still amazing as well.
- The soundtrack that was performed by Umitaro Abe is well-done.
- Incredibly likable characters and most of the characters development were pretty good for the time:
- Aoyama, is a smart, and likable, and a fourth-grader precocious boy who keeps a notebook of things he learns.
- Lady, a mysterious woman who works at the dental office and also coaches Aoyama in chess. She has memories of her parents and growing up by the coast. It's later revealed she is from the world of the sphere.
- Good sub-plots for the couple of Aoyama, and Lady as well.
- Never took any product placements in the movie, instead, the movie changed the real-life companies like changing the NASA logo in NASU in Aoyama's hat.
- The penguins in the movie are so cute, and they're likable for the penguin lovers.
- The movie has lots of exciting, funny and suspense moments too, such as the scene where the kids discover a floating sphere of water sits, and even when the Floating sphere of water suddenly went even bigger during the storm at night.
- In addition, it had really funny moments, such as a scene where a man was walking with his plant and falls off into his pond and getting his head bang by a plant and breaks it.
- Outstanding performances from the actors and actresses for the Japanese voice actors, especially for Kana Kita, Erika Harlacher, etc..
- Amazingly written story that was written by Makoto Shinkai.
- Suzuki and his bullies are pretty bland, and unlikable at that point until they didn't do anything to the main kids in the third act.
The film received critical acclaim and earned a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with an average rating of 7.72/10. On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 82 out of 100 based on 4 critics, indicating "universal acclaim" and a 9.5/10 user score rating on the same site. On MyAnimeList, it had a 7.73 rating.
The film later exited the top 10, having earned a total of ¥307 million (US$2.76 million) as of August 26, 2018.