Year:  2022

Director:  Kōhei Yoshino

Rated:  All Ages

Release:  November 5 – December 14, 2022

Running time: 128 minutes

Worth: $17.00
FilmInk rates movies out of $20 — the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

Riho Yoshioka, Tomoya Nakamura, Tasuku Emoto, Machiko Ono

… hyperactive and often hilarious …

A former public servant turned anime director goes head-to-head in a TV ratings war with the revered anime legend that initially inspired her career, in this hyperactive and often hilarious ride.

It’s a (mostly) live action feature about the world of TV anime, with snippets of the two series that battle for the hearts and minds that tune in on Saturdays at 5pm. There are also brilliant animations and graphic elements that duck and weave through the live action to make narrative points, as the film goes behind-the-scenes of this fascinating world, with its rivalries and big money.

The film is off to a frenetic start, with a parade of characters – their names, job titles and the company they work for flash on the screen, documentary style. It’s a lot to keep track of, but Hitomi Saito (Riho Yoshioka) anchors the story.

She’s reached her goal to direct a series, but there’s little joy in it, and she doesn’t get much sleep. She’s horrified when a senior producer drags her to a fashion shoot as part of a magazine promotion. Unable to bring herself to smile, she’s asked to cooperate for the camera, so she lifts the corners of her mouth with her hands. It’s one of many moments of fine comic acting.

Meanwhile, the director who inspired her – her rival and anime genius Chiharu Oji (Tomoya Nakamura) – has gone AWOL. His producer, Ms Arishina (Machiko Ono), who’s been tasked to babysit the legend, is desperately searching for him.

Eventually, Hitomi and Oji will meet on a stage at a festival. He will get a rock star welcome, no-one’s terribly interested in her. He’s philosophical and provocative. She tells him that she will beat him in the ratings game – the motivation come from her past, which is revealed during one of the film’s more sensitive moments.

Based on the novel by Mizuki Tsujimura, Anime Supremacy!’s pace never lets up, but the comedy retreats somewhat as the ratings war gets heated. Hitomi is the underdog. You actively want her to win – a sign that the film has got to you on an emotional level.