Modest Heroes (2018) | Adventures | Anime review | Movie - The Comprehensive Minds

Modest Heroes (2018) | Adventures | Anime review | Movie

Modest Heroes (2018) Anime Review

On August 24, 2018, a compilation of three animated shorts prepared by Studio Ponoc was screened, which was called “Modest Heroes”, and presented us with three stories that were referred to as “stories of modest heroes of our time". This project lasts 53 minutes, is on Netflix and we will share this review so that you are encouraged to enjoy them.

Prior to this project, Studio Ponoc had already presented a fairly popular feature film called Mary and The Witch's Flower (2017), since its formation, the studio captured everyone's attention due to the fact that its staff consisted mainly of former Studio Ghibli collaborators who they decided to try their luck under their own signature.

Modest Heroes as part of the first volume of the " Ponoc Short Films "  (Ponoc Tanpen Gekijō), being an anthology of anime shorts divided into volumes with different themes. Yoshiaki Nishimura was credited as a producer on the project.

On that occasion, the Modest Heroes movie featured three stories directed by three different directors, leading us to the adventure and fantasy genre.

Kanini and Kanino

The first is " Kanini and Kanino " a story of 15 minutes led by co-founder Ponoc, Hiromasa Yonebayashi, director of Mary and The Witch's Flower, movies  The Secret World of Arrietty and  When Marnie Was There. This was the first time that Yonebayashi worked from his own idea; all previous films have been adaptations of English novels.

This story takes us to the depths of a river, where we will meet two crab brothers and the world that surrounds them, having to face and overcome the hostility of their environment, making clear the cycle of life and the importance of family ties.

Fumino Kimura and Rio Suzuki interpreted Kanini and Kanino, respectively. In the musical section, there was Takatsugu Muramatsu.

Kanini and Kanino

Life Ain't Gonna Lose

The second 15-minute short was made by Yoshiyuki Momose, during his time at Ghibli he worked on storyboarding, key animation, and visual design for  Spirited Away Only Yesterday, and  Grave of the Fireflies.

Starring Shun and his Mom, they tell us how they both have to learn to overcome the difficulties in their day to day to adapt to a severe allergy to the egg with which Shun was born since any carelessness could be life-threatening. This story is based on a boy that the director and producer met in real life.


For the cast, Machiko Ono and Sota Shinohara were counted on to play the child Shun and the mother, respectively, and Kentaro Sakaguchi was in charge of playing the father and the doctor. This short featured the music of Masanori Shimada.

Kanini and Kanino


The final part is " Invisible " directed by character designer  Mary and The Witch's Flower and  Howl's Moving Castle, Akihiko Yamashita, and tells the story of a man who can not be seen, and lonely struggle that must face learning to exist in the world, this drama lasts only 14 minutes.

For the cast, there were Joe Odagiri and Min Tanaka, for the invisible man and the blind man, respectively. With regard to music, Yasutaka Nakata was included.

Modest Heroes anime review

Modest Heroes anime review - Kani, Tamago, and the Invisible Man

First of all, I would like to mention that within the Netflix catalog you can find a mini-documentary called " The modest Heroes of Studio Ponoc " in which the producer of the project, Yoshiaki Nishimura, talks about the origins of the studio, its creative principles. their reasons for making these shorts and the themes that were used to inspire the animated shorts.

It is very entertaining and tells you challenges that were imposed on the directors, for example, Akihiko Yamashita who was one of the most influential character designers at Studio Ghibli, was in charge of Invisible, precisely to challenge him to work with a character in it. unable to use their abilities to express movements and emotions.

Anyway ... if I could choose a word for this compilation, I would say that it is " moving " really in the few minutes that each short last you can feel empathy for the characters and the story, it is very easy to understand without breaking the quality standards, being able to be seen by both children and adults, entertaining both, it can definitely be seen and enjoyed in a family environment.

Storytelling, an art that perfectly blends traditional and digital animation, and rhyme makes you feel like you want to know more and leaves you eager for Ponoc to present more of these shorts.

It is a piece that definitely must be seen if you have not yet been given the opportunity, if you are a fan of the works of Studio Ghibli, this film will not disappoint you, but it will undoubtedly show you the very identity that the Ponoc studio has sought to present.

                                                        Modest Heroes (2018) Movie Preview

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