Lu over the Wall

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Lu over the Wall
Japanese theatrical release poster
HepburnYoaketsugeru Rū no Uta
LiterallyThe song of Lu, the dawn announcer
Directed byMasaaki Yuasa
Produced byKōji Yamamoto (chief)
Written by
Music byTakatsugu Muramatsu
Edited byAyako Tan[2]
Distributed byToho
Release date
  • May 19, 2017 (2017-05-19)
Running time
112 minutes[3]

Lu over the Wall (夜明け告げるルーのうた, Yoaketsugeru Rū no Uta, stylized as Lu over the wall) is a 2017 Japanese animated fantasy film produced by Science Saru and released by Toho about a boy's encounter with a ningyo, a yōkai analogous to merfolk. The film was directed by Masaaki Yuasa, and has a screenplay credited to Reiko Yoshida and Masaaki Yuasa.[1][4] The music was composed by Takatsugu Muramatsu. It is the second Science Saru animated feature film released, though it was the first to be produced.[5][6]

It was released in cinemas by Toho on May 19, 2017 in Japan,[7] by Anime Limited on December 6, 2017 in the United Kingdom and Ireland,[8] and by GKIDS on May 11, 2018 in the United States.[9][10] Half Symbolic Films released the film in Australia on January 31, 2019.[11]


Kai Ashimoto (足元カイ, Ashimoto Kai), a young middle schooler, lives in Hinashi Town (日無町, Hinashi-chō), a lonely fishing village, with his father and his grandfather, a parasol maker. He used to live in Tokyo, but after his parents divorced he moved back to his father's home town. Kai has trouble telling his parents the complicated feelings he has for them, and he's lonely and pessimistic about his school life. One of his joys is uploading songs he writes to the internet.

One day, his classmates Kunio (国夫) and Yūho (遊歩) invite him to join their band, "SEIRÈN". As he reluctantly follows them to Merfolk Island (人魚島, Ningyojima), their practice spot, they meet Lu (ルー, ), the ningyo girl. Lu sings merrily and dances innocently. As Kai begins to spend time with her, he starts to be able to say what it is that he's really thinking.

But since ancient times, the people of Hinashi Town have thought that mermaids brought disaster. Something happens that puts a huge rift between Lu and the townspeople. And then, the town is in danger. Will Kai's cry for the heart be able to save the town?

Voice cast[edit]

Characters Japanese English[12]
Lu Kanon Tani Christine Marie Cabanos
Kai Shōta Shimoda Michael Sinterniklaas
Yuho Minako Kotobuki Stephanie Sheh
Kunio Soma Saito Brandon Engman
Isaki Shizuka Ito Alyson Leigh Rosenfeld


In January 2017, Masaaki Yuasa announced on his Twitter that he was working on a new original anime film.[4]

It was animated in a hybrid form in which key frames were drawn on paper, but instead of the traditional clean-up and inbetweening still used in most Japanese traditional animation at the time, these rough key frames were then traced and inbetweened in Adobe Flash.[13]

Yuasa acknowledged that Lu shares some similar plot elements and the visual subject of water with Hayao Miyazaki's earlier Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, and that this occurred to him late into the production of Lu. He considers this due to the influence on him of Miyazaki and Isao Takahata's Panda! Go Panda!: Rainy-day Circus, which Miyazaki reused elements of himself in Ponyo, and is happy for his works to include such homages to works he admires.[14][15]


Critical reception[edit]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 76% based on 41 reviews with an average rating of 6.17/10. The site's critical consensus reads "Lu Over the Wall can be more fun to watch than to follow, but director Masaaki Yuasa's distinctive visual style offers colorful compensation for an occasionally scattered story".[16]

Charles Solomon from Los Angeles Times wrote, "Yuasa's bold imagery and sometimes convoluted storytelling defy the conventions of traditional animated filmmaking, but he is clearly an artist with an individual vision whose work offers something genuinely new and eye-catching."[17]

On the other hand, Simon Abrams from said "Still, I can't lie: I was bored throughout the 112 minutes I spent watching Lu over the Wall. I initially thought that I was allergic to the mediocre English voice actors' performances. But I soon realized that that my biggest problem was that I couldn't reconcile the basic disconnect between the thrilling story-telling and the paint-by-numbers story. I wanted the film's creators to do something with their formulaic narrative, but they never did."[18]


Year Name of Competition Category Result Ref.
2017 Annecy International Animated Film Festival Cristal for Best Feature film Won [19]
2018 Mainichi Film Awards Ofuji Noburo Award Won [20]


  1. ^ a b "映画『夜明け告げるルーのうた』公式サイト" [Film Lu over the Wall sfficial site] (in Japanese). Lu Film partners. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  2. ^ "夜明け告げるルーのうた" [Lu over the Wall]. Anime@wiki (in Japanese). @WIKI. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  3. ^ Lu Film partners. "『四畳半神話大系』や『ピンポン』を手掛けた湯浅政明監督初のオリジナル作品『夜明け告げるルーのうた』が公開決定!". animate Times (in Japanese). animateLAB. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Ressler, Karen (18 January 2017). "Director Masaaki Yuasa reveals Yoake Tsugeru Lu no Uta anime film". Anime News Network. Retrieved 10 April 2017.
  5. ^ Hamman, Dan (5 October 2017). "Masaaki Yuasa Interview Part 1 (Night is Short, Walk On Girl)". Animation for Adults. Retrieved March 23, 2018. I was making Lu and Walk On happened during that production.
  6. ^ Chapman, Matt (December 9, 2017). "Masaaki Yuasa interview: Lu Over the Wall & The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl". MyMBuzz. MCM Central. Retrieved March 23, 2018. While I was working on Lu Over the Wall, the other one came up suddenly, so I decided to work on both at the same time.
  7. ^ Ressler, Karen (February 14, 2017). "Masaaki Yuasa's Yoake Tsugeru Lu no Uta anime film reveals poster visual". Anime News Network. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
  8. ^ "Lu Over the Wall". Lu Over the Wall UK Official Website. Anime Limited. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  9. ^ Pineda, Rafael Antonio. "GKIDS licenses Lu Over the Wall, 'Night is Short, Walk on Girl' anime films (Updated)". Anime News Network. Retrieved January 7, 2018.
  10. ^ GKIDS (March 21, 2018). "From visionary anime director Masaaki Yuasa comes the first feature film from Science SARU, LU OVER THE WALL. Lu swims into theaters May 11! #LuOverTheWall". Instagram. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  11. ^ "Masaaki Yuasa films coming to Australia". Half Symbolic Films. April 20, 2018. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
  12. ^ "Lu Over the Wall". Sundance Film Festival 2019. The Sundance Institute. Retrieved January 20, 2018.
  13. ^ ."夜明け告げるルーのうた" [Lu over the Wall]. Science SARU. Retrieved April 7, 2018..
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Lu Over the Wall (Yoake tsugeru Rū no uta) (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  17. ^ Solomon, Charles. "Japanese animation Lu Over the Wall gives mermaid tale new life". Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  18. ^ Abrams, Simon. "Lu Over the Wall Movie Review (2018)". Roger Ebert. Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  19. ^ Hodgkins, Crystalyn (June 18, 2017). "'Lu Over the Wall, In This Corner of the World anime films win awards at Annecy". Anime News Network. Retrieved June 18, 2017.
  20. '^ Inoa, Christopher (2018-05-18). "Devilman Crybabys Masaaki Yuasa might be the most important voice in anime right now". SYFY WIRE. Retrieved 2018-11-29.

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