Lu Over the Wall

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Lu Over the Wall
Japanese theatrical release poster[1]
Japanese name
Revised HepburnYoaketsugeru Rū no Uta
Directed byMasaaki Yuasa
Written by
Produced by
  • Junnosuke Itou
  • Yuka Okayasu
Edited byAyako Tan[3]
Music byTakatsugu Muramatsu
Distributed byToho
Release date
  • May 19, 2017 (2017-05-19)
Running time
112 minutes[4]
Box office$161,253[5]

Lu Over the Wall (Japanese: 夜明け告げるルーのうた, Hepburn: Yoaketsugeru Rū no Uta, literally "The song of Lu, the dawn announcer") is a 2017 Japanese animated fantasy film produced by Science Saru and released by Toho about the eponymous ningyo. It was directed by Masaaki Yuasa, and written by Yuasa and Reiko Yoshida.[2][6] The music was composed by Takatsugu Muramatsu. It is the second Science Saru film, though it was the first to be produced.[7][8]

The film was released in Japan on May 19, 2017,[9] It was also released by Anime Limited on December 6, 2017,[10] and by GKIDS on May 11, 2018.[11][12] Half Symbolic Films released the film on January 31, 2019.[13]


Kai Ashimoto (足元カイ, Ashimoto Kai) is a lonely and pessimistic 9th grader living in Hinashi Town (日無町, Hinashi-chō) with his grandfather, an umbrella maker, and father. His rock band, "SEIRÈN", was formed by his friends, Kunio (国夫) and Yūho (遊歩).

One day, Kai explores Merfolk Island (人魚島, Ningyojima) and meets Lu (ルー, ), the ningyo girl. The music beat allows her fish fin to transform into a pair of human legs. The two strike up a friendship, and Kai takes Lu around the town for a tour. Kai learns that Lu cannot touch sunlight or she will burst into flames. He also learned that Lu has a papa and her mother was killed by a ship. Kai introduces Lu to Yuho and Kuino. When Kai accidentally reveals the secret of the merfolk to the townspeople, Lu's love and power of music makes them dance around town. Despite Kai's selfishness, videos of Lu go viral and she becomes a celebrity. Inspired by her popularity, Yūho's grandfather reopens an old merfolk-themed amusement park on an island near the town. Kai becomes disinterested in the band and begins to ignore Lu. SEIRÈN plays the park's opening, but after Lu arrives and steals the show, Yūho becomes upset and runs away.

Meanwhile, anti-merfolk feelings have been rising in the town, and when Yūho cannot be found by her father, he puts the blame on Lu and captures her. As he threatens her with sunlight, Lu's father comes to save her, which triggers a curse that begins to flood the town. Kai and Yūho help Lu and her father escape, who in turn rally other merfolk to help the town escape the rising waters. In the process of helping, the merfolk destroy the natural cliff which shades the bay from the sun, exposing themselves as the dawn breaks. As the threat of the curse disperses, the townspeople gather themselves and use many umbrellas to save all sea creatures from the sun.

Kai apologizes to Lu and everyone dances happily until all sea creatures return to the ocean. Before parting, Kai and Lu declare their love for each other. Kai starts a new life in town. However, it is understood that Kai and Lu will see each other again in the future.

Voice cast[edit]

Characters Japanese English[14]
Kai Shōta Shimoda Michael Sinterniklaas
Lu Kanon Tani Christine Marie Cabanos
Yuho Minako Kotobuki Stephanie Sheh
Kunio Soma Saito Brandon Engman
Isaki Shizuka Ito Alyson Leigh Rosenfeld
Lu's Father Shinichi Shinohara Michael Alston Bailey
Teruo Kenichi Suzumura Ethan Murray
Chairman Choo Michael Sorich
President Takayuki Sugō Joe Ochman
Granny Octopus Yutaka Aoyama Barbara Goodson
Chief Priest of Shrine Mutsumi Sasaki Derek Stephen Prince
Homeroom Teacher Shingo Horii HD Quinn
Fuguda Tokuyoshi Kawashima Kyle Hebert
Nodoguro Ryuji Mizuno Mike Pollock
Kameda Takaaki Seki Raymond K. Essel
Kujirai Riki Kagami Wayne Grayson
Shiira Atsuyoshi Miyazaki Jason Simon
Young Grandpa Reidai Hirabayashi David Thompson
Esojima Daigo Doug Erholtz
Grandfather Akira Emoto Steve Kramer


Yuasa announced on his Twitter that he was working on the film in January 2017.[6] 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.[15]

Yuasa acknowledged that Lu shares some similar plot elements and the visual subject of water with Hayao Miyazaki's film Ponyo, and that it 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.[16][17]

Kazuyoshi Saito's 1997 song "Utautai no Ballad" (歌うたいのバラッド) was chosen to be the theme song of the film.[18]


Critical reception[edit]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 78% approval rating based on 45 reviews, with an average rating of 6.4/10. The website's critics 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."[19] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 62 out of 100 based on 14 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[20]

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."[21]

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."[22]

Box office[edit]

Lu over the Wall grossed $161,253 at the box office.[5]


Year Award Category Recipient Result
2017 Annecy International Animated Film Festival Cristal du long metrage Lu Over the Wall Won[23]
Shanghai International Film Festival Best Animation Nominated[24]
Fantasia International Film Festival Best Animated Feature - Silver Prize Won[25]
2018 Mainichi Film Awards Ofuji Noburo Award Won[26]
Japan Media Arts Festival Grand Prize Won[27]


  1. ^ Ressler, Karen (14 February 2017). "Masaaki Yuasa's Yoake Tsugeru Lu no Uta Anime Film Reveals Poster Visual". Anime News Network. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  2. ^ 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 official site] (in Japanese). Lu Film partners. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  3. ^ "夜明け告げるルーのうた" [Lu over the Wall]. Anime@wiki (in Japanese). @WIKI. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ a b "Lu Over the Wall (2017) box office". Box Office Mojo. August 20, 2022. Retrieved August 20, 2022.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ "Lu Over the Wall". Lu Over the Wall UK Official Website. Anime Limited. Archived from the original on May 5, 2019. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  11. ^ Pineda, Rafael Antonio (January 2, 2018). "GKIDS Licenses Lu over the wall, 'Night is Short, Walk on Girl' Anime Films (Updated)". Anime News Network. Retrieved January 2, 2024.
  12. ^ 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. Archived from the original on 2021-12-24. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  13. ^ "Masaaki Yuasa films coming to Australia". Half Symbolic Films. April 20, 2018. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
  14. ^ "Lu Over the Wall". Sundance Film Festival 2019. The Sundance Institute. Retrieved January 20, 2018.
  15. ^ ."夜明け告げるルーのうた" [Lu over the Wall]. Science SARU. Retrieved April 7, 2018..
  16. ^ "Devilman Crybaby Director Masaaki Yuasa Unveils New Anime Film 'Kimi to, Nami ni Noretara'".
  17. ^ "Acclaimed Animator Announces His New Project [Lu over the Wall: Q&A]".
  18. ^ "斉藤和義「歌うたいのバラッド」、湯浅政明監督の最新アニメ映画主題歌に決定". Natalie (in Japanese). 2017-01-19. Retrieved 2021-03-28.
  19. ^ "Lu Over the Wall (Yoake tsugeru Rū no uta) (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved November 12, 2020.
  20. ^ "Lu Over the Wall Reviews - Metacritic". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved November 12, 2020.
  21. ^ Solomon, Charles (10 May 2018). "Japanese animation Lu Over the Wall gives mermaid tale new life". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  22. ^ Abrams, Simon. "Lu Over the Wall Movie Review (2018)". Roger Ebert. Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  23. ^ 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.
  24. ^ "Shanghai International Film Festival 2017". IMDb. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  25. ^ "Fantasia Film Festival 2017". IMDb. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  26. ^ Inoa, Christopher (May 18, 2018). "Devilman Crybaby's Masaaki Yuasa might be the most important voice in anime right now". SYFY WIRE. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  27. ^ "Animation Division | 2018 [21st]". Japan Media Arts Festival. Archived from the original on November 13, 2020. Retrieved January 6, 2022.

External links[edit]