Da Yu Hai Tang

Title:Da Yu Hai Tang
Big Fish and Begonia
Keywords: , , , , ,
In an old mythical world, there reside spirit-like beings who oversee the natural order of the mortal realm. One of them, a young girl named Chun, has just come of age and must undergo her rite of passage by experiencing the human world for herself. While there, she gets caught in a fishing net during a storm and is rescued by a human boy. However, the boy ends up drowning during the incident, and Chun returns to her realm full of guilt. Afterwards, she meets the Soul Keeper and decides to revive the boy in exchange for a part of her lifespan. Little does she know, meddling with the natural order of the world has severe consequences.
(Summary Courtesy of MyAnimeList.net)

110-minute film that premiered on July 8, 2016.
Animated by B&T.
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Buy 10 10 9 9 9 Ggultra2764 [series:3571#1552]
Big Fish and Begonia may have you drawing parallels to Studio Ghibli films and Avatar: The Last Airbender with its visuals and elements of its premise. But in spite of this, this Chinese animated film does quite a beautiful job at establishing its own identity in exploring a focus on love and sacrifice with the challenges faced by Chun to resurrect the soul of a young human man who saved her life during a venture into the human world.

The obvious thing that was a highlight for me with Big Fish and Begonia was the animation. Outside of the apparent drawing style being inspired by Ghibli films, this film features highly detailed and beautiful scenic shots that are pleasing on the eyes and take place in a number of locales that include the spirit world that as Chun's home and the sea in which she meets Kun within the human world. In addition, it features an impressive merging of 2-D cel-shaded and 3-D computer-generated animation that blends seamlessly with one another during some of the film's more elaborate animation sequences, a feat that is hard to replicate in many animated films as the CG typically sticks out like a sore thumb when used. The film also maintains consistently fluid movement throughout its run, having many elaborate sequences that are able to maintain the elaborate visual details of its scenery and characters without any drop in quality or noticeable animation shortcuts.

Moving onto storytelling, Big Fish and Begonia does a great job within its 100-minute runtime to offer solid world-building of the spirit world that Chun lives in and developing its themes of love and sacrifice that our heroine faces in protecting Kun's soul. The film's world is inspired through a number of ancient Chinese and Taoist legends and stories that dabble into supernatural and magical elements, this being apparent in some of the film's themes focusing around resurrection and reincarnation. As for the story of the film, it revolves around Chun's admiration of the human world leading her to make a large risk to save Kun that jeopardizes her world's stability due to Kun's presence and her place within it. Without spoiling too much, the journey leads Chun to reflect on what path she wishes to choose for herself in life and make a great number of sacrifices to ensure Kun's safety and return him to the human world. Outside of Chun, other characters are introduced in the film to aid or deter Chun's efforts to protect Kun, though all said characters have justifications in their actions more than simply existing as a story element in Chun's adventure.

Overall, I must admit I was quite impressed with what I seen from Big Fish and Begonia as I believe this is the first Chinese animated titles I've had a chance of seeing. While some may draw parallels to Ghibli films with it as mentioned, it still stands on its own two feet with creating an engaging adventure with Eastern supernatural elements and many sacrifices being made by Chun to fulfill her goal of ensuring Kun's resurrection. I would strongly recommend checking this film out if you happen to come across it.

Last updated Saturday, September 15 2018. Created Saturday, September 15 2018.

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