Night Is Short, Walk On Girl
Night Is Short, Walk On Girl is a Japanese animated film that shows how many adventures you can get into on one night, as long as there’s enough booze.
Movies that take place over the course of a single night can be hard to digest. You have to believe that time and space are somehow magically suspended for the evening, and that anything is possible. How else could so much happen over the course of a few short hours? Night Is Short, Walk On Girl has our characters zipping from bars to book fairs (nocturnal ones, apparently), to school festivals, and then back home all before the sun rises.
Otome (Kana Hanazawa) is a naïve, innocent girl who takes off into the night in search of adult experiences. In no time at all, she encounters a pervert who feels her up at her first watering hole. Thanks to some new friends, she’s protected from his advances and the new gaggle of friends are able to head out into the night together, searching for more fun.
In pursuit is a senpai (Gen Hoshino) who pines after Otome. He has been arranging for them to coincidentally bump into one another all school year, and is finally ready to make his move. But Otome’s wandering night is not making things easy for him.
The old trope of a sensitive stalker lusting for an innocent and unaware young girl is tiresome in movie plots and problematic if attempted in the real world. Here is no different. Somehow, by watching Otome from afar, the senpai is painted as a romantic who’s owed Otome’s love by the time the two of them finally meet. How unoriginal and misogynist.
The film’s other characters have some saving grace, fortunately. Otome loves to drink, and has no problem making a complete fool of herself dancing or wearing silly costumes. The friends she meets along the way are generally full of life and willing to indulge her silly whims. A few have a puzzling preoccupation with underwear, but this just serves to flesh out the giant cast of people to encounter on this offbeat night.
The animation style of the film is simple and utilitarian, but the score is quite engaging. As the adventures shift from one location to the next, the music keeps the action moving swiftly and even got my toes tapping.
If only Night Is Short, Walk On Girl had a better plot, and harnessed the fun cast of characters better, it would be a much more enjoyable experience. As it stands now, it’s a mostly fruitless exercise in a plot we have seen far too many times before.