While ONI may be slow at times, it still packs an emotional visual feast for animation fans of all ages. Director Daisuke “Dice” Tsutsumi utilizes computers to simulate stop-motion animation to glorious effects. The look and feel of ONI is on par with the likes of Laika Studios. Sadly, the predictable plotting prevents ONI from becoming a classic.
While the plot may have shades of PRINCESS MONONOKE, FERN GULLY, THE LION KING, and even BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, the creativity of the characters makes this worth watching. The lead character, Onari, gives off BRAVE vibes, Naridon is like an angry TOTORO, and the rest of the forest characters are all stand-outs as they try to discover their courage.
The theme of ONI is that people fear what they don’t understand. It’s a universal story that should connect audiences to “the legend of the girl who conquered the shadow.”
It’s available on Netflix.