An over-familiar dystopian fable beefed up by eye-candy visuals, Sky Blue is Korea's unsuccessful attempt to challenge Japan's dominance of the anime market. The year is 2142 and the Earth has been turned into an ecological disaster zone after a nuclear war. Survivors huddle in the domed city of Ecoban but as dissent about the city's levels of pollution grows, police chief Jay (voiced by Cathy Cavadini) finds herself battling old friend Shua (Marc Worden) over the shape of humanity's future.
"It's been raining forever," whispers Jay (Cathy Cavadini) as she gazes out over rain-soaked landscape outside Ecoban. Built to protect its citizens from the ravages of the nuclear winter outside, the city is a mishmash of every urban nightmare ever put on screen, from Bladerunner to Metropolis to Akira. It's a world that husky voiced hero Shua wants to destroy, since he's convinced that there's plenty of blue sky hiding behind the toxic rain clouds above them.
"SKY BLUE FEELS TIRED"
Blending traditional 2D line animation with eye-catching CGI backgrounds and inserts, Sky Blue certainly earns its reputation as Korea's most expensive animated movie ever. Moments of unlikely visual poetry abound, from a slow-mo shower of spent shell casings falling from a smoking handgun, to a frantic glider chase through the city's skyscrapers. Once the wow of the visuals disperses, though, Sky Blue feels tired: characters prove to be as two-dimensional as their line-drawn faces, the eco-friendly plotting seems like a second-hand steal from Hayao Miyazaki's nature-fixated films, and the apocalyptic overtones come with no bangs, just whimpers.