Goodbye, Don Glees!
“That day, I thought our summer would go on forever.”
In the footsteps of great summery coming-of-age films comes Atsuko Ishizuka’s first original feature film: Goodbye Don Glees!, a transformative journey for its protagonists that makes you reminisce about friendships gone by. We meet teen misfits Roma, Toto and Drop in what will become a pivotal moment in their lives. They call themselves the “Don Glees”, an informal name for their backyard adventures. The trio has a base camp outside town, where they gather and part ways. One day, when the three of them get blamed for a nearby forest fire, they set off into the woods to prove their innocence. As disaster strikes their expedition, tensions flare between the friends as they realise that growing up has taken each of them on wildly different paths.
Following up her critically acclaimed series A Place Further than the Universe, director Atsuko Ishizuka (once dubbed the greatest talent along Satoshi Kon in the Madhouse studio) has crafted a grounded anime film evoking the innocence of youth(fulness). Although taking a more lighthearted approach than classics of the genre like Stand by Me, Ishizuka touches on delicate subjects with regards to who we once were and who we want to be. From the get-go you sense there’s something up with Drop, a smiley kid that hides deeper truths. When this emotional trip reaches its almost surreal climax, you’ll get what Drop has been looking for his whole life. Goodbye Don Glees! is a melancholic sendoff to childhood summers that proves the worth of living in the moment.