Starlight Promises follows highschool student Shoma Mihara, who has been invited by an old friend, Atsushi, to a festival. The movie starts off, with Shoma making his way to the meeting spot Atsushi tells him about. Along the way, he realizes he is lost, until he stumbles upon the festival site. There he meets a young girl named Shiori, who attempts to hide him at first. She claims he’s not supposed to be in the area, which confuses Shoma.
They are both eventually found by Kana, the director of the festival. She tells Shoma he needs to leave the area, or he will be forcibly removed. Confused even further, by the fact that Kana herself is a hologram, he expresses he was invited by his friend. Kana then registers Shoma for the festival and asks him to participate in preparing for it.
The next day, Shiori shows Shoma around the village/festival site. She explains to him that they will live in the village for one week. The festival that they are participating in, is one that people come from all over the country for. Shoma is very hesitant to participate at first, mainly because he just wishes to speak to his friend Atsushi. Shiori explains that everyone in the village is helping to prepare for the special festival, and that he will play the prince.
Shoma goes along in the hopes that he will see his friend. He begins helping out, and later learns more about the festival and why it’s so important. At the end of the ceremony, a “miracle” will happen in which a person will get to see someone that they miss. Shoma expresses to Shiori that he has not seen his friend in 3 years, and Shiori is shocked at first. We find out later why.
During their exchange, Shoma and Shiori are attacked by ancient samurai. One injures Shoma, although his wound heals quickly. This is due to the spirit garment he was required to wear on his body. This garment enhances vitals and the person’s strength and skills. It is revealed during this fight that Kana is an AI, and that the samurai are AI generated as well. They defeat the samurai and the finish preparing for the festival.
During the ceremony, they are attacked again and it is revealed that Kana accidently generated the samurai while she was generating information on people who used the starlight app. During this second battle, Kana is injured, and Shoma’s memories are triggered. Shiori and Shoma defeat the samurai for good this time.
Shoma finally remembers that his friend Atsushi has died, and that he repressed the memory, convincing himself that Atsushi moved away. They finish the festival, and all the participants in the festival are able to see their loved ones again. It is explained that the reason this was possible was due to the fact that the starlight pilgrimage app had information on each individual who died.
Because of this, Kana was able to create a holographic version of them. The information Kana collected also happened to be the reason why the samurai showed up. Initially the participants could only see a person who had died two years ago, but Kana made an exception for the Shoma.
The storyline was quite progressive, and not hard to follow at all. From the start of the movie, we learn instantly why Shoma is making his way to this festival. It was slightly predictive. Once, Shiori mentioned the festival was for participants to see people they missed, it clicked. Atsushi was for sure dead. Everyone at that festival, was going to see a dead loved one. After deducing that, it wasn’t all too hard to finish the movie out.
There’s quite a lot of sad undertone in the movie, and no comedic relief at all. The storyline was pretty heavy, and often times throughout watching , there was no letting up. It would have been nice to have been able to laugh maybe at least once.
The animation is quite nice, but it’s nothing too special. Just your standard animation for a movie like this. The scenery was beautiful, but what I noticed most was the water. The character designs were average as well.
Every song heard in the movie, was just super sad vibes. Maybe this was supposed to play into the sad storyline, as well as move watchers, but I personally, felt nothing.
Shoma definitely changed throughout the movie. At first, he’s very insistant with seeing his friend Atsushi. He really has no interest in even participating in the festival at first. Throughout the movie his attitude changes, and he starts getting flashbacks about Atsushi. Upon finally learning the truth, he’s more accepting of his reality, and opts to finish out the festival to see his friend. Could be that he’s matured more on his end and can accept his friend has died.
Shiori didn’t have much character development to undergo, but she was a good support character. Rather than just telling Shoma the truth about his friend, she chose to let him figure it out himself. And after watching him realize the truth, she encourages him to continue on with the festival. She did struggle internally with the fact that she had caused her sister’s death, but that was resolved once she was able to see her sister again.
It wasn’t a bad watch, but I wished I would have paid attention to the genres of the movie. I saw science fiction, and Samurai and completely disregarded the drama tag. I don’t like watching sad movies with uninteresting story lines. I’m already too emotional. Kimi No Na Wa has made me cry too many times. I can honestly say that this movie, did not get one single tear out of me.
I don’t think the storyline was underdeveloped persay, but there were aspects that were confusing to me. For example, the samurai were a question mark. I do not understand how they are central to the main storyline, even though it was explained. I suppose the creator wanted a little action and conflict incorporated into the story. Even if the samurai had not been included, I feel like the movie would have been okay still.
Personally, I would not watch this movie again. If I’m watching a movie that’s supposed to make me cry, then I wanna cry! I suppose if you cry easily, you might like this movie, but it just wasn’t for me. I’m almost upset that I cannot get that hour and two minutes back. However this was not a bad movie, I want to make that clear. I had no expectations for this movie, and therefore I have no disappointments.
But still, even with that being said, if someone asked me to recommend an anime movie with a drama aspect, I would not recommend this one. I know it was supposed to make you sad, but I really was just bored. Starlight Promises is more like one of those movies you stumble upon and once you finish it you’re like…oh. No wow factor but it’s still a good movie to pass the time, as it did just that.