The Life of Budori Gusuko- Anime Review

Title: The Life of Budori Gusuko

Director: Gisaburo Sugii

Publisher: Sentai Filmworks

U. S. Release Date: 3-27-18

Format: Movie, Blu-ray, 105 Minutes

Genre: Drama

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: C


Going from a charmed family life on the edge of an idyllic village, Budori’s life turns tragic when the weather causes a famine. He is reluctant to leave the only life he has known, but with the circumstances so dire, he must set out on his own. He lucks into a good job and a place to live. However, once again, the changing weather forces him to move on. Now older, he seeks opportunity and education. Budori intends to live a life of service and purpose. With a new position,  he has the chance to learn and prove his worth, but nature will again challenge his world. What Budori finds in himself is the stuff of legends.


The Life of Budori Gusuko is essentially spun off from the 1985 anime, Night on the Galactic Railroad, a fantasy novel originally by Kenji Miyazawa, written in the 1920s. Its connection to the early anime is easily apparent, having the same director and character design. But the story isn’t a sequel, time is at least concurrent in the beginning. It doesn’t seem to be a development of the story, there isn’t enough of the same elements to function that way. I have yet to see.

For me, who has not seen Night on the Galactic Railroad, The Life of Budori Gusuko is nothing special. It started out well, with beautiful scenery and an idyllic story beginning. But then, what did it have? Bits and pieces of good things and drama but not really knitted together to make a cohesive story. Each little section was good and had some quality animation but they didn’t fit as a whole. The fantasy elements seemed to be headed somewhere strong, but most turned out to be dream sequences. The caped cat, who is apparently the grim reaper, is the only fantasy element to be part of the reality, and with that being the lone fantasy element, it felt out of place and not woven into the fabric of the story.

I couldn’t figure out who the target audience for The Life of Budori Gusuko is supposed to be, I mean who is this for? If it’s for kids, some of the story elements are in the wrong vein and too serious/depressing with no big lesson.  The “lesson” of what kind of person do you want to be, and what will you be willing to do to be that, is just sort of tucked in to something the teacher read and mentioned again in the sudden pivot ending. Okay, if there’s not a lesson, then entertainment? Uh, well, it’s a downer, no action to speak of  and nothing thrilling. It’s not funny or cute. Okay, the people look like cats, but that is it. It may be cute on some, but like the dad who is bearded and depressed, not so. And there is no reason at all for them to be cats. They don’t even have any cat like tendencies, they even eat tomato soup- totally un-cat like. If it’s for adults, there wasn’t the development of the story to draw me in. Here is where the lack of the sequences fitting together as a whole really hurt the film. With it seeming like separate stories, there just wasn’t the time to ripen anything.

So, for me, the strongest aspect of the movie is the visuals. Sometimes well developed, sometimes very creative. With the beginning, great attention was given to the scenery and settings. A close second, was the soundtrack support. I don’t know that listing to it on its own would be good, but it did a great job setting the mood with a range to keep it interesting.


Overall Grade: C      Piece by piece, there is plenty to enjoy but the elements weren’t mixed well together to make the story solid.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *