Cyberpunk Review » Wonderful Days {Sky Blue}

January 16, 2006

Wonderful Days {Sky Blue}

Year: 2003

Directed by: Moon-saeng Kim, Park Sunmin

Written by: Moon-saeng Kim et al.

IMDB Reference

Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: Very High

Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: High

Rating: 9 out of 10

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Overview: More often than not, most of the best scifi movies are coming from other countries. Anime is no exception. Wonderful Days (Called Sky Blue in some US locations) is a visual masterpiece of 2D/3D blended animation. While movies like Sinbad, with its wonderful background, but completely stuck on 2D characters shows us the low-end of this spectrum, Wonderful Days is a terrific example of the best in 2D/3D blended animation. This futuristic cyberpunk tale is not the most original, but is done more than well enough to allow to you be totally “wowed” by the visuals and incredible 3D positional sound.

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Wonderful Days takes place in a dystopic future in the year 2140. The world has been decimated and ravaged by war, reckless exploitation of the earth and over-pollution. Clouds have all but blocked out the sun and human civilization is on the brink of elimination. In this chaos, a group of elites have developed a method of using the pollution to create an energy source, and have used this to build a magnificent city called Ecoban.

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Thousands of Refugees have flocked to the Marr, the outskirt wasteland of this Ecoban in the hopes of gaining entrance, but unfortunately this has become a society of the elite and the masses. Instead, the citizens of Ecoban use the Marr as their personal slave labor to work the machines which keep Ecoban running. Life is cheap for the Marr, and the Ecoban elite care far more about their power generation than they do the welfare of the Marr. Unfortunately for the citizens of Ecoban, it appears as if the earth is starting to recover, and the level of pollution is dropping. The governing council has decided to use any means possible to maintain pollution levels to keep their hold on power.

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On a more personal level, this story revolves around three people, who knew each other as children living in Ecoban, but are now adults.

  • Jay - a cute female captain of the Ecoban guard, who has begun to
    doubt the system she supports.
  • Shua - who was cast out of Ecoban as a child under dubious circumstances, only wants to show his adopted kid brother of the streets, Woody, what a blue sky looks like. He saw this once as a child with Jay, and has spent his life trying to overthrow Ecoban in order to see it again.
  • Cade - the security commander of Ecoban, who is deeply in love
    with Jay.

 

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Shua, with the help of a aging Ecoban Engineer-turned resistance leader named Dr. Noah, who was involved in the creation of Ecoban’s power source, has infiltrated Ecoban’s key computer, the Delos System. There he hopes to get information to learn how to destabilize and destroy Ecoban. Unfortunately, he sets off alarms, and is forced to escape, and ends up facing off against his former best friend Jay. After he escapes, Jay seeks him out in the Marr, and they eventually re-establish their friendship, and eventually their love for one another. Meanwhile, Cade, with the help of the Malevolent Commander Locke will stop at nothing to protect the city he loves. When he finds out that his former rival Shua is involved, and that he is re-established contact with Jay, he only has one course to pursue - the total destruction of Shua and the resistance.
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The Cinematography:While the story is by no means original, the cinematography is simply stunning on every level. Wonderful Days uses real film-like effects to increase the “realness,” believability and engagement far more than any animation I’ve seen. We get everything from the use of out of focus backgrounds, changing focal points, lens flares, jerky camera movements, and incredibly interesting perspective shots. On top of this, we get wonderfully rendered raindrops, rendered under-water explosions intermixed with hand drawn fire, and the most incredible array of deep and vibrant color effects in virtually every scene.
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And while all this is astounding, what truly blows you away is the quality of the intermixing of 2D and 3D animation. Its almost hard to explain how well the 2D animation is blended, especially if you’ve seen something like Sinbad, which almost just layers the 2D on top of a background like velcro puppets on a background. Here we get blended effects that truly serve to tie the 2D with the 3D animation. Wonderful Days is simply the best out there at this type of animation.
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Sound Effects: While the cinematography is the real crown of this movie, the sound effects aren’t far behind. Truly, this is the best use of positional surround sound I’ve heard in an anime. We have wonderful “swoop” sounds by the motorcycles that are as good as live action racing movies, realistic explosions complete with pieces flying at you, detailed gunfire and wind sounds, and more importantly, a clear level of care throughout that rarely is equaled. As an interesting effect, the selections in the score are almost disconcerting in how different they are. We have everything from rock music to a wonderful use of opera at the end for emotional building.

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Is this Cyberpunk? You bet it is. While we don’t have the traditional merging of man and technology, all the other elements are here in spades. We get a glorious depiction of a the seedy underground, the powerful elite, impressive hacking, a wonderfully rendered dystopia, flawed heroes, and most importantly - style in abundant quantities!

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The Bottom Line: If you’re interested in seeing the best in immersive scifi anime, Wonderful Days is a fine choice. While it doesn’t have close to the philosophical depth of Oshii’s movies, the story moves along and the immersive action is simply breathtaking. You truly do think you’re watching a continual piece of art go across the screen. And again, while the story is neither complex nor innovative, it is decently well done, especially if you dig cyberpunk-type themes. However, the quality of the cinematography and the intense care given to this film easily raises Wonderful Days up one of my favorite all-time cyberpunk movies.

Get this for the visuals and overall cyberpunk style. Wonderful Days truly deserves to be seen by all.

~See movies similar to this one~

This post has been filed under Hot Cyberchicks Kicking Butt, Utopia Surrounded by Poverty, Dystopic Future Movies, 9 Star Movies, Awesome Cyberpunk Visuals, Animes, Cyberpunk movies from 2000 - 2009 by SFAM.

Comments

March 7, 2006

KLAATUWI said:

Is this available in a R1 DVD, or, will I have to get an import?
Any suggestions?

SFAM said:

Hi Klaatuwi, I’m afraid you’re probably stuck with imports for the moment (ebay is the place to go for this). This trend of keeping out the great foriegn scifi movies is most annoying to us in the US. Fortunately, some of them are finally starting to make US releases. For instance, Natural City is finally being released on April 4th.

March 23, 2006

nhung said:

Hi! Where can i find the song Shua played in the movie???
Thanks!

SFAM said:

Hi Nhung, welcome to cyberpunkreview :)

I think your best bet is to get the soundtrack. Yesasia is always a good source. Try here:
http://us.yesasia.com/en/PrdDept.aspx/code-k/section-music/pid-1002844590/

July 30, 2006

DannyV said:

We truly have to thank animators(independent of country) for their consistent contribution to good cyberpunk. Animators the world over appreciate the maturity of content and the visual spectacularness(um… that’s the word, right?) of cyberpunk, and consistently try to produce thoughtful, quality work of extreme isual beauty. WD is no exception, in fact, it’s an amazing example of the perfect blend of story, characters and moods, brought to life with some of the absolute best visuals in animation history.

Needless to say, i love this movie :)

SFAM said:

Hi DannyV, yeah, this is an excellent point. Something about cyberpunk just works wonderfully in animation. I’m guessing we can expect a continually great stream of these.

September 18, 2006

mattness said:

Thanks to this site I discovered this awesome movie (one more time - Thank you, SFAM :) ).

This movie is really awesome. Really good graphic and orginal idea for SF movie…

But IMHO that’s good SF movie. Not cyberpunk. This is not as gritty as Blade Runner or Robocop. I didn’t found cyberwares from Hardware or councious AI a la Matrix.

Yes, there is plenty of cyberpunkish shades in this story - big bad establishment (similiar to big corporation), riots, brutal police force,
and something like run taken straight from Shadowrun RPG in the grand finale.

But, still - IMHO this is very good SF movie with epic story (If something has really epic story with plot “from 0 to Hero” I don’t buy it as a cyberpunk. Never.).
After 5 minutes you just waiting for 1,5 hour for Happy End. You just know how it will it end.

If you liked Star Wars - you will really like this movie.
If you like action movies and don’t reject animated movies - you will really like this movie.
If you have seen FFVII-AD and you didn’t find ANY story - you will find THAT something in Wonderful Days. I didn’t liked FF7:AD - this is not a movie but demo of SQUARE computer graphics. Wonderful Days is similiar - but with story. Really good story.

This is good movie. I’m starting to be big fan of korean cinematography.

September 19, 2006

SFAM said:

Hi Mattness, glad you liked it! I enjoy highlighting these seldom scene but absolutely awesome flicks. I get your point about the hero thing, although I think we can call Shua an anti-hero more than a hero. In any event, personally, I’m not sure being epic eliminates something from being cyberpunk (nor does having a happy ending eliminate it - although the destruction of the city pretty much symbolizes the destruction of man’s technological competition with nature - I suppose this is happy, but the people will certainly be worse off). I definitely agree it’s predictable.

September 21, 2006

ETM said:

Definitely agreed on Korean cinematography - I have just seen Oldboy and it has blown me away.

May 16, 2007

Liliuy said:

Hi! I have tried to find that song too, I just have found the orginal version and its called “Sky”. But i cant find the english version artist anywere.

PLS, I really need help.
I wont give up until I find it.

(Sry bad english, Im from Finland.. Hope you understand)

E-mail, if you know the singer of the english version, of that Sky soundtrack.

Liliuy said:

My e-mail is castitatis-liliuy@hotmail.com
So pls, If you know that english artist let me know!

Liliuy said:

Btw Nhung, have you already found it?

Liliuy said:

I mean the song what shua plays. I need to know who sings that song.
Its so beautiful!

May 22, 2007

Syr said:

“The song of a child
embraces the lights inside”

If you mean that song: it’s called “A Prayer” and performed by Jae Il Jeong (alternative spellings available).

June 6, 2007

Yoshaw said:

[Quote= Syr]

“The song of a child
embraces the lights inside”

If you mean that song: it’s called “A Prayer” and performed by Jae Il Jeong (alternative spellings available).[/Quote]

Thank you very much for letting me know of that song. Can you email me the mp3 please? I don’t suppose I’ll be able to import the CD here in the MidEast. Please help me get it. If you could please email it to me. I’d appreciate it a LOT!!!

June 10, 2007

mamc2501 said:

los dialogos de esa pelicula apestan

June 20, 2007

CorSaiR said:

this was a pleasant watch last night. although i felt it was more of a showcase for the animation (truly amazing work) and less of a story oriented movie.

some elements even felt more fantasy than sf to me.
mattness said it nicely: “If you liked Star Wars - you will really like this movie.”

still, a warm recommendation to all cyberpunk and anime fans.

SFAM said:

Hi CorSaiR, absolutely agree that Wonderful Days is first and foremost a showcase for the animation and sounds.

July 1, 2007

PSY said:

It’s an animation masterpiece without a doubt. The story and characters do their job, nothing bad, nothing exceptional, but all in all it’s a great film. I remember actually picking this up because I had a spare £10 and nothing to spend it on. I had no idea what Sky Blue (it’s UK name) was, but it sounded cool so I bought it anyway. I’m glad I did, a great purchase.

August 14, 2007

Krelm said:

hey there, i was wondering if there is any ways to get a hold of the soundtrack.
I have tried yesasia and many music and CD selling site but have come up with nothing.

It was an impulsive buy and im glad i got sky blue, very good film. Gets the emotions going and good animation and a lovlely film all in all.

So please could anyone help me with the soundtracks?

October 7, 2007

Lys said:

You can find it every where now! no need to get an import!

January 26, 2008

StrangeCat said:

I am looking for it all I find is the UK version with the bla english voices

January 31, 2008

thefrenchspy81 said:

This movie was a wonderful recommendation for the Cyberpunk and anime fan. I cant say enough good things about it and this site. Good work and thanks for the info.

May 26, 2008

amelidka said:

Intresting movie & beautiful song.

July 20, 2008

nooneatall said:

i have recogmended it to everyone i know who is into anime, but they cant be bothered to go get it. i need to get hold of this and watch it with them. does anyone know where i can get it in uk? preferetialy a common store, not a specialist shop?

PSYMAN said:

I got my copy in HMV I believe (it may have been Virgin). Admittedly it was when it was first released but I’m sure I saw it in the anime or world cinema section in one of those stores (Zavvi and HMV).

September 22, 2008

Celine said:

Is there anybody out there could help me with the song that Shua played?
The voice sounds like Christ Martin from Coldplay, is that right? I’ve got no idea.
I just wann’ get that song…Is there anywhere that I can buy online?
Help me Plz

September 23, 2008

Celine said:

I’ve got them already!!!
http://gh.ffshrine.org/soundtracks/3544

December 8, 2008

Aphex said:

This is a beautiful film. Yes, the plot isn’t exactly original (but then, what is?), but the pacing and the execution are excellent.

The Carnival in Echoban, which Shuya uses to infiltrate the city, was a particular favourite, as were the characterisations (there’s no real ‘bad guy’ in the film - everyone is pretty well-rounded).

Oh, and don’t get me started on the visuals… it looks like they used every hour of every day of the seven year creation time making the film look totally beautiful.

As to those who say it isn’t cyberpunk - I disagree. It’s a dystopic society surrounding a Utopic one that relies on the oppression of the dystopic one to survive, in a future ravaged by mans own greed and rapacity. Not only that, but the Echoban rely on a technology (the living city) they can no longer replicate. All very cyberpunkish themes, IMO.

February 8, 2009

Jesse said:

I’ve been looking for this movie since the trailer hit the web. Thankfully, I’ve found a video store that seeks out rare films and they’re ordering it so that I may rent it (how nice of them). I trust your reviews highly but I don’t want to buy another Asian film that LOOKS great but isn’t worth owning. I’ve fallen for TOO many. Anyway…

Reading your review, the film seems like it’s very original. Without spoiling too much for me, what about it did you find unoriginal? What came before it that had large enough similarities that Wonderful Days could be deemed unoriginal?

April 22, 2009

Jethrosketch said:

possibly the best anime ever. It goes up in my best sci fi movie too…. post apocolyptic, cool vehicles. good vs evil it’s got everything.

StrangeCat said:

it doesn’t even hold a candle to the movie Sky Crawlers!

July 17, 2009

Olbertus said:

To Strangecat I would say that those two films are so different that they don’t bear any comparison whatsoever. Sky Crawlers is a cool movie but it’s genre is nothing even remotely to do with cyberpunk and is closer to alternative history/ war allegory than anything else. I would compare Wonderful Days to the Ghost in the Shell movies (same director as Sky Crawlers) and in that regard it does not quite match GITS visually or in terms of story but it is still a great piece of work and very much under appreciated. When you consider that WD was also basically a first attempt at a Korean anime and the story did not have a wealth of written material by a master like Masanume Shirow to fall back on it is even more impressive.

Also to Jesse I would say that I did not find the story unoriginal at all in terms of visual elements, just a little bit formulaic and predictable although not necessarily in a bad way, the ride is still spectacular and well worth taking and the characters were worth following.

My personal review would be a solid 8/10.

July 18, 2009

StrangeCat said:

They maybe different Films but Sky Crawlers is on a whole other level compared to Wonderful Days as a film. Wonderful days It’s boring film full of eye candy with trite cliche’ plot. Creating a bad script is not an excuse for not having material to fall back on.
Vexville is better film then Wonderful days. Apple Seed the first one was better film. Don’t get me wrong I know the amount of work that went into the film for WD. But so much work went into that animation that they basially forgot about the scrip and plot.
I am familiar with Shirow-san and Oshii-san’s works.
Thanks
7/10

May 16, 2010

bencoder said:

Just watched this (free to stream online if you have a lovefilm account, in the uk).

It is pretty good. I didn’t think it was so much cyberpunk though. It definitely has cyberpunk elements and visuals, but the story is more a classic sci fi of high tech high life vs low tech low life and also very clichéd (I’m sure I’ve seen the same story many times).

The animation definitely was great though

May 30, 2011

bloodnet said:

Ok movie although very formulaic. Check out the anime movie King Of Thorn, has some light cyberpunk elements and it’s a very good one.

February 2, 2012

Sicks said:

Definitely a good film, but I don’t think it deserved a 9 out of 10. 9 out of 10 for animation, sure. Storyline was completely average, and I wouldn’t consider the correlation to cyberpunk themes high, there’s very little focus on technology here.

I guess I’m just bitter because I watched this the same day I watched Paranoia 1.0, which I found IMMENSELY better, and then wondered why they were rated the same.

And it’s not that I have anything against animated films either, I usually prefer them just for the fact that you can do so much more visually with animation. GITS is practically my religion.

June 6, 2012

tigrum said:

dont listen to the haters this movie is worth watching. unique story great artwork.

stream for free… active link when posted
http://www.putlocker.com/file/B1F9DB899DC0C3D2

peace

March 8, 2014

Peccator said:

What is a song and who is singing it on Shua’s old gramophone?

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