Flavours of Youth (2018)
This is a real mixed bag. Three stories, essentially separate but following themes of youth, senses and emotions, the wonder of what the future might hold. The first story works really well, a slow burner following a young boy reminiscing about his home town and the perfect noodles that remind him of his grandma. It's really sweet and the animation of the food is ridiculous. Don't watch this when you're hungry. The second story is the weak link for me, two sisters in the big city, the eldest a model coming to terms with no longer being the hottest thing on the catwalk. It's a bit thin and the characters quite unlikable. After the evocative nature of the first story, this really suffers. Flavours of Youth redeems itself in its final act though with a story of three school friends, unrequited love, pressures of exams, expectations of parents and missed opportunities. The friends pass cassette tapes between them, leaving one another messages, saying the things not always easy to say face to face. Again it's quite sweet, a little sentimental, but probably the most well rounded of the three stories. It's not quite up to the standards of Your Name or Weathering With You, that the studio was also responsible for, but at around 25 minutes each, this is still worth a watch.