Anime Review: Traveling Daru

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Reposted from my Facebook 26 September 2012

Traveling Daru is an animated short by Ushio Tazawa. Since the movie is only 10 minutes long, I’ll try to keep this review consistently short as well.

Tazawa touches a lot of hearts in this short movie, regardless of its lack of dialogue, as a handmade stuffed daruma doll travels the world in search of the little girl that drops him at an airport one day. Over time, the toy whom we can simply call “Daru” travels all over the world in the span of what appears to be a generation. On his way, he talks with other local toys and animals in search of his maker and childhood friend, only to come up short everywhere he goes. Still, Daru looks for his friend no matter how long or how far he goes.

Like most shorts, Traveling Daru has a lot of loving themes, but to me one of the more underlying themes is change. Daru is the representation of a Dharma doll in Japanese folklore, a charm that businesses and people often have to set a goal by filling in one of its eyes and achieving the goal by filling its other eye over time. The doll itself represents some degree of progress and good luck in doing so, a reflection shown in this movie as Daru travels the world over a long span of time.

Again, another great anime movie, regardless of its shortness; but still a wonderful story to be had.

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