Da Yu Hai Tang (Big Fish & Begonia) Anime Movie Review - "What’s longevity without happiness?”

"What’s longevity without happiness?”

  • Run Time : 100 mins
  • Genres : Adventure, Drama, Romance, Supernatural
  • Airing Date : Jul 6 2016
  • Producers : B&T

Contains Spoilers

Da Yu Hai Tang Introduction and Story

Da Yu Hai Tang starts off by telling the audience what you need to know going in. In many ways, this could almost be a form of foreshadowing, but it comes across most noticeably as a form of explanatory dialogue. Our narrator sounds like an older woman but we quickly learn that she is our main female protagonist named Chun. Briefly, Chun speaks of two worlds that exist. One is the human world and the other is a supernatural plane where she resides in. However, with a trial that has befallen her because she has reached the age of 16, Chun is sent to the human world as a dolphin to see how it differs in comparison to her own. Here is where the brunt of the tale begins.

The main plot of Da Yu Hai Tang is to examine a chance encounter between to very different entities—one being human the other magical—and how that brief encounter causes a whirlwind of change. Chun’s journey back home to her realm is thrown into danger when a fishing boat captures her and several other dolphins in a large net. A young boy—who we never learn the name of—who saw Chun in dolphin form earlier rushes to save her. During this rescue, Chun becomes scared and ends up being freed by the boy but in turn knocks him into a whirlpool which ultimately causes his untimely death. When Chun returns to her own realm, she begins to immediately try to undo her mistake in allowing this boy to die but in the process this act causes her to go up against deities with powers far beyond her own.

We won’t explain too much of Chun’s actions in reviving the boy—or the sacrifices she has to make in the process—but she is able to begin a ritual to revive the boy and send him back home in his original form. Now that the boy is a dolphin himself, Chun must protect and care for his new form until he is fully matured and able to ascend back into the human world. However, Chun’s act of love causes a catastrophe to occur in her realm that begins to affect not only her but her family and friends as well.

Da Yu Hai Tang might star Chun and Kun but there is one more major main character with relevancy in the form of Qiu. Since childhood, Qiu has always been the protector of Chun or at least tries to be. Qiu’s role becomes more focal in the halfway part of Da Yu Hai Tang where Chun is in dire need of help keeping Kun safe from her family and other forces that seem to put the dolphin’s well-being in danger. Qiu at first seems to be more of a rascal than a true partner and he even endangers Kun multiple times initially but later in Da Yu Hai Tang, he shows Chun a side of him that she begins to notice as brotherly and kind.

Speaking of the halfway point, Da Yu Hai Tang changes quite a bit during the last hour of the movie. We see quickly Chun’s once playful adventure raising Kun become a true test of fortitude, diligence and perseverance. Da Yu Hai Tang becomes less of a cute tale and becomes more mature with many characters—outside just Qiu and Chun—sacrificing their happiness to protect each other. Without spoiling too much, Qiu especially undergoes the most dramatic scenes with him having to make choices that really feel relatable in the real world. Would you give up your joy for another person? The better question is, could you do such a noble act?

The climax of Da Yu Hai Tang is where we really found ourselves gripping our theater seats tightly. Chun—at this point—is facing a rather cruel reality. Will she save Kun and allow her family, friends and those who live in her realm to all perish due to a wrath she most likely bought on? We won’t give away what Chun does or even what Qiu does but we will say that it gave Da Yu Hai Tang both a happy ending as well as a bittersweet one. Some of the characters of Da Yu Hai Tang find a true happy finale that made us smile but there are a few who suffer in the end and that left us with a heavy heart. However, when the credits rolled for Da Yu Hai Tang, we silently smiled and clapped inside our heads as we didn’t wish to disturb the few others who were watching the special screening with us.

What We Liked About Da Yu Hai Tang

Da Yu Hai Tang tells a story that examines Chinese myths, folklore and legend all infused into a unique tale of romance and fantasy. While we here at Honey’s Anime are more privy to Japanese anime movies and the mythos behind some of the more folklore focused stories, we do know a bit about Chinese legends and seeing some of what we knew explored within Da Yu Hai Tang was a real treat. Da Yu Hai Tang doesn’t reinvent the romance story but equally isn’t trying to be just geared at romance. The ultimate takeaway while watching Da Yu Hai Tang is that it is meant to show you how life is precious, tough, happy and sometimes a struggle. Da Yu Hai Tang examines real world themes despite being heavy fiction focused. We only wished that Da Yu Hai Tang was just a tad longer as one hour and forty minutes just flew on by as we watched this amazing movie.

Discussion Time

Many fans of anime movies are used to Japanese animation versus Chinese animation. However, Da Yu Hai Tang shows that Chinese animation isn’t something to take likely. Aside from just the animation, Da Yu Hai Tang is truly amazing telling a story that feels both mystical and yet relatable with its use of romance and life lessons perfectly melded together in the narrative. There are times where we feel Da Yu Hai Tang misses a few marks—most noticeably in the beginning half hour—but overall, there is definitely more to speak praise of. Let us examine now why you should check out Da Yu Hai Tang and equally why it might not be your cup of tea.

Da Yu Hai Tang PV


Why You Should Watch Da Yu Hai Tang

Da Yu Hai Tang has several elements that will truly make you want to want to watch it as soon as you possibly can. Below, we point out what we felt were the best reasons we truly enjoyed Da Yu Hai Tang. There are dozens of reasons we could have talked about in terms of what made Da Yu Hai Tang so awesome to watch but we want to focus on the points that will really show our love for this Chinese animation. Now, let us jump right in to what makes Da Yu Hai Tang so darn good.

1. Incredible narrative with a twist on Chinese folklore

Here at Honey’s Anime, we aren’t historians on all things Chinese. There are a lot of folklore and legends we don’t fully understand and that worried us initially when hearing about Da Yu Hai Tang as it is primarily focused on showing off a lot of the mythos in Chinese folktales and legends. Thankfully, there were plenty of mythological themes in Da Yu Hai Tang that we did know and we loved seeing it presented in such an epic and endearing way. The folklore focused themes actually work alongside the romance/drama filled plot to create a narrative that just feels unique and engaging. There was never a moment where a lack of understanding Chinese folklore—which we discuss down below what we mean by this—caused us to be taken out of the experience. More so, even when something we didn’t understand happened on screen the plot was able to work nonetheless and provide a captivating moment within Da Yu Hai Tang. Some movies—and we aren’t just saying anime ones—try to infuse myths and legends but because you can’t grasp on the meanings behind their relevance, you miss out on why they are even there in the first place. This doesn’t happen in Da Yu Hai Tang making for a plot that relies on folklore but doesn’t the audience to know everything about it either.

2. Strong animation

Studio B&T did a tremendous job animating Da Yu Hai Tang. From the way the water looked to the magical moments on screen, Da Yu Hai Tang just looked incredible and never once failed to impress. What’s even more incredible is that Da Yu Hai Tang is studio B&T’s only work on record! Usually any studio’s first movie or animated series can be a bit weak here and there but that was applicable to Da Yu Hai Tang. There was some collaboration with Studio Mir—they are responsible for Voltron: Legendary Defender and The Legend of Korra which explains some of the character design feeling like those works—but B&T was the main credited team which shows they did a brunt of the work. Needless to say, to both studios we applaud you seeing as Da Yu Hai Tang was one amazing movie visually.

3. Impressive musical score

Aside from just looking amazing, Da Yu Hai Tang sounded amazing as well. The musical score and sound effects kept each scene working perfectly in Da Yu Hai Tang. Whether a fight using magic was on screen or a simple scene showing the companionship shared between both Chun and Kun, the musical ambiance was just on point. We could easily see ourselves relaxing or moving to some of the tracks used in Da Yu Hai Tang. Here at Honey’s Anime, we always makes sure to remember that without sound, some scenes for any animation could falter. Thankfully, the musical score and sounds were perfect for Da Yu Hai Tang and we think you’ll agree with us too once you see it for yourself.


Why You Should Skip Da Yu Hai Tang

Now Da Yu Hai Tang might be a great anime movie, but no movie is without its faults. There are a few issues that keep Da Yu Hai Tang from being a perfect movie. Will these problems make you dislike Da Yu Hai Tang? We aren’t saying yes but equally some might wish to avoid Da Yu Hai Tang because of the problems below. If you’re on the fence about watching Da Yu Hai Tang then read our issues with it below.

1. Feels a bit rushed at times

Chun’s story of trying to raise Kun and keep him safe is beautiful 95% of the time, but there is an issue that can be quite noticeable. Often Da Yu Hai Tang feels slightly rushed. This could be due to the idea that time in the supernatural world that Chun, Qiu and Kun live in but equally it creates moments where story elements just occur for a second and then switch to a new moment. It doesn’t cause Da Yu Hai Tang to feel rushed overall, but in the beginning—when the rushing issues occurs the most—it does make us wish more was explained and wasn’t just skimmed over. Thankfully, the latter half of the movie doesn’t feel as rushed but some viewers might be annoyed for the first 30 or so minutes.

2. Might be hard to follow if you know nothing about Chinese mythos

The biggest issues many viewers might have with Da Yu Hai Tang is that the fairytales and myths used in the movie might not make sense to those who don’t know a thing about them. While we here at Honey’s Anime don’t feel you need to know the various creatures being shown and the themes of the afterlife/supernatural rituals being conveyed—as we mentioned above—for some viewers this might keep you from fully enjoying Da Yu Hai Tang. There were times where we felt knowing just a bit more Chinese mythos would help us appreciate some of the more dramatic creatures and their greater purposes. Trust us, being an expert on Chinese folklore isn’t required to enjoy the base narrative for Da Yu Hai Tang. However, some moments here and there will be a bit confusing or odd if you aren’t a bit read up on Chinese culture.


Final Thoughts

Da Yu Hai Tang truly was a spectacular movie that kept our eyes glued to the screen from the beginning to when the credits began to role. Not only does Da Yu Hai Tang tell a fantasy tale with some romance and supernatural elements thrown in, but it conveys a message of living life to the fullest however you can no matter the odds against you. We walked out of the theater with smiles on our faces and that—for us—tells us that Da Yu Hai Tang was indeed a great movie. Are you thinking about watching Da Yu Hai Tang? Let us know in the comments below and if you have already share what your thoughts were when you saw it. Remember for more anime movie reviews just like this one, keep returning to our hive here at Honey’s Anime!

Aaron

Writer

Author: Aaron

Hey everyone I’m Aaron Curbelo or Blade as I’m called by my YouTube Subscribers. I’ve been an anime/manga fan since I was a young kid. In terms of anime I have watched nearly a thousand shows and have read hundreds of manga series. I love writing and honestly was so happy to join Honey’s Anime to get a shot to write articles for such a wonderful site. I’m a firm believer in respect in the anime community being the most important embodiment we should all have. We all love anime and we have varying opinions of series but we should respect one another for those differences! Life is too precious to spend it making needless arguments in a community that should be the shining example of loving an amazing medium. I hope as a writer for Honey’s Anime I can bring you folks some amazing articles to read and enjoy!

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