'The Wonderland' - Movie Review

The movie starts with Akane (voiced by Mayu Matsuoka), a young woman unimpressed with junior high school. Her mother makes her go visit their friend Chii (Anne Watanabe) - Akane loves Chii's store, but doesn't know how to deal with Chii. Chii is preparing for another trip (back recently from Thailand, headed now to France) when Akane is pulled into another world by magic and Chii leaps to go along. I mention Chii's passion for travel because the movie is very much about that.

The other world stopped technologically around 1920, but also has alchemy and magic, as well as preposterous but beautiful landscapes. It is, inevitably, in crisis - and just as inevitably, it's Akane's fate to save the world. What follows is either a coming-of-age tale or merely a lesson that we live in a very beautiful world despite its problems. Either way, a charming and surprisingly gentle movie. It seems to have been inspired by a pair of Studio Ghibli titles: "Spirited Away" and "The Cat Returns."