Today saw the release of the latest Pixar film, “Turning Red” on Disney+. This new animated film tells the story of Mei Lee, who is a confident, dorky 13-year-old torn between staying her mother’s dutiful daughter and the chaos of adolescence. Her protective, if not slightly overbearing mother, Ming, is never far from her daughter—an unfortunate reality for the teenager. And as if changes to her interests, relationships and body weren’t enough, whenever she gets too excited (which is practically ALWAYS), she “poofs” into a giant red panda!
Part of the unique art style of this film is how it incorporates anime style into it. During a recent press conference, the film’s director Domee Shi shared some details on these anime influences and moments in “Turning Red” as she is a big fan of Hayao Miyazaki, Japanese animation like “Sailor Moon” and Edgar Wright films. These references and longtime influences—coupled with Shi’s unique approach to filmmaking—resulted in something new and different.
During the conference, Domee Shi explained:
Oh, yeah, that was our intention from the beginning was to try to push the style of the movie, to just really reflect the point of view of our character of Mei. How does she see the world. And, I was really excited to push the style, to try to blend in all of the things that I love about Japanese anime, which inspired me and influenced me so much growing up, with the house style of Pixar, which is so rich, and detailed, and the characters just feel so alive, and they’re like, how to blend them together in a way that doesn’t feel distracting, or like you’re being pulled away from the story, and the characters, and the emotions of the scene. But also something that the audience has never seen before.
“Ah, so amazing and I love those moments, all of those anime moments we were able to put in. I’m so proud of this movie and especially the way that it looks, and how the crew all were so excited and so on board with trying this East-meets-West anime-Pixar hybrid kinda style to tell this story. Everyone was so eager to jump in and learn about anime. Not everybody on the crew, knew what the Sailor Moon eyes were, or why she was leaking sweat, or when she was trying to hide her sketchbook from her mom.
“Turning Red” is Domee’s first feature film as a director, having previously worked on the short, “Bao”, which is also available on Disney+.
“Turning Red” is available now on Disney+.