Soar into another world with ‘Drifting Home’

A group of children turn an abandoned apartment into a home


“Drifting Home” tells a story about growth and savoring childhood through survival.
Grade: B+
Photo Credit: Studio Colorido

Shayna Migalang, Staff Writer

For normal children, summer break is filled with trips to the beach and ice cream dripping down their face. But for Kosuke (Mutsumi Tamura), Natsume (Asami Seto) and their friends, they’re spending the start of their break learning how to survive in the middle of the ocean.

With the intention to ghost hunt, Kosuke and his friends venture through his old, abandoned apartment complex during summer break, suddenly stumbling upon Natsume, his childhood best friend, and the rest of their classmates. After a heated argument between the two, a flood of water pours down on them. Before they know it, they’re lost at sea with the apartment complex as their island. The group of elementary school students must work together despite Natsume and Kosuke’s differences to gather resources from other floating buildings to survive until they find their way back home. 

Japanese animated films are notorious for their incredibly drawn scenery and animation, and this film is no different. Within minutes, viewers can immediately see the time and dedication put into the artwork. Some background scenes of the abandoned apartment complex’s interior looked so realistic that I wasn’t even sure if it was drawn or was a real photo. On top of that, the flawless animation of the ocean waves, the magical dust soaring into the air, and the rusty rubble floating in the water complimented the movie perfectly. 

Along with the animation, the soundtrack compliments the overall aesthetic of the movie, with nothing feeling over dramatic or out of place. It sounds like it came out of a fairytale, which matches the whimsical elements showcased.

There are elements of guilt and regret, primarily from Kosuke and Natsume as they attempt to rekindle their friendship. I could also clearly witness how people’s words can effect a person deeply. Natsume starts to believe she’s the reason why everybody ended up stranded, which affects the actions she makes later in the film.

In spite of these strengths, there are still some flaws to this movie. For example, it doesn’t make the effort to give the characters dynamic personalities, instead conforming to the same archetypes found in almost every anime. There’s still the arrogant boy, the misunderstood girl, the aloof energetic kid, and the selfish bully that drives the main conflict. I was already expecting this from my experience watching anime in the past, but it was still disappointing to see yet another film follow this trend. 

The plot is also a lot to take in at some points, especially in the second half. The two new characters aren’t given a concrete reason as to why they’re present, other than to act as a metaphor for Natsume and Kosuke’s conflict with one another. I also questioned heavily after the film ended whether or not everything that happened was real due to the additions of magic and fantasy-like settings. As a person who prefers definite answers over weird figurative language, this deducted a couple points from my ranking. 

Overall, “Drifting Home” is a pleasant and enjoyable movie, but it’s not one I dwelled over for days after watching it. The theme may be confusing to some viewers, and the characterization may be too one-dimensional. The heartfelt ending, animation, and soundtrack is enough for me to recommend it to others wanting to watch an anime movie.