Liz and the Blue Bird is a side story to Sound! Euphonium. This anime also works well as a standalone film so you will still enjoy this anime film even if you haven't watched Sound! Euphonium. The collaboration of Naoko Yamada as a director and Reiko Yoshida as the screenwriter is a match made in heaven. They also worked together on A Silent Voice, another fantastic anime film so it is to no surprise that Liz and the Blue Bird is a great anime film. Yoshida is a fantastic screenwriter and knows how to blend in metaphors and bring the story and animation together to make a cohesive and beautiful anime film. It was nice to see the characters and the setting in Sound! Euphonium brought back into Liz and the Blue Bird. Liz and the Blue Bird is impressively well-written and is also guided with grace with Yamada's direction. It's a familiar yet refreshing take on Sound! Euphonium. Liz and the Blue Bird gives you the illusion of peacefulness while slowly giving you hints of a sad and heartbreaking ending that is inevitable. The film slowly becomes intentionally predictable but slowly makes its way to the ending to torture the audience and to give the audience a taste of the emotions felt by the two main characters. Sound! Euphonium. More like yuri bait! Liz and the Blue Bird does not shy away from the yuri bait and I am easily swayed by the slightest yuri bait. I love it!
The animation by Kyoto Animation is great as always. Everything from the character designs to the musical instruments looks dazzling. Kyoto Animation is one of the best anime studios out there in terms of animation style and quality. Anime produced by Kyoto Animation just look so gorgeous. I liked how this film has a different animation style when the story swaps over to the actual story of "Liz and the Blue Bird". It is intentionally different to make it obvious to the audience that that part of the film is just a separate story yet it links to the main story in a metaphorical and slight physical way. The use of animation in this film is very creative.
The sound design and score in this film are absolutely phenomenal! I love the soothing sound of the score. The ending theme is great too! There is a contrast between Liz and the Blue Bird and Sound! Euphonium. The two main characters in Sound! Euphonium are Kumiko Oumae and Reina Kousaka who play the euphonium and trumpet respectively. They are brass instruments which are loud and bright in tone colour giving that obvious happy and energetic tone to the score in Sound! Euphonium. The main characters in Liz and the Blue Bird are Mizore Yoroizuka and Nozomi Kasaki who play the oboe and flute respectively. They are both woodwind instruments which are soft and airy in tone colour giving that peaceful and relaxing tone to the score in Liz and the Blue Bird. Sound! Euphonium focuses more on the euphonium and Oumae’s character. Oumae is an extrovert while Kousaka is an introvert. Liz and the Blue Bird focuses more on the oboe and Yoroizuka’s character. Yoroizuka is an introvert while Kasaki is an extrovert. The contrast between the instruments in the two anime and the differences that the instruments represent with the characters is one of many details in this film which I picked up on and thought it was a nice touch to this music anime film being a side story to Sound! Euphonium. Liz and the Blue Bird has a more laid back feeling compared to Sound! Euphonium and this is represented by the character development, the types of instruments being focussed on, and the score. The voice acting in this anime film is great as expected.
Liz and the Blue Bird has great character development. Since it is a side story to Sound! Euphonium, Liz and the Blue Bird already has character development backed up from the anime series and just needed to focus on side characters who were not already focussed on in the anime series. I like the contrast between this anime film and the parent anime series. There are similarities between the characters in both anime as well. The “true” main character in these two anime have different personalities but they both have friendships, or more than that, with another girl with a completely opposite personality. These two anime show relationships between two opposing personalities but contrasts with the focused main character. It’s different, yet so similar and familiar. This film has new characters that aren’t in the anime series, that being Liz and the blue bird. Their characters are symbolic of everything from the music to the relationships in this film. I like the intrinsic link between the storytelling and the events that happen in the film. I wish that the film gave more screen time to Ririka Kenzaki as she was another girl in the band that played a reed instrument and that the film would be longer as a result. This film is not very long, with a run time of 90 minutes. I wish this film was longer, but regardless, the screenplay in this film is great.
Overall, Liz and the Blue Bird is a well-written anime film that has great direction, great animation, great voice acting, a great score, and great character development. It was enjoyable to watch and it’s nice to see Yamada and Yoshida collaborating together on another anime film. Kyoto Animation has been pumping out great anime. It was nice to see the universe in Sound! Euphonium once again in a reimagined story with a different feel. Check this one out, especially if you have watched Sound! Euphonium.