Movie Review: Latest Crayon Shinchan movie is a heartwarming comedy needed in an uncertain time
‘Crayon Shinchan: School Mystery! The Splendid Tenkasu Academy’ is predictable but it is the wacky characters' personalities and their earnest care for each other that make the movie.
A little bit rude, a little bit crude, he’s the kid with an attitude!
Those lyrics of the English dub of the Shinchan anime intro summarises the five-year-old protagonist almost perfectly. In his heart, Shinchan cares a lot about his friends and family even if he does not always show it.
The anime began in 1992 and still continues today, spawning 29 movies to date. This latest, Crayon Shinchan The Movie: School Mystery! The Splendid Tenkasu Academy, hits Golden Village cinemas exclusively on Sep 9.
In the latest movie, Shinchan and his group of friends parade around as the self-proclaimed “Kasukabe Defense Force” and experience a one-week stay as part of the “defense force” of the elite boarding school, Tenkasu Academy.
An Artificial Intelligence (AI) developed by the school awards students points for good actions like answering a question correctly in class or winning a marathon, and students with the most points get special treatment (gourmet lunches of crabs as opposed to fried noodle buns for those with low or negative points for example).
One of Shinchan’s friends, Kazama, is delighted when he hears that those with high elite points will be admitted to Tenkasu Academy as scholarship students during the trial enrollment.
At the academy, Kazama is attacked by what the students claim is a vampire residing in the school’s clock tower. Bite marks are left on Kazama’s butt, robbing him of his intelligence.
The school’s headmaster appoints the Kasukabe Defense Force (sans Kazama) to solve the mystery with the school’s dropout student council president, Chishio Atsuki, a former elite student until she lost her ability to run, in tow.
The movie is somewhat predictable and I found it easy to guess the plot of the movie early on.
However, the funny antics of the main characters and how their personalities play off each other drew me in and perhaps, is what keeps the franchise going. I found myself laughing at the way Shinchan managed to get himself appointed as the lead investigator for the vampire mystery – by exposing his headmaster for silently farting, in a classic Shinchan move – as well as his other antics.
As someone who isn’t a particularly big fan of Shinchan – my fleeting memories of the playful character are Shinchan merchandise that were sold almost everywhere while I was growing up and bits of the English theme song – I went into the movie without much of an expectation.
The movie is easy to comprehend even if you don’t follow the Shinchan universe, despite it being in Japanese. It also leaves some questions – like the justification of being treated well only if you are an elite student – for me to ponder.
Overall, Crayon Shinchan The Movie: School Mystery! The Splendid Tenkasu Academy is heartwarming as it shows how Shinchan does all he can to help out those in need. Balancing that with Shinchan’s antics, you have a movie that is both heartfelt and funny to provide a good two hours to unwind despite facing various uncertainties in daily life.
Tickets for the movie can be purchased at Golden Village’s website.