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Inu-Oh Director Masaaki Yuasa's Favorite Recent Anime Is Another Musical - Exclusive

"Inu-Oh," the latest anime from Masaaki Yuasa, is about noh performers who essentially act as rock stars. Large chunks of the movie consist of elaborate high-energy concert sequences, and as such could be considered a musical, albeit not a traditional "breaking into song out of nowhere" musical. It feels as if Yuasa has been building up to a musical such as this with all of the music-focused sequences throughout his career. His previous films "Lu Over the Wall" and "The Night is Short, Walk on Girl" both contained song-and-dance numbers, while his Netflix series "Devilman Crybaby" and "Japan Sinks: 2020" used rap to deliver exposition or express the characters' emotions.

Looper got the chance to speak with Yuasa in an exclusive interview in advance of GKIDS' release of "Inu-Oh" on home video and digital platforms in the United States. We asked him about his favorite anime or movies from other directors in the past few years. Given his love of music in animation, it's not a shocker that one of his favorite anime movies of recent times is also a musical.

Yuasa recommends Sing a Bit of Harmony

Yuasa named "Sing a Bit of Harmony" ("Ai no Utagoe wo Kikasete" in Japanese) as an anime movie he recommends people check out. He described the movie, directed by Yasuhiro Yoshiura and released in Japan last year, as "like 'High School Musical,' with AI. It's not produced using AI, but it's a story of AI in high school, and they're singing and dancing."

The story centers around a depressed teenage girl, Satomi Amano, who quickly realizes that the new ultra-peppy transfer student Shion Ashimori is an artificial intelligence that her scientist mother is testing. Shion wants nothing more than to make Satomi happy, and she attempts to do this in large part by bursting into big Disney-esque musical numbers. The AI even hacks into the school's speakers to get big dramatic background music playing. While initially, Shion is the only one singing, eventually Satomi and several other high school students get swept up in the musical sweep of things. It's easy to see why this sweet sci-fi film appealed to Yuasa so much.

"Inu-Oh" will be available on digital platforms on December 20 and on Blu-ray and DVD on January 24. "Sing a Bit of Harmony" is streaming on Crunchyroll.