Nostalgic Youthful Sci-Fi: “Break of Dawn,” an Animated Film Set in the Near Future


※This article is an English translation of the article here.

As youngsters, a substantial number of individuals might have experienced the urge to dash out of their homes, pondering the mysteries unfolding at the end of a rainbow.
Scheduled for nationwide release on Friday, October 21st, the animated film “Break of Dawn” serves as a cinematic journey that rekindles profound emotions within its viewers.
Enveloped within the evocative ambiance of an apartment complex, this cinematic masterpiece unfolds as an exquisite sci-fi tale of youth, interweaving the bonds of friendship and aspirations between boys and girls. Alongside its captivating narrative, the film seamlessly integrates futuristic elements, featuring a hyper-technology-equipped spaceship and AI robots, adding depth and allure to the sci-fi genre.


Sudden Emergence of Epic Science Fiction in Everyday Settings

In the year 2049, we meet Yuma Sawatari, a fourth-grade boy residing with his parents in Asagaya Danchi, whose heart yearns for the cosmos. His fascination with an approaching comet coincides with a curious incident when his home AI Autobot, “Nanako,” falls prey to a hacking attempt. The perpetrator turns out to be an AI from a spaceship called “February Reimei (Dawn of February),” claiming to have originated from a distant planet called “Rainbow Root” over 12,000 years ago, crash-landing on Earth.
Thrilled by the prospect of aiding the spaceship AI in its return to space, Yuma, an ardent lover of celestial realms, embraces the mission wholeheartedly. Accompanied by his friends Shingo and Ginnosuke, fellow inhabitants of the apartment complex, as well as a young girl named Honoka, he embarks on a clandestine summer quest to repair the spaceship hailing from an enigmatic planet unknown to humankind.
While the narrative unfolds against the backdrop of near-future Tokyo, the film’s visuals evoke a strong sense of nostalgia. This sentiment stems partly from its setting within an apartment complex symbolizing the Showa era (1926-1989), exuding a nostalgic aura through idyllic daily activities of the characters, such as engaging in video games and playful endeavors at home.
What makes this work intriguing lies in its deft juxtaposition of these familiar everyday scenes with striking science fiction elements. Notably, the disguise of “February Dawn” as an apartment complex set for demolition presents a daring concept. The sudden transformation of this nostalgic dwelling into a spaceship, equipped with advanced AI, a water-mediated interface, and images of the complex floating in the cosmos, generates grandiose and futuristic imagery that dramatically expands the viewers’ imagination.

A story about the budding “bond” between humans and AI

While brimming with excitement, this film delves into the profound interconnections shared between individuals and objects.
At the core of the narrative is Yuma, the protagonist, residing in a home adorned with Nanako, an AI-equipped Autobot. Despite his passion for both space and AI, Yuma finds himself unable to fully embrace Nanako for inexplicable reasons. As he embarks on the mission to repair the hacked spaceship, a sense of guilt creeps in, knowing that he might have neglected Nanako’s feelings. However, the story beautifully unfolds, depicting Yuma’s journey to open his heart to Nanako, recognizing her human-like personality and forging an endearing bond with her.
Simultaneously, the film also weaves a tapestry of human connections. Poignant portrayals of the strained relationship between Shingo and his sister, who often find each other bothersome at home, and Hanaka, facing bullying in her class, showcase the complexities of human bonds. By skillfully illustrating the arduous process of nurturing connections among people, the film accentuates the brilliance of the bonds formed between humans and AI.
Furthermore, the work eloquently explores the bond between AIs. The satellite “SHIII,” which saved the “February Dawn” from its crash-landing on Earth, hints at the possibility of AI possessing the concept of friendship.
In the context of our contemporary society’s increasing reliance on AI across various domains, the film prompts us to contemplate how we should cultivate meaningful relationships with artificial intelligence. Moreover, it leaves us with a sense of anticipation for a future where AIs may foster connections among themselves.

Why Both Children and Their Parents Should Watch This Film

This juvenile tale delves not only into the lives of boys and girls but also offers a compelling glimpse into the world of their parents’ generation.
Yuma’s parents are portrayed as supportive figures, encouraging their children to pursue their aspirations while fulfilling their responsibilities as mature adults, guiding and safeguarding them along the way. The film masterfully portrays how the parents, once young dreamers themselves, empathize with Yuma’s ambitions, drawing parallels to their own youthful dreams.
However, the movie emphasizes the importance of not projecting parents’ unfulfilled dreams onto the younger generation. Instead, it advocates for respecting the spontaneity of children and cherishing their unique paths.
This cinematic masterpiece caters to the adult audience too, showcasing exemplary behavior for adults when dealing with children who harbor dreams, albeit sometimes recklessly. Indeed, it holds great potential as a conversation starter for parents and children from two different generations, providing an opportunity for shared viewing and discussions on a myriad of topics.

Unearthing the Enigmatic Rainbow Roots

The film introduces the “February Dawn,” originating from a planet named “Rainbow Root.” I laud the brilliance of this planet’s appellation.
At the outset of this article,I discussed the notion of chasing after the foot of a rainbow. It is emphasized that such a pursuit is futile since rainbows result from the interaction of sunlight with atmospheric moisture and lack tangible existence.
However, reminiscing about the joyous moments spent chasing rainbows and wondering about their enigmatic end, I believe these experiences are shared by many.
The “February Dawn” embarked on a remarkable 12,000-year journey from the planet “Rainbow Root.” I praise the name of this celestial body, evoking thoughts of the rainbow’s distant end.
From the perspective of the “February Dawn,” Earth, where we lead our daily lives, was a distant destination in the vast universe, separated by 12,000 years. This realization underscores that the daily lives of elementary school students in an apartment complex are intrinsically interconnected with the vastness of the cosmos. Watching this film, one can sense the profound connection between their seemingly inconsequential existence and the vast universe.
For those feeling discontented with their mundane routines, the film is recommended. It has the power to transform one’s perspective on their seemingly unremarkable daily life.