I’ve always been fascinated with flight. So, upon hearing about Blue Thermal (ブルーサーマル; Burū Sāmaru), I leaped at the opportunity to see this wonderful anime film about aviation.
Playing exclusively in Australia at the 2022 Japanese Film Festival, and directed by Masaki Tachibana, Blue Thermal follows Tamaki Tsuru (Mayu Hotta), a young college freshman that wants a normal life, to make friends, and to get a boyfriend. After an accident occurs, Tamaki ends up joining an aviation club and suddenly finds herself in the world of competitive gliding. With the assistant of her peers, mentor Jun Kuramochi (Nobunaga Shimazaki) and fellow club member and her senior Daisuke Sorachi (Junya Enoki), we witness Tamaki discovering her newfound love for flying.
I found Blue Thermal to be very refreshing. I adored how the film was more a coming-of-age story about a talented young woman finding her place in the world and in college life, with the air of being part of a sports club. I also thoroughly enjoyed the humour in the film, and myself, as well as the audience were cackling during certain parts of the screening. Usually, when it comes to humour, I am quite hard to please, but I found Blue Thermal to be hilariously endearing.
Granted, while I do find flight fascinating, I never thought of the idea of joining a gliding club, but it was honestly something I didn’t know existed, and so, I found the activities and competitions that Tamaki and the club go through to be fascinating.
Even the way the film displays flight, with gorgeous visuals filled with beauty and open space, you really feel like you’re right up there in the sky with Tamaki and Jun. I mean, I’m certain the college Tamaki goes to is a rich one, as I haven’t heard of a college having a flight club here in Australia (please let me know if you have). So, at the same time, I was extremely envious of and enamoured by these characters, as this is something I would have loved an opportunity to have had.
Voice acting wise, I cannot fault Blue Thermal. There is so much emotion and passion in Blue Thermal, the vibe and feel is quite like a sports documentary, except it’s completely animated and fictional. I understand the film is based on a manga written by Kana Ozawa, but the manga has not been translated into English, and so regarding it’s ending, I’m not sure if it’s similar or if the film went off in its own direction. However, from what I experienced on-screen, I felt the little pockets of romance flowed quite smoothly with the plot, that is until its ending, where the film takes a turn and left me feeling a bit surprised, a little rushed, and somewhat dissatisfied.
Overall, Blue Thermal is a very enjoyable and light-hearted experience. I am very grateful that the Japanese Film Festival have brought Blue Thermal to the big screens here in Australia. It really is a delightful and gorgeous anime film that is severely passionate, effortlessly charming, and infectiously inspiring.
The 2022 Japanese Film Festival is on from November through to December and is screening Blue Thermal in Canberra, Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney.
For more information, dates, times, and ticketing, visit: