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Oxygen, Explored Through Gorgeous Animation

Every now and then, I’ll shelve my love of overproduced fight scenes and girls with cat ears to indulge in something a little bit more subtle. I like my anime with a bit more subtlety; you already know THAT much. And while I think even slice-of-life shows can be spiced up a bit if they just had a magical energy sword-fight every few episodes, I’m not going to demand them, certainly not if the show is educational as well.

This time, Dinky-Dai-Anim8 (that’s the Australian company producing anime here in Melbourne) have worked in association with medical professionals here in Melbourne, oxygen therapy specialists and people with real life experiences, all to create a beautiful tale that’s so wonderfully animated and told that you’d think it was one of those movies that the other company does. The one with all the nature and flying.

This one is a tacit exploration of oxygen therapy, a girl with a serious lung condition and a boy interning at a medical clinic who has a staunch belief that oxygen therapy is the same as reiki, in that it does not work. Of course, as the series goes on and they form a deep friendship, you learn that his aversion to oxygen therapy goes much further than simply not thinking it’s worth much. I won’t spoil it, but he has a very sad backstory involving bullies, as well as a severe claustrophobia incident with a capybara while he was recovering from an asthma attack.

I haven’t reached the end, so I’m hoping that they don’t go the way of cliche and have the girl dramatically die at the end. But this is supposed to be working with Melbourne’s portable hyperbaric chambers and services, so I’m guessing they have a vested interest in making sure it’s portrayed well. And given the beauty of the animation, I’d say mission accomplished. 4-and-a-half stars out of five.


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