Parents' Guide to

Lu Over the Wall

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Imaginative animated mermaid adventure has a few scares.

Movie PG 2018 112 minutes
Lu Over the Wall Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 6+

Great movie that needs to be seen.

There are moments of translational differences from original language to English, but overall well done. The story was simple, execution with music and dancing push my kids to dance in the middle of the movie...I was so happy. Fourth time in all the 2 hundred movies we have seen. Animation is different but the kids did not even notice at first. Son got worried at the end when SPOLIERS Characters were getting hurt by the sunlight. Really well done. Bad guys are motivated by more than greed or superstition, and good guys do not just stand back and let things happen.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
age 11+

Entertaining and strange with an unfortunate stereotype

This movie was different; I'll give it that. Even though the "Lu" character is pretty similar to Ponyo, the movie is stylistically unlike anything most American children have ever seen, while the story is interesting and easy to follow. Children will have trouble understanding why Yuho is portrayed as such a "sexy" stereotype, with an ultra-short skirt and a stereotypically "ditzy" demeanor, and adults will be alarmed to note that, as a Japanese Junior High student, this character can be no older than 15. Otherwise, the film has a lot to offer.

This title has:

Too much sex

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (5):
Kids say (5):

This quirky spin on classic folktales follows an introverted teen musician's growing, platonic bond with a sweet, music-loving mermaid. Vibrantly colored and imaginative, Lu Over the Wall is sure to charm any moviegoer who enjoys Japanese anime or mermaid stories. Some characters lack depth (several of the supporting roles are aren't very well-rounded), but the movie is still simultaneously humorous and substantive. It isn't the kind of anime drama that will evoke a deep outpouring of feelings, like many of Studio Ghibli's best offerings, but it's compelling to see how the villagers handle Lu's presence -- and how easily they turn on the merfolk once the merfolk stop being perceived as a tourism opportunity and start to feel dangerous.

The voice acting is well done, but there are a couple of times when Lu's high-pitched, squealy voice might be difficult to decipher in the dubbed version. Luckily, she doesn't say much that isn't monosyllabic or repeated many times ("friends, friends" or "like, like" or "happy, happy"), so it's not difficult to pick up what she says on the second or third try. Kai's angst (and cluelessness about Yuho's crush on him) can get a bit grating by the third act, but Kunio is a breath of fresh air as the comic-relief friend (who's head over heels for the beautiful Yuho). The action sequences are impressive, especially when the merfolk band together to save the villagers from rising waters. Parents with tweens and teens who enjoy foreign animation will surely want to add this to their family movie night rotation.

Movie Details

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