Nearly impossible to sum up neatly, this Japanese animated comedy is a bizarre but strangely wonderful adventure. First, let's be perfectly clear that The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl is animation that's intended for young adults and up -- not kids. It's about a university student who's experimenting with being an adult, complete with drinking, cavorting, more drinking, and generally saying yes to every odd and exciting opportunity and offer that presents itself on a night that seems to never end. That magic, time-stretching quality will feel relatable to all adults who can remember their college years. Director Masaaki Yuasa expresses the night's epic quality in a vibrant, colorful, hilarious way. But it's odd and unlikely to appeal to anyone who will take offense at the random, often morally ambiguous characters.
While the Girl with Black Hair is vivacious and fierce, Senior/Senpai is the underdog whom audiences will consider either "adorkable" or pathetic, depending on their perspective (and what's going on in the film). The many supporting characters are all fascinating in different ways, from the romantic Don Underwear (Ryûji Akiyama), who refuses to change his long underwear until he's reunited with a woman he believes he's meant to be with, or the tyrannical "Director of School Festival Operations" (Hiroshi Kamiya), who's trying to crack down on the pop-up theater kids. There's also a Yoda-like millionaire who can procure nearly anything for anyone, including a mysterious, legendary drink. Even if the movie's plot sounds meandering, it's a wild ride that's easy to follow along on -- and the sort of adult-friendly animated film that will remind older viewers of carefree, slightly crazy days.