Lu Over the Wall

Rated 2.0

This rare stinker from animation importer GKIDS offers echoes of Studio Ghibli classics like My Neighbor Totoro and Ponyo, but it contains little of the charm and none of the elegant character design of those films. Mopey teen Kai lives in a quiet Japanese harbor town where humans and merfolk once co-existed in harmony, at least until an “old curse” inspired the humans to construct a wall to keep the merfolk out. However, when Kai gets recruited into joining a rock band, their song attracts the young and impetuous mermaid Lu, whose tail transforms into two wobbly legs whenever music plays. Lu joins the band as lead singer, and she bonds with Kai over their missing mothers, but a misunderstanding eventually threatens to reignite the curse. There are a few lovely images and ideas, but the character design is ghastly, the animation is inconsistent, the story meanders and the voice performances grate.