Liz and the Blue Bird (リズと青い鳥 Rizu to Aoi Tori) is a Japanese anime film produced by Kyoto Animation and directed by Naoko Yamada, and it premiered in Japan on April 21, 2018. Theatrical distributor Eleven Arts released the film in theaters on November 9, 2018 in the United States (with an English dub cast).
Mizore Yoroizuka is a quiet, introverted student in her final high school year, who is an oboist in the school's brass band. Her only friend, who occupies most of her thoughts, is Nozomi Kasaki, one of the band's flautists, who is much more outgoing and popular. Together, the two rehearse a duet from the musical piece Liz and the Blue Bird, which is based on an eponymous German fairy tale Nozomi loved as a child about a woman named Liz (represented by the oboe in the musical piece) and an unnamed bluebird turned human (represented by the flute) who become best friends and live together, until Liz ultimately decides to force the bird away from her house so it can live a fulfilling life.
Although Nozomi spends time with other friends from the band, Mizore keeps herself isolated from everyone except Nozomi, and refuses her other bandmates' offers to spend time together. She also tries to express her love to Nozomi, but is never able to. Niiyama, a woodwind instructor, advises Mizore to apply for music school after graduation so she could become professional; she is not particularly interested at first, but changes her mind after Nozomi says that she might apply as well. However, their bandmates are worried, realizing that Mizore's only motivation for going to music school is to be together with Nozomi.
As the concert approaches, Mizore and Nozomi grow apart. Mizore feels insecure towards Nozomi because of the previous year during which Nozomi proposed and convinced Mizore to join the band only to later leave it herself on a whim, leaving Mizore feeling abandoned, and persuaded that Nozomi could abandon her again at any time. Meanwhile, Nozomi shows jealousy at Mizore progressively opening herself to more people and being tutored by Niiyama, envious of her greater potential. Furthermore, the two have trouble perfecting their duet, both because of their increasingly complicated relationship and because of their trouble connecting with the characters from Liz and the Blue Bird; Mizore, in particular, does not understand why Liz would ever let go of the bird instead of keeping it with her forever.
Eventually, the two come to a greater understanding of their relationship, thanks to the assistance of Niiyama and other members of the band; they notably come to realize that while they always associated Mizore to Liz and Nozomi to the Blue Bird, Mizore was actually closer to the Blue Bird, having to let go of her unconditional attachment so she can live her own life, while Nozomi was closer to Liz, who let go of the bird for its own good. At the next rehearsal, they perform the piece perfectly, with Mizore's performance being lauded by all. Nozomi confronts Mizore afterwards, having realized that Mizore had under-performed all along so the two would be on the same level. Nozomi also reveals that she did not really want to go to music school, and had only said so out of jealousy for the other, even though she knew she did not have the level necessary to be accepted. Mizore, upset that Nozomi seems to be abandoning her once again, confesses the extent of how important their friendship is to her, expressing how she loves her and calling the other her "everything". However, Nozomi only laughs, thanks Mizore and then leaves.
Some time later, Mizore and Nozomi are seemingly still distant from each other. After they meet in the school's library, Nozomi offers to eat together outside. On the way, she claims that she will back up Mizore perfectly in their duet, only asking for "a little time" and implying that she intends to overcome her jealousy and support Mizore in her life and decisions, while Mizore answers that she will keep on playing the oboe, hinting at her acceptance to finally follow her own path instead of Nozomi's.
- Natsuki Nakagawa
- Yuuko Yoshikawa
- Ririka Kenzaki
- Satomi Niiyama
- Masahiro Hashimoto
- Noboru Taki
- Eru Kabutodani
- Suruga Koteyama
- Reina Kousaka
- Kumiko Oumae
- Hazuki Katou
- Sapphire Kawashima
Liz and the Blue Bird received positive reviews from critics, with most praise going to the relationship and personalities of the two main characters, soundtrack, and animation. Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 82% approval rating based on 11 reviews. On Metacritic, the film has a score of 67 out of 100 based on 5 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". On MyAnimeList, users gave Liz and the Blue Bird a weighted score of 8.20 out of 10. 
Making of movie
- "1st New Sound! Euphonium Film Reveals Teaser Video, Poster, April 21 Debut". Anime News Network. September 30, 2017.
- "Sound! Euphonium's Liz to Aoitori Film Reveals 2nd Video, Visual, Staff". Anime News Network. December 15, 2017.
- "'Liz and the Blue Bird': A brilliantly executed return to an anime favorite". The Japan Times. April 18, 2018.
- "Liz and the Blue Bird". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved August 18, 2019.
- "Liz and the Blue Bird Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 18, 2019.
- Liz to Aoi Tori. MyAnimeList. Retrieved on July 21, 2021.
- "Okko's Inn, Liz and the Blue Bird Win at 73rd Mainichi Film Award". Anime News Network.
- Official website (in Japanese)
- Liz and the Blue Bird (@liz_bluebird) on Twitter (in Japanese)
- Liz and the Blue Bird on Wikipedia
- Liz and the Blue Bird on Tubi
|Liz and the Blue Bird by Kyoto Animation|
|Sound! Euphonium by Kyoto Animation|
|Season 1 Specials|
|Season 2 Specials|