“Goodbye, Don Glees!” is a coming-of-age story that takes longer than it should to hook you, but once it has you, you’re attentive.


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“Goodbye, Don Glees!” is a coming-of-age story that takes longer than it should to hook you, but once it has you, you’re attentive.

Director(s) Atsuko Ishizuka
Screenplay By Atsuko Ishizuka
Date Released (In Theaters) 9/14/2022
Genre(s) Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Young Adult, Non-English (Japanese)
Duration 1 Hour 35 Minutes
Content Rating PG
Noted Cast
Roma Natsuki Hanae
Toto Yuki Kaji
Drop Ayumu Murase

This content contains pertinent spoilers.

Film Summary

Toto and Roma have been friends since 3rd grade and have long been the outcasts of their small town. Roma due to his family working a local farm, and Toto due to him pursuing a medical degree, usually being the top of the class, and currently going to school outside of the town. But, rather than be outcasts alone, they became friends and made their fort that Toto named Don Glees.

Together they would hang out and play there until the end of junior high when Toto went to school in Tokyo, and Roma ended up by himself until a new kid from Iceland named Drop came around. Now, Drop and Toto don’t get along, mainly since Toto tries to be overtly mature for 16, and Drop is a 15-year-old with no desire to dwell on the worries of adulthood.

However, after an incident that can get all parties in trouble, Toto and Drop have to set aside their feelings in hopes of finding a drone that could save them from pending arrest.

Things To Note

Why Is “Goodbye, Don Glees!” Rated PG

  • Dialog: Teasing and bullying – but no cursing or terms which are notably derogatory
  • Violence: None
  • Sexual Content: None
  • Miscellaneous: Crossdressing

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.

Roma

Roma is a farm boy who is notoriously teased for it, and because of that, he doesn’t have any friends beyond Toto and Drop. But, even with being bullied, Toto going to school in Tokyo, and Drop being younger and unable to fully grasp what is happening, Roma is generally okay.

Toto

With being the top of his class in the small town he and Roma are from, the idea of becoming a doctor, attending a top school in Tokyo, and more was considered easy. However, between Roma deciding not to apply and having the issue of feeling like a small fish in a big pond, Toto finds himself having to get real earlier than he would have hoped.

Drop

For a notable part of Drop’s life, he lived in Iceland and loved it there. However, he was called to Japan, and while only 15, he doesn’t go to school which allows him to play an active part in Roma’s life – especially when Toto is away.

Review

Our Rating: Mixed (Divisive)

On The Fence

Eventually, It Hooks You

Unfortunately, “Goodbye, Don Glees” does a few things which aren’t advantageous for any film. First, it doesn’t have the most engaging characters. Roma and Toto are nice, but they aren’t the type who truly stand out, and while Drop could be considered that type of character, they are so out there that it doesn’t appear to coincide with the film’s tone.

From there you have a question about the film’s goal. Is it about Toto and Roma growing apart? Is it trying to figure out who started the forest fire and clearing Toto, Roma, and Drop’s names? Maybe each character finding their treasure, aka something to live for? Perhaps unraveling what Drop’s treasure is as he is the only one who still hasn’t been tempted to give in to pending adulthood?

Throughout “Goodbye, Don Glees,” you are given what feels like episode ideas that were dropped for it was decided this would become a movie. This makes it so that until the film focuses on Drop and what he is going through, and how that can affect Roma and Toto, the movie can feel aimless.

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Ending Explained

Drop is at the center of the heart of “Goodbye, Don Glees!” Yes, Toto and Roma’s friendship matters, but Drop drives the heart of the film and what leads to him getting involved with Roma is when Toto pressures Roma to call his crush, who moved to Ireland, and when he gets the numbers wrong, he called Drop who lived in Iceland. Drop, who was maybe 14 at the time, picked up the call, and while the three didn’t speak, Drop was looking for his treasure, seemingly something to live for or make life worth living, and it ended up being these two.

So, Drop ended up heading to Japan, meeting Roma, befriending him, and while he would take a bit of time to win Toto over, they eventually become friends after the fireworks incident, which led to their assumption that they’d be blamed for the fire in the woods. However, since Roma bought a drone, thanks to Drop egging him on, the assumption was the evidence from that could save them, but the drone got caught in the wind and taken miles away.

Thus leading to the boys’ journey to get the drone, learning Drop is going to die, Toto not necessarily wanting to work as hard anymore since he feels like a small fish in a big pond, and Roma? Honestly, his struggle is with having to accept his life. Never mind Drop’s death for Roma doesn’t get to say goodbye after they find the drone. He and Toto just deal with Drop disappearing and eventually learning he is gone.

With that, it triggers them both to head to Iceland to see the golden waterfall, with a red phone booth nearby, that Drop talked about before. And it is there they realize that the number Toto gave Roma to call his crush ended up calling Drop. And while the phone rings for the boys while they are there, unlike Drop, they don’t pick up the phone in time to know who called. But, at the very least, this long journey has brought the friends closer.

Is There Sequel/ Prequel Potential?

While it is established vocally how the Don Glees fort came to be, a prequel could explore how Toto and Roma became friends, go into his crush and what that was like more, and potentially follow that up with how life after high school went for Toto and Roma.

Drop (Ayumu Murase), Roma (Natsuki Hanae) and Toto (Yuki Kaji) trying to avoid police while they look for Roma's drone
Goodbye, Don Glees! (2022) – Review/ Summary (with Spoilers)
Overall
While “Goodbye, Don Glees!” is a decent film, having to wait for it to figure out what it wants to focus on can be a bit daunting if you believe films should hook you early on.
Highlights
Disputable
Eventually, It Hooks You
78

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2 Comments

  1. i really Just wanted to know who was on the other line when Roma and Toto got there. it would have been amazing if it was their friend waiting for them..

  2. this was a really nice anime to watch but I really need to know how did drop die was he sick or did he have some type on illness?, like many people cried for this we need to know please give answers.

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