Pompo: The Cinephile – Review/ Summary

Pompo The Cinephile is an ode to anyone who has a dream who sacrificed for it, and were ready to settle when they thought their dream was soon to die.

Director(s) Takayuki Hirao
Screenplay By Takayuki Hirao
Date Released (In Theaters) 4/27/2022
Genre(s) Comedy, Drama, Young Adult, Animation,Non-English (Japanese)
Duration 1 Hour and 34 Minutes
Content Rating Not Rated
Noted Cast
Pompo Konami Kohara
Gene Hiroya Shimizu
Natalie Rinka Ōtani
Martin Akio Ohtsuka
Mystia Ai Kakuma

This content contains pertinent spoilers.

Film Summary

Pompo, the granddaughter of a legendary Nyallywood producer, has made a career of spotting talent and sticking to simple, almost guaranteed, hit movies. However, with taking note of her assistant’s talents and interests, she decides to write a script that is different from what she usually produces. Also, she risks having her assistant, Gene, direct a film for the first time, a newcomer named Natalie be the female lead, and the legendary Martin Braddock, a six-time Nyacademy Award Winner, be the male lead.

This is an overwhelming responsibility for Gene, but with wanting to impress Pompo, honor the sacrifices he has made thus far, and make a film that reignites dreamers like himself? He might be a bit scared and stressed out, but he is going to do what needs to be done.

Things To Note

  • Reason(s) for Film Rating: Sexual Content (Some ecchi, but nothing gratuitous)

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. What had Pompo’s parents so busy they left her with her grandfather? Do they run the family studio?

Collected Quote(s)

“Directing is subjective. Editing is objective.”

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.


While a family name got her in the door, multiple hit films has created her own legacy, and while so young she can be considered a prodigy, with her latest project, directed by her mentee Gene, we see Pompo is just getting started.


An outcast all his life, Gene has been a student of films since he learned about the escapism they can provide. Which makes working under Pompo and occasionally running into her legendary grandfather a blessing regarding all he wants to do with his career.


Natalie is a girl from a town most wouldn’t know, but her dreams are very familiar. She wants to be an actress and to stay in the place where dreams come true, she has taken on many jobs and fits in acting classes when she can. So when Pompo decides to invest in her, it is a shock that reduces Natalie to tears for no longer is Natalie a dreamer but a doer.


Martin (Akio Ohtsuka) filming a scene
Martin (Akio Ohtsuka)

A legendary actor who, thanks to Pompo’s grandfather, comes out of semi-retirement to be in Pompo’s film and give it oomph.


Mystia is Pompo’s favorite leading lady because she has the look guaranteed to deliver a hit. But, while Mystia enjoys the B-Movies that Pompo is known for, she is prepping to be more than a buxom blonde whose physique can sell a film far more than the story or what she says.



All The Highs And Lows Of Being A Creative In The Film Industry

The film industry is often portrayed to be notoriously brutal. Between rejection and the concept of paying your dues, it is notoriously not made for those who are unable to take a no and realize they may not be talking to the right person. If not, they have a dream so vivid that what everyone else calls reality is a fantasy. We see this with both Gene and Natalie.

Gene (Hiroya Shimizu) directing a scene
Gene (Hiroya Shimizu)

For Gene, he is that assistant who is tasked with keeping someone who seems completely mad happy. This includes runs for food, driving them home at night, and sacrificing sleep in order to keep up with an ever hectic schedule. Yet, despite how Pompo is, she also gives Gene the opportunity to absorb so much from being around her. Thus when it is time to direct, he isn’t just a fan of film who has existed on the outside looking in. He is someone who understands the job beyond theory, he just wasn’t able to make decisions.

And even then, you see the hoops he jumps through when it comes to financing, understanding who he is making the film for, movies being a collaborative process, yet trying to maintain his vision amongst all the compromises – which includes editing. Pompo The Cinephile allows you to understand the dream and the difficulty to birth that dream into reality.

Which can also be said with Natalie. Pompo is used to women like Mystia, who are the types who are beautiful to look at, can act, and are sweet but can portray a badass. A total package. That makes plain, hometown is nothing but cornfields Natalie not seem or look like a star. Yet, there is something that lingers when she leaves a room. And in a way, what Natalie reminds you is that, even in rejection, being told no is for that one thing, if not that moment. People can change their minds or see more for you than what you think they do.

Natalie (Rinka Otani) out in the rain
Natalie (Rinka Otani)

And overall, the idea seems to be that if you pursue every avenue there is to bring your dream to reality and really study and prep for it, when the moment comes, it won’t be luck but rather be earned, and the experience will be bliss.

The Complicated Take On Sacrifice

Towards the end of the film, the topic of sacrifice for your work and dreams is pushed to the forefront. From sacrificing relationships, time, and more, what are you willing to give up? What of the day are you willing to lose for a lifetime? In many ways, it pushes the question of what is really worth sacrificing for something greater and can you live with it? For not all sacrifices are equal, and some things, like time and experiences, can’t be recovered by returning with money, accomplishments, or apologies.

So with that in mind, are you serious about the end goal and willing to do what it takes for it? Since the idea of having it all is nice, but even with the right team, perfection is a hard achievement and lofty goal.

Loving Nearly Every Character On Screen

Pompo (Konami Kohara) winking at the camera
Pompo (Konami Kohara)

Going by the trailer, you may think some characters would be over the top, one-note, or simply not as interesting as they could be. That isn’t the case. If anything, the trailer undersells how much you’ll fall for nearly every character in Pompo The Cinephile. Yes, Pompo herself seems like a mad wildcard who got to where she did based on nepotism and her grandfather’s network, but that isn’t true. That gave her a leg up, but you can see her love of film and the people who work in it are why she still has a job; alongside an eye for talent that leads to people like Gene and Natalie getting their big break.

Also, as much as you could see Mystia to just be this buxom blonde who is nice, and made just for ecchi moments, that’s not the whole of her character. She does do B-movie hits that are by no means masterpieces, but she does have plans for more. In a Marilyn Monroe way, you can see that she gives the people what they want while she preps for something more. And with her not at that point where she can do the kind of films Gene wants, she trains and dips her toe but isn’t ready to fully dedicate herself and change the narrative just yet.

And I could go on and on, but all you need to know is for nearly every character, there is more than meets the eye, and the more in touch you get, the more emotionally invested you’ll end up being.


Our Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)Recommended

Pompo The Cinephile is a palette cleanser. Whether you’re talking about the state of animation with this season’s releases, theatrical releases in general, or just finding creative ways to keep audiences interested in the entertainment industry, Pompo The Cinephile hits the reset button. It gives you characters who are certainly comical but have layers to them that show the duality of their being. The film’s exploration of getting your big break hones in on the anxiety of breaking it and all that could go wrong and go right. And overall, it gets you emotionally invested to the point of not only wanting to believe in the characters but believe in yourself. Hence the recommendation.

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Movie Poster - Pompo The Cinephile
Pompo: The Cinephile – Review/ Summary
Who Is This For?
Film lovers who don't want an overly serious film about making it in the industry, but want humor, realism, and a nod to the hardship and joys of working towards a dream.
Loving Nearly Every Character On Screen
The Complicated Take On Sacrifice
All The Highs And Lows Of Being A Creative In The Film Industry

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