Most of the anime films you are going to see are either based on a manga or the extension of an anime TV series. Many anime are based on myths and historical events. Even most of the Ghibli films are based on popular books. On rare occasion you will even see an original story not based on anything. But interestingly enough one of the rarest origins of animated movies has to be taking a live action series and making it an anime. If anything the opposite is almost always the way things go especially with popular josei manga and anime. It is common enough that we have a section for anime that are being turned into live action series in the monthly Line-Up post. Overall it is not that odd when you think about it. You would be thrown off if someone told you the Sex and the City or Breaking Bad prequel was going to be made as a cartoon.
But despite its relative rarity The Case of Hana & Alice is an instance where the anime is actually a prequel to a live action movie. Actually it is a prequel to a live action movie that is based on a series of short films that were made to be Kit Kat commercials. The unusual path to this anime ripples through all of its production from its combination of CG and rotoscoped animation to its idiosyncratic pacing. Yet in the end it uses all of this to explore a quirky character study of friendship and acceptance.
If anything this seems like a lot of time, effort, and technology to tell a story in animation that might otherwise be far more easily told with far simpler live action techniques. Was all of this worth it?
Since The Case of Hana & Alice is a film that acts as a prequel to an already existing live action movie, a live action movie that neither of us have seen, the true test of this story would be whether it could stand on its own.