Windaria is a thing. It is a movie from the 1980s, staffed by a bunch of people I’ve never heard of; excepting, of course, character designer Mutsumi Inomata. She’s the only reason I’ve even heard of this. I’ve got this tendency to try things based on staff that I liked from things previously experienced. It may be silly, but hey, if it introduces me to great movies like this I don’t care how silly it is.
Maybe you will watch this and not enjoy the art style. I can understand that. Lots of people don’t like Mutsumi Inomata, especially her old style. But you will like the animation. Sometimes it’s nothing special, but often (in particular scenes involving lots of movement and, for whatever reason, animals) it’s great. You can compare it to modern anime. It works. Of course, it’s a movie, so having good animation is no surprise… but the fluidity of the animation reaches levels that I feel are uncommon even today, in 2012.
And then that music! The composer is some guy named Satoshi Kadokura, who, again, I’ve never heard of. But it’s actually really good, really beautiful, and not a style I’m used to hearing in anime. It’s not filled with sweeping, overpowering orchestral melodies or anything. It’s mostly a much calmer, more atmospheric style (and they make sure it’s nice and loud!). It works really well for this movie, because this movie is in general less exaggerated about things in comparison to a lot of anime.
Also notable in the sound department is the use of sudden silence. That’s a bit of a shock with how prominent the music is due to its volume, and they know that. It’s used to, well, shock you. At shocking moments for the characters. It only happens once or twice, of course, because if you got used to it it just wouldn’t work anymore.
Now, I said this movie was a lot less exaggerated than most anime. But that doesn’t mean it’s not dramatic. It manages to be very dramatic, actually, but without angsting to itself over how sad and tragic its story is. Unlike Evangelion, Windaria does not require over 9000 seconds to show you how terrible life is. It’s too self-aware to dwell on itself like that.
Many have compared this story to Romeo and Juliet, because people just can’t get enough of comparing things to Shakespeare. I, for one, think this should not be compared to it beyond the concept of two lovers being on opposing sides. The two characters in question are far more active in the opposition, as they both end up taking up positions of leadership during the course of the movie. Neither of them want to fight, but at the same time, they don’t want to back down because of stubbornness, cowardice, and what appears to be cultural differences. I really think this plotline was handled wonderfully and is the best thing about the movie.
Unfortunately, neither of those characters are the main, though they do play a huge part. The main is a guy that will make you look bizarrely at your screen because you can’t understand what his thought processes are, if he even has any. He also has a pretty girlfriend whose neckline is awkwardly low considering her character type (which is the “nice average wifey wife”). I don’t really care about these two, or really any characters beyond the two I talked about in the previous paragraph. I expect not many will. It’s just a movie anyway, you can’t expect to get too attached even to good characters.
Overall it’s a very good movie. Don’t let the uninteresting characters thing get you down, because everything else makes this so worth watching. Besides, if you’ve actually managed to stick with this review long enough to be reading this paragraph, you’re clearly very interested in watching Windaria. Get to it!
tl;dr it’s fabulous max. Its credits even say so!