Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky. (slithytove) wrote,
Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky.
slithytove

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Review: Windy Tales

Windy Tales is a new anime series, currently airing in Japan, being fansubbed by DeathSquad and Shining Fansubs. It's available via torrents from both groups, and you can download it via http from DeathSquad's website (once you create an account on their forum), an unusual convenience. Only two episodes are available fansubbed as yet. Format: 16:9. Genre: I have no clue. Studio: Production I.G. (Furi Kuri, Ghost in the Shell [original movie and all recent spinoffs], Jin-Roh), directed by Nishimura Junji (You're Under Arrrest! TV), music by Kawai Kenji (some GitS, Vampire Princess Miyu OAV's and TV, Blue Seed).

"Supervision": Oshii Mamoru. Which probably explains a lot.

Nao is a high school girl who photographs clouds for her 'Digital Camera Club'. (All the kids in the cast are highly digital: cameras, photo printers, PC's and PDA's are everywhere. A fair amount of the dialog is SMS messages on their cell phones and PDA's.) Nao says that she photographs clouds because in their movements, you can 'see' the wind. One day, when she is alone, she sees a cat jump off the roof of her school—and fly on the wind. Things get increasingly peculiar from that point on.

This is a very strange, but charming and magical show. As you can see from the examples below, the character design is unusual: pear-shaped bodies with flat chests, immense hips and thighs tapering to tiny feet. Reminiscent of the figures of Gaston Lachaise or even Giacometti. Eyes in which the iris almost crowds out the white of the eye, and there is no pupil. No noses in full-face shots. At first the cast look like the Children of the Damned. But you get used to them.

The other odd thing about the design, which shows up not just in the cast, but in the non-human characters, such as the cats, and even in the sets, is a marked angularity, and flatness of coloring. The effect is almost cubist. You can appreciate it a little in the second shot below, but it shows up most prominently in movement. Running characters decompose into something like Nude Descending a Staircase, a construction of flickering triangles.

The music is quiet, low-key, and largely instrumental. It helps a lot to set the tone of strangeness and wonder. One guitar solo keeps showing up, and there's something with violins. Both are lovely. Only a two-song single has been released so far, but I'll probably get the OST.

I've only seen one of the two available episodes, and it's too soon to say what the show's about. So far, besides the strangeness of cats who fly in the wind, the show has touched on issues of teenage social/romantic anxieties, teenage suicide, and modern city vs. traditional rural Japanese life. So far, the tone is of magic and mystery.

Example of the unusual character designs.

 

Sky full of cats?!?

 

Gorgeous use of monochromatic watercolor backgrounds to express the isolation and anomie of high school and adolescence. The backgrounds in the school scenes are almost uniformly gray and dismal, rectangular, almost industrial.

 

Out in the country, where our cast is headed in Episode 2, local folk prepare for the Wind Festival. Note the little temple in the background. Note also the bright colors of the trees and the banners, as opposed to the dull grays of the high school interior scenes.

Visual quality of both DeathSquad's and Shi-Fa's fansubs is bad, with lots of visible artifacting, such as 'mosquito noise' and ringing caused by over-zealous MPEG compression. Both also have bad judder, especially noticeable in pans. Shi-Fa's judder is worse, and I recommend DeathSquad's version. The sound seems okay in both versions, and I have no opinion on the translation. Frankly, the Shi-Fa's version's judder is so bad it's distracting. Given that both versions seem to have the same compression artifacts, despite DeathSquad's avi's being 60 megs larger, I would guess that the problem is that both groups are working off bad raws.

This is not typical anime, although I'm not surprised it would come from Oshii Mamoru. I like it a lot.


JI

meaning: magnet, porcelain

磁石 == jishaku == magnet
磁器 == jiki == porcelain, china


Left radical is 'stone' (石). Right radical is a Non-General Use character which originally was a doubling of 'twisted thread', used phonetically to express 'draw/pull'. A magnet, of course, is a stone which pulls things toward it. 'Porcelain' is a borrowed meaning. Henshall suggests as a mnemonic: 'Stone has invisible magnetic threads.'

Stroke order from Josh's Chinese Lookup Thingy (animated)
Info from Taka Kanji Database
Gahoh kanji movie

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