Tuesday, May 3, 2011

REVIEW: Kawamo wo Suberu Kaze

A one-shot josei anime aimed at older women. Not the description of a particularly crowd-pleasing show but at 23 minutes, watching this anime is not a complete waste of time.

Kawamo wo Suberu Kaze (roughly "the wind that skimmed the river's surface") is the story of Noriko who returns to her hometown of Kanazawa for the first time since she left the country five years ago. Her four-year-old son accompanies her while her husband stays behind in America, presumably to work, but we later find out that Noriko's marriage is far from happy and that there might be a reason for her homecoming other than that she misses her family.

The anime is produced by the Answer Studio, whose works include the James Bond-esque Golgo 13. Given its history, the subject matter of Kawamo wo Suberu Kaze is an odd choice for the studio. For one, the story is quiet in that nothing basically happens. This is just a brief glimpse in the life of a woman - the choices she made, her passions, regrets, and the question of whether or not she is happy with her lot in life. There is drama but it's much more subdued than what you'd come to expect from the usual fare. The outlook isn't in any way revolutionary but for an anime, it's just the sort of material that is seldom explored, and therefore, Kawamo wo Suberu Kaze comes off as new.

Visually, the anime resembles its plot. That is, the art is subdued and quiet. The designs of the characters are semi-realistic, actually reminds me a bit of Satoshi Kon with the angular shapes and straightforward lines. Other than that, Kon is obviously of a whole new level. Kawamo wo Suberu Kaze, however, looks attractive, but that's just my humble opinion as I tend to like this particular style. The background art...well, you can see for yourself. It's mostly heavily-rendered live photos, which can be jarring in some anime, but here, it works. Too well, sometimes. The characters can sometimes get lost.

What I like about this anime is that it's pretty complete despite its short air-time. The central character is likeable and very relatable. That is, if you are within the age group this particular anime is specifically targeted at. Fortunately, I am.

In conclusion, I like this anime. I enjoyed my 23 minutes watching it, so much so that now I am interested in watching Flag, another offering of a different sort from the same anime studio.