Saturday, March 25, 2006

"Windy Tales" = delightful

Subject: Noir
It's a peaceful, though gray morning, and with my week-long bout of "Post-MADLAX Syndrome" finally fading, I figured I'd catch up with the latest releases of "Windy Tales" (episodes 8 & 9).

It's one of those "slice of life" shows, where you get into the simple, almost trivial day-to-day experiences of the characters. And normally, I don't have a lot of patience for that sort of thing. But this one is different in a couple of ways.

First, the storytelling is really, really good. Sure, it gets a little sappy, or a little "young" or me (well, okay, a lot "young" for me), but it's never immature, and it's often insightful in it's simplicity. In fact, "young" as the lead characters are, they are actually quite mature, and the grownup characters provide an added perspective that makes this something far more than just a show about kids.

The other aspect is what drew me to it in the first place: how it's drawn. It's a rather fanciful, almost abstracted style of simple, raw shapes, muted-yet-nuanced watercolors, and a rather low framerate. Yet these characters are a thousand times more real and alive than those in programs that fans would label as "realistic". You can see the in the animators' expressiveness the care for, and delight in their subjects.

I figure there's not much hope of a domestic release of this one, at least not through the traditional anime venues. Which is a shame, because I think with the right positioning, it could become one of those little crossover gems that appeal to people who are hungry for quality storytelling. But I suppose there isn't much of a market in that...

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