Anime Meta-Review


Weathering Continent


By Date




Title Info

  • type: movie
  • grade: worthy
  • dur: 45
  • made: unknown
  • Review created: Sat Jan 20 16:58:13 EST 2001
  • mod: none

This is a very interesting piece of (albeit older) cinematic fantasy. It differs from the normal `gung-ho' stuff though, as this is dark and atmospheric and interestingly different. It's just a real shame that the copy I eventually found (which wasn't easy) was not great quality.

The important background, and the source of the name, is vital to the story. It seems that on this continent, through no fault of its inhabitants, climactic change and the ensuing environmental catastrophe's are destroying both the land and it's people. Desert swallows up farms, cities and even entire kingdoms with a seemingly insatiable hunger. As water and food become limited the peaceful empire that ruled shatters into a thousand feuding warlords and factions. And no amount of human effort, magic or prayer seems to offer much hope of changing this trend towards destruction.

Not that the three people we meet, trudging across seemingly endless desert, are thinking at this level. They're more worried about finding water and staying alive. Although these are not humble villagers. One, hugely muscled, scarred and wielding a large sword is clearly a warrior. Another, a slightly built bishounen, proves to have some connection with the magics of the world. While the smaller, slighter (yet still armed) figure, seemingly the most lively of the three, has a less clear role. There's definitely a depth, and a scent of mystery, to them however. And also the clear suggestion that, should the need arise, they can overcome most challenges.

Now, giving a synopsis will be impossible. Both because it would spoil the experience and because, being based on mood and ambience, it would seem amazingly trivial. Let it simply be said that, accidentally, in this dying land they stumble upon an environment lovingly, carefully and morbidly prepared by a long vanished people. An evironment which both tempts and terrifies, and seems to eerily match the state of the world. It also potentially holds a treasure which has attracted brutal hunters who will slaughter anything that might even potentially get in their way. A category which definitely includes our three leads.

The most important message I can give is that it is pretty good...but also very specialised. If you like powerful magic, tough adventurers and heroic deeds this might not appeal. It's relatively slow moving, it's very low level in scope, power and the size of the task. They're not saving the world, they're just trying to stay alive. Likewise, as a character piece, it is also somewhat limited. Not that the three, and even the handful of others we meet, aren't rich in personality it's just that it is suggested rather than explained. The beliefs, backgrounds of the characters, even why they venture together are almost completely (with one small exception) unknown. Then again, this anime is only about 45 minutes long, so focusing on the environment is not a bad design choice.

But what is strong is the atmosphere. Both in production and character there's a very `real' sense to what is going on. The characters and the world seem to suggest great depth and believability. And the action, while relatively limited, has an austere charm and chilling quality to it. It gives us a chance to experience the rather eery belief the environment is built upon, and even has a number of gothic horror elements towards the end.

As can be expected the production values are very important. The bad news is that, while this is true cinematic anime (originally as a triple feature), it's carrying a bit of age. The style, and a handful of dodgy visual effects, making this abundantly clear. Likewise there's an immense use of darkness, textures and subtle light effects in the movie. These are great, but the translation to video (and a bad video in my case) has somewhat reduced the power. Within those constraints it is quite pleasant to watch. The character design is nicely complex, some of the movements are very well done and the sense of design is very strong. It also uses lots of cinematic techniques, and clever direction, to remain a high quality piece of animation. The sound and voices are top notch and the music is subtle spooky stuff fitting the period.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:27 WST 2009