Kawamo o Suberu Kaze – Review


Kawamo o Suberu Kaze (A wind skimming the Rivers surface) is a short ‘film’ of about 30 minutes set in present day Kanazawa Japan. It is a ‘mature’ anime, in that it deals with themes of loss, a sense of losing something precious and generally the more human feelings that are often left out of anime series.

Kawamo o Suberu Kaze is about Noriko a 33 year old woman, who returns to her home town of Kanazawa with her four year-old son after spending five years in America having married and moved away at a young age. We learn that she viewed her home town of Kanzawa as a boring place and quickly enters Tokyo University in what she see as her only escape. Noriko graduates, and gets married to a very successful ‘elite’ trader at the company she works at in Tokyo and quickly moves away to America. Noriko has everything that she dreamed of; she is highly educated, has an affluent lifestyle and a lovely son, yet she feels hollow as if something fundamental is missing.

The story takes over the course of her life from High-School until her return at the beginning; with the audience being told about her secrets, her desires, her problems, and importantly what she left behind in Kanazawa. It quickly becomes apparent that her family life is anything but ideal with various unspoken problems and of course on her return her husband remains in America for unspecified but implied reasons. Noriko herself has problems, and while she appears to be fine on the outside is deeply troubled.

The story is fascinating for 30 minutes, and I feel that this could have easily been a 90 minute film rather than what feels like a simple OVA. We are taken on what can only be described as a roller coaster of emotions ranging from loss, to longing and pure desire that is both sexual ‘lust’ while at the same time being pure and unspoiled.

The animation itself isn’t spectacular, but nonetheless is wonderful to look at. The backgrounds look as if they are either photographs or actual film of Kanazawa that have been ‘animated’ and are therefore very realistic, while at the same time looking very surreal in nature. It is a character driven piece of work, mainly through flashbacks and the animation deals with it nicely, matching its sombre, but curiously uplifting pace.

My major criticisms are the length, it is simply too short, and while I am truly impressed that such a subject matter can be dealt with in 25-30 minutes, it simply felt like a story worthy of a feature length film. The ending was a little cliché and a bit open ended, but I considering what this anime is about I can accept that. And finally the soundtrack, while nice, was nothing special and I feel that a better soundtrack may have further enhanced the show.

This was a wonderful piece of work, and while it is not perfect in any way it was a true pleasure to watch. It is most certainly not for everyone, but it is a nice break from what are fairly generic, if entertaining moe and fanservice shows. It is a show that looks at obsession, broken dreams and how notions of what love and what a family can be change over the course of your life. It manages to look at and express a profound sense of lose, while at the same time producing a conclusion, while not entirely satisfactory does provide us with hope. I would definitely recommend this wonderful piece of animation, just be aware that you are watching a mature show that deals with mature ‘adult’ themes.

About illogicalzen
An Illogical anime fan in a very Zen-like way.

2 Responses to Kawamo o Suberu Kaze – Review

  1. I felt like this short film wanted to put the blame on her going to America, going away from home, choosing a life in the city. To be blunt, I didn’t like this at all. Although I understand that a life in the countryside is of better quality health-wise, I’m an avid lover of the cities, the goods and chances they offer, and above all of the freedom in anonymity you can taste there. I think japanese anime storytellers have had such an obsession for too long… People’s marriages can go awfully wrong in a village, too.

    • illogicalzen says:

      If you look at the importance that rural Japan has in Japanese culture and society it makes sense, its where the perceived ‘True Japan’ lies for many people. I disagree with your other point though, I dont really think it is blaming her at all, instead it seems to be her looking back at her life and seeing how apparently simple decisions can make a big difference. But she doesn’t really regret her decision because of her child and the importance she places on her, but again, it is complicated because there are elements of regret, but I think most people would feel that if they looked back at parts of their life, and perhaps wish they had done things differently.

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