Kawamo o Suberu Kaze – Review
November 21, 2011 2 Comments
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.