Windaria features breathtaking art and kinematic animation sequences as its primary strengths. This movie seems to have been riding the wave of industry optimism about genre films following the success of Nausica of the Valley of the Wind and Macross: Do You Remember Love? in 1984. Windaria has a simple and effective story with a very clear and unambiguous sense of morality and narrative direction which for me at least gives off a kind of healthy naivety being viewed now in an age where moral ambiguity has become almost more standard and safe in film than utilizing more traditional notions of moral dualism and excessive plot twists are used to cover up a lack of interesting ideas. The shot composition and audiovisual directing is masterful. There is a lot of animation and every scene uses its masterful sense of motion to convey just the right emotion for it. Every movement is powerfully expressive and well conceived. The music choices are always appropriate and add on a lot to the scenes. Heavy exposition is not needed to explain what the emotions of the characters in a scene are almost everything is laid bare through the audiovisual presentation and just about every scene in this movie becomes supremely memorable and even sublime due to this. The beginning of the movie gives us a long gorgeous scenic overview of the world and it feels very much alive right off the bat. The color palette is lively playful and soft in these opening scenes and the beginning of the movie presents us with a naive and joyful world one that sadly is about to be torn apart due to unchecked ambition and jealousy. As we are introduced to the antagonists it is made entirely clear via their homelands color palette their uniforms their mannerisms and the bleak city they inhabit exactly who these people are. Where our protagonists live in a lush and lively world full of water and plant life our antagonists live in a wretched lifeless mountain range surrounded by industrial excess squalor and degeneracy. Where our protagonists act with a naive joy and a love of the simple pleasures of life our antagonists live in a world of drunken antagonism grey poverty and brutal folly as they operate their industrial weapons poorly and constantly cause disaster for themselves with their incompetence merely to brush it off as if it was a matter of course. These people feel tired and jaded their grey world has sucked them up and left them numb. Industrialism goes hand in hand with degradation. This film makes these points with very little dialogue. The antagonists side doesnt receive much moral condemnation from characters we get to see exactly what is wrong with them without much commentary. It is a great example of world building that follows the maxim show dont tell. The character design is very pleasing to me though every now and again a shot of a character will come off as slightly lacking in dynamism in comparison to how dynamic the world is a bit more shading on the characters in some shots could be helpful. Still this hits a very nice spot between total realism and cartoonish abstraction. The character designs remind me of Genmu Senki Leda from a year earlier. If you like character designs that exemplify the archetype of 80s protoMoe then these will probably hit the spot for you. This movie could have benefited from a slightly longer run time. The characters develop in a sensible way but it does feel like the development happens too abruptly at times as if we missed a few scenes that showed the route they took to get from point A to point B. Likewise certain thematic elements that were explored at the end could have been tackled with a bit more clarity.The film has two major character arcs/plot lines. Either cutting one of them out or having more run time to explore both of them in more depth would have been a bit more effective. We could have gotten a stronger sense of who these characters are this way as well. But these are very minor problems considering that the goals of the film are far more oriented around immersive world building and aesthetic emotional power than the story or the characters personalities. If you like fantasy anime films with an impressive degree of audiovisual mastery a highly effective show dont tell delivery hyperkinematic action sequences and hyperkinematic romance and drama sequences at that and genuinely immersive and sublime world building then Windaria is absolutely for you. If you are coming off of a Nausicaa high and want something slightly derivative but not too much so then this may be up your alley. The girls are pretty great too if floofy haired 80s anime babes are your thing that is.
90 /100
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