Posted by psgels on 6 March 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews




Fantasy stories that focus on a war between two kingdoms, a light and a dark one, are a dime a dozen. When you make one, you really need to set yourself apart. Windaria did this through its development. If for the first half of the movie, you feel that the story is perhaps a bit too generic, then don’t worry: it’s meant to be that way.

Windaria takes your general fantasy set-up, and does a lot of things right with it. The animation is pretty good for 1986 standards, with a lot of fluid movements. The story at the beginning may be generic, but it’s well told: ample time is given to each of the major characters to flesh them out, the artists do a wonderful job to draw and animate the people from the two different countries, and the biggest flaw is probably the very stereotypical evil king.

Obviously since the development is the strongest part of this movie, I’m not going to say much about what happens next due to the spoilers and all. Let me just say that this movie knows how to use its build-up. Its ending especially is wonderful. The second half of this movie did some really neat things to the cast of characters and made sitting though the first half entirely worth it.

This one is definitely recommended if you like old fantasy movies. It’s underrated, exactly because of how much the first half looks like your average fantasy that DOESN’T develop its characters well, but this is one wonderful exception to this rule. Well acted, well developed and averting quite a few cliches, Windaria was a very interesting movie.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Excellent use of build-up, and a very solid fantasy story overall.
Characters: 9/10 – Excellent development.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Very fluid and a good soundtrack, though not the best for movie standard.
Setting: 8/10 – Starts off with a few too many cliches, but ends up as a great story of fantasy war.

Suggestions:
Escaflowne – A Girl in Gaea
Tales of Vesperia
The Cockpit

6 Responses

  1. Avatar Desty says:

    This is the first anime that I saw when I was a kid som 23 years ago or so. I remember that it made a serious impression on me and its probably why I got interested in anime. I think I saw a “americanized” dubbed version, but back then I could hardly understand english, but I did manage to understand the story. This was so much better than the cartoons I had seen so far. This was the first time I had seen a “cartoon” with with a real story and character development.

  2. Avatar Pax says:

    Glad to see you are watching more OVAs and movies from the 90s. I have a huge list with OVAs and movies from the 80s and 90s that I plan to watch.
    btw since you like Ryosuke Takahashi anime and in case you don’t know he also worked on a fantasy ova released in the early 90s, I am talking about Mozaika. another fantasy ova I read good things about is The Heroic Legend of Arslan.

  3. Avatar Somnium says:

    @pax, Arslan is very good, i’ve seen both the subbed and dubbed version and the dub is one of those old school awesome English dubs complete with fancy English accents. I started with the first part of the OVA years ago, and finially managed to finish it up a year ago when I found the last 5 parts. It’s a good time, definitely worth a watch.

  4. Avatar Somnium says:

    also, If you’re planning on watching Windaria avoid the Harmony Gold release. It was originally released as Windaria and then later as Once Upon a Time. There are subs available on the internet with the original script.

  5. Avatar NS says:

    I just finished watching and I am currently in tears. It is such a beautiful film that isn’t afraid to take chances with it’s characters and to show the corruption and ugly side of war. The fantasy in here is not in your face and is used to the advantage of the plot and to create some nice visuals. I do agree with the big flaw of the movie being that king was stereotypical evil. At the end I didn’t really understand what they gained from going to war with the other kingdom. Thank you very much for writing about such a great movie otherwise I would never the pleasure of seeing it.

  6. Avatar diedrupo says:

    i remember watching this as a kid and loving it. probably hasn’t aged as well, but man it was a pretty badass and messed up story.

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