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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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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  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, May 4. 2016 12:21 PM)
    Also like how they differed him from the other fast talkers of the universe. Deadpool is pure insane comedy, Ant man has this sarcastic awkward thing going on and Spiderman is like the nerdy fanboy. I would love to see a movie with all three together as it would be pure comic gold.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, May 4. 2016 12:18 PM)
    @bam, I was taken back by him at first. I wasn’t used to seeing Spiderman and especially aunt May look so young. I thought he was too bumbling in the beginning but as I watched on he just clicked. He has the nerdy nature of Tobies Peter Parker and the spitfire commentary of Garfield’s Spiderman. He’s spot on perfect.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, May 4. 2016 10:05 AM)
    I was staying clean for a drug test, and during this hiatus I completely fell out of anime. Surely enough, as soon as I resumed burning again I also started getting into some of this season’s shows. I wonder if there’s a direct correlation, or just a byproduct of having some free time again. I’m interested in comparing my experience to others, but (un)fortunately nobody here seems to share my vices.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, May 4. 2016 09:54 AM)
    @Kaiser: do you mean Brotherhood of the Wolf? Cuz in that case I have seen it, and we have both remarked about our enjoyment of the ambitious, yet messy, movie.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, May 4. 2016 09:51 AM)
    @Aidan: how was the new Spiderman?
  • SuperMario
    (Wednesday, May 4. 2016 09:07 AM)
    I just checked my rating on Valerie and Her Week of Wonders and I gave it a 3-star (which were negative). Weird that now I don’t remember much about the details of that film (I remember bits and bits but they were more like fragments of dream), but now thinking back I actually have a fond feeling for it.
  • SuperMario
    (Wednesday, May 4. 2016 09:00 AM)
    @Kaiser: Don;t remember what I listed Tinker Tailor for though, but the more I think about that film the more it holds up, that’s why I also want to check out the mini series of Tinker tailor back in 1970s. I have seen and enjoyed 3 of John Le Carre’s thriller adaptations (Tinker Tailor, Constant Gardener, A Most Wanted Man), so I think I won’t have any problem enjoying the Night Manager
  • SuperMario
    (Wednesday, May 4. 2016 08:55 AM)
    @Kaiser: Filho just directed Neighboring Sounds as his first full-length narrative, his previous films are either short or documentary, so won’t take you much time to catch up.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, May 4. 2016 01:20 AM)
    @Mario: I notice you have Tinker tailor listed, I recently watched the night manager, a tv series based on a book by the same author. It was pretty suspenseful and Hugh Laurie and Tom Hiddelston are great in it, makes me think Hiddelston should be the next Bond. Although its not as complex as tinker tailor and its more accessible, faster and spelled out.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, May 4. 2016 01:17 AM)
    @Bam: Going back to that Italian/French fairytale movie you and Mario talked about, anothe good fairytale-esque film is company of the wolves.

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