Dec 30, 2021
A decent children's story appropriate for bedtime, featuring the voices of Mayumi Tanaka (Saburou) and C.W. Nicol (Narrator).
Based on a story by author Kenji Miyazawa, the plot basically follows the synopsis above: a mysterious red-haired boy, Saburou Takada, starts attending a rural school, and his appearance and actions pique the curiosity of his fellow students, one of whom insists that Saburou is actually a wind god from an old legend. After their initial reluctance to get to know him, the kids eventually befriend and play with Saburou, and then an incident occurs that reaffirms the main kid's belief that Saburou is indeed the wind
god. At the end, Saburou leaves the school just as suddenly as he came... like the wind.
The animation style is unique in that it is limited and the characters look almost like cardboard cutouts moving against a stationary background most of the time. This, coupled with the narration, gives this OVA a storybook feel. The backgrounds tend to be vague and abstract. The characters' faces, in my opinion, aren't pleasant to look at; the kids are kind of ugly, and Saburou looks a little scary/evil. But that's just part of the style.
The music is nice, and both lyrics and composition fit the story well. Interestingly, there's a scene in which a rendition of "Camptown Races" starts playing, which caught me by surprise, but the context somewhat fits.
As for the voices, Saburou is voiced by Mayumi Tanaka, but that might be hard to catch because Saburou doesn't have that many lines. In fact, most of the characters don't have too many lines, except for the narrator, voiced by Welsh-Japanese author and environmentalist C.W. Nicol. Most of the other characters are not voiced by professional voice actors, and it shows -- the performances are lacking, especially the teacher, whose delivery sounds decidedly wooden.
Since this is short, there are some questions left unanswered, but maybe they don't get answered in the original story, either. However, it is structurally, aurally and visually decent enough to watch.
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