Jan 1, 2022
Donguri to Yamaneko is an intriguing and relaxing picture book-style short OVA based on a Kenji Miyazawa story and narrated by musician Kuni Kawachi. With its dreamlike art and unusual premise, this OVA is certainly worth a watch, although I was left wondering at the end what the point of the story was.
Animation in this OVA is limited, and almost like you're looking at pages in a picture book. The dreamlike artwork is captivating, though, and will draw you into the world probably better than a fully animated version would.
The background music doesn't stand out on its own, but does add to the ambiance. As
for voices, there is only that of the narrator, and he does a satisfactory job.
As for the story, we start out with a young boy getting a letter scribbled on a leaf from the wildcat, asking him to attend a trial the next day. On his way to the location of the trial, he asks various natural phenomena where the wildcat is, and gets varying responses, but eventually finds him and his servant, and the trial soon begins. The story itself is rather surreal and whimsical, seeming more like something out of a child's imagination than something actually occurring. The story has a conclusion, but tries to leave things on an open note, making me wonder what the point of all of it was. I kind of felt that way with a similar OVA, Kaze no Matasaburou, which is also based off of a Miyazawa story, so maybe that's less of an issue with the OVA and more of an issue with the original story.
As an aside, there is a fansub for this, but it mostly seems to just be a word-for-word pasting of the lines from the translated story, which is in the public domain. Since the OVA wasn't a complete word-for-word retelling of the story, there were a few parts in the OVA that didn't match up with the subtitles (the subtitles had more information than what was actually said).
Anyway, overall, I recommend watching this OVA, especially if you're in the mood for a bedtime story.
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