Jan 19, 2009
TrenchKamen (All reviews)
This is truly a stand-alone work in terms of originality. ABe did not self-censor and allowed the full weight of his intuition and dreams to direct his hand, and the result is a beautiful, ethereal, archetypal world fully-realized and yet deep enough to retain mystery. The show does not explain everything, even the most important aspects of Gile, and that feels okay. We can see in this fantastic world what is in our innermost hearts, and our intuition fills in so many of the gaps. Few stories manage to do this so well.

The story manages to blend soft, yet interesting, aspects of slice-of-life with haunting and bittersweet themes such as suicide, sacrifice, and redemption. This hints of something intimate from within ABe's innermost heart, something he himself has experienced--and in that rawness, there is a universal quality. Many people in fandom have experienced profound loneliness and depression in a manner that seems to echo throughout the story. Many of us have felt useless, hopelessly misunderstood, and lonely. This is a story of comfort.

True to ABe's style, the artwork for this title is utterly fantastic. The setting is stunning in its beauty, European-style architecture amid emerald-green fields and rust-mottled windmills, harmonized with East Asian-style shrines, festivals, and esoteric memorabilia. The characters' names come from Japanese words for concepts, and the world's writing is in Japanese, so it is by no means divorced from its source country, nor does ABe try. The result is not in the least jarring: if anything, it is merely another aspect of integration, something soft and beautiful and lush. And the clouds--the weather phenomena simply looks fantastic.

If you cannot stand anime with a slow, idyllic pace, or you simply must have action, giant robots, and political intrigue, this is not the show for you. Likewise, if you cannot stand symbolic, dreamlike storylines in which not everything is explained explicitly, this will drive you mad. Otherwise, I highly recommend taking a trip into Gile. It will be greatly worth your time.