Oct 13, 2011
lisnoire (All reviews)
Wow. What an under watched, underrated gem of a movie with a bit of a Studio Ghibli feel to it. It isn't. Brains Base did it.

There's no need for me to go into the story because the synopsis does it very well . . . . for a change.

It takes place in an alternate world that has the of 1930's Europe. There are some pretty fantastic airships, bi-planes, tanks, and storm troopers. The background art flows from dark, menacing snowy nights, bright island life, rain on ruins, to hope filled sunrises. It is very effective in setting moods that range from the grim, to innocence, to anguish and despair, to the heroic and hope filled, to the spiritual.

Be aware that there is violence and death. It is grim, realistic, and sad but not "twisted" or "splattery". Not really one for the kiddies to watch alone and certainly not just for the kiddies.

Character designs aren't unique or particular beautiful, but neither do they get in the way. With the exception of the "evil dictator" most characters are drawn to convey ordinary people. Come to think of it, I did like the look of some of the supporting characters. The music is equally noninvasive. Besides a flute piece played by the main character in one scene, nothing really stands out.

TBWStW can be enjoyed as a fine bit of fantasy. If you want to go deeper it can make an anti-war statement whilesaying it's o.k. to fight back when threatened. It also dips its toes into philosophy, quantum theory, and theology with its presentation of energy manipulation, many metaphors surrounding flight, and the continuation of the "soul." (Take a moment to wiki C. W. Nicol, the author of the book the anime is based on. He's fascinating.)

I liked it. I liked it a lot, enough to give it a 9. Actually it is more of an 8.5 but I can't do that here.