Like the Clouds, Like the Wind by Hisayuki Toriumi is not an impressive film by any means but it’s not bad either. Aesthetically, the film shows its age – I can tell it came out 27 years ago. However, I don’t think this excuses the lack of attention to detail. This was particularly evident with the overall drawing of the characters and how their mouth shape, and speed in which words were said, were not aligned or accurately replicated. One shot in particular showed two characters in the background with no faces drawn, which is inexcusable and disappointing.
That said, the story line is quite strong and has some unexpected and well executed events which made it enjoyable to watch. The main character Ginga was, on the whole, quite likeable and her gutsy spirit made me laugh in quite a few places. I would have liked to have been introduced to her a little more before the main storyline began to establish a connection with her. In a few places, the film felt a little rushed – often not elaborating on scenes that should have been fully fleshed out. As a result, some character’s decisions or opinions seemed to appear out of thin-air or they seemed unfounded.
This film seemed to be afraid of silence. The excess of speech was a little overbearing at times, especially with Mano’s character who seemed to speak everything he was thinking out loud, quite often to himself. This made the characters less believable and over-dramatic. I believe that good animation uses silence to its advantage and allows the viewer to see the characters emotions or thought process without it having to be voiced. At no fault to the film, the almost-constant speech meant that I spent a lot of time reading which meant I couldn’t fully appreciate all the visuals which was a shame – I’ll have to learn Japanese!
In regards to the sound, I enjoyed the orchestral score, which suited the film, and the sound effects were realistic and integrated well. The voice actors were a little ‘shouty’ at times but I could mostly understand the intention behind some characters words.
Overall, I did enjoy the storyline. It was interesting and surprising at times so it wasn’t a waste of time – it was just a shame that the graphics let it down!