Like the Clouds, Like the Wind (1990)



I finally had a chance to sit down and watch a thouroughly enjoyable, but overlooked, anime film from 1990 called "Like the Clouds, Like the Wind (Kumo no You Ni, Kaze no You Ni)". The story is set in China, and centers around a teenage girl who, almost on a whim, decides to compete for the chance to become the new Emperor's first wife. Ginga has a salty tongue and an independant disposition, much like the Miyazaki heroines; she ruffles feathers and makes impressions with everyone she encounters.
This film is often mistaken in the West for a lost Ghibli production, thanks largely to the character designs (which remind me a lot of Yoshifumi Kondo's drawing style, as well as Miyazaki's) and strong feminist bent. If that's your guess, I'll give you half-credit. Kumo Kaze
(as it's also known) was the work of Studio Pierre, but the Animation Director and Character Designer was Katsuya Kondo (no relation), who's been a leading animator at Ghibli ever since its inception.
 
I think the 80-minbute running time is a little short, as there are so many characters, and so many different episodes; halfway through, a pair of comic theives decide to start a rebellion (again, almost on a whim), and wind up leading a successful revolution that overthrows the Chinese Emperor. It tends to clash with the first half, and the final act becomes needlessly rushed.

But perhaps I'm being picky. Kumo Kaze tries to tie together multiple anime genres - comedy, historical drama, shojo romance, coming-of-age - and for the most part, it's successful. And it still manages to stand apart in its own little space after all these years. That's not a bad achievement.

Currently, the only DVD available is the Japanese Region 2, and I'm unaware of any efforts to bring it Stateside. So for the time being, your options are to import the DVD (which, as far as I know, doesn't include subtitles), or track down the fansub copy on the internet.

1 comments:

Arthur said...

I spent about a week looking for a fansub of "Like the Clouds, Like the Wind" and watched it, this anime is a gem,I loved it.
It's funny and also tugs at the heart. If it ever makes it to the states it will most likely get a 17 and up lable for the content
(sexual discusions,gay relations, hermaphroditism,adult sexual relations with a child, etc)
Nontheless the best I have seen in a while.

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