Windaria Anime Movie Review

Title: Windaria

Alternative Title: Once Upon a Time

Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Action, Adventure

Release Date: 1986 (Japan initial release), 1992 (US, (VHS) first US release), 2004 (US re-release (DVD) with title change)

Where to Watch: I don’t support piracy here, but as a heads up, ALL of the “US Releases” of this film are very severely edited. And YES, that includes even the subtitled versions! I highly recommend that you watch the original Japanese version at least once before passing judgement on this beautiful movie. Of course, I grew up with the VHS in the 90s, and I STILL loved even the heavily edited dubbed version of the film way back then. Last year, I finally got the chance to watch the original Japanese version. A lot of content was cut from the English version, including significant amounts of story content. They change the order of certain scenes, remove most of the violence (and drugs and sex) and have completely re-written the script of the original film to better suit an American audience (where cartoons were (and still are) primarily intended for children). Also all of the music is different in both versions, although it’s very good in both versions as well. Still the overall theme and plot and moral of this heart breaking anime remains the same in both versions. That’s why I really recommend you to try to watch the original film – and then still go ahead and buy the English DVD or VHS to support the creators :). I’m not going to tell you where to find the original online, but you can find it if you look. And then you can purchase the Windaria North American DVD here.

Geeky: 3/5 The music is beautiful, but the artwork is very outdated (losing 1 point). Interestingly enough, the Japanese DVD includes 2 versions of the film, 1 being a “pilot film” where the animation and coloring style is different. (I have never seen this version). Despite the outdated artwork, the character designs are cute and memorable, I often think someone working on Pokemon drew inspiration (perhaps even subconsciously) for fan-favorite Eevee from the little pet squirrel/cat like creature in this film. The story is dark and full of action (and sex and drugs and gore in the original Japanese version). Therefore I feel this film would appeal to all geeks regardless of their genders. I’m removing one more point for the heavy handed editing of all of the US versions of this film. It’s been almost 15 years since the film has been brought to American audiences (for a 2nd time) – so perhaps some day we will see a company pick up the license for this film and do it justice with a more faithful English adaptation.

Sweetie: 5/5 – The story is soul crushingly sad. If you like sad anime, this is for you. Both versions of the film, even the mangled US version(s), still show the tender love stories of the central characters, and demonstrate the costs of war and greed. I happen to be a fan of sad love stories, and this particular anime reminds me of almost a Romeo and Juliet type of fairy tale, 2 lovers who can never be together, and 2 other lovers who have everything but still manage to mess everything up in the end. It’s also a story of regret, love, and greed. It imparts morals to the viewer, to value the love you have or else it may slip away. And that even if you are poor, if you have love, you can be happy. Or you can overlook the happiness you have right in front of you and only realize what you have once it has slipped away. The emotionally engaging story is also heightened by a fantastic music score which further draws the audience into the film.

Overall: 33/45 73% C “Good Anime for Girls”

Story: 9/10 – I removed a point again for the poor handling of every commercially available North American release of this film. Otherthan that small complaint, I give the story 10/10. Even the badly edited version. I loved the anime back in the 90s, and I still love it today. It’s a tale that withstands the tests of time. Universally relateable to anyone who has loved and lost.

The story of Windaria intertwines the fates of 2 very different couples. One couple is a princess and prince from neighboring kingdoms. As tensions mount between the kingdoms, and war seems inevitable… Can their love survive? The other couple lives in a small farming village caught between both warring nations. Their village has remained neutral for years, but as war descends around them, can that peace last? The people of the neutral village are poor, but live happy lives not knowing the tragedies of war, and protected by spirits who live in a giant tree. But can people be influenced to take a side when wealth and adventure knock on their door? How will the war change the lives of the people in this tiny village?

Everything is connected, and you cannot escape war. You can’t remain neutral. You must make a decision and take a risk. What will you risk? Will you risk your life? Your love? Your Home? And how will the war change you? Can you return to your old life after the war ends? Will there even be anything left to return to?

Windaria examines all of these heavy hearted deep thinking questions.

The setting of the story is also very intriguing. We have 2 nations at war. The haves and have nots. One kingdom has plenty of water and wealth and prosperity. They control the flow of water to the neighboring nations. The other nation does not feel they have enough water. They are not nearly as wealthy or powerful as their political neighbor. The lands between the two nations are full of magic and mystery. There is a river where people go crazy and see horrors which are merely reflections of their own fears and feelings, there is the giant magic tree which protects the neighboring farming village, and there’s the ghost ship which takes souls to the other side.

Interestingly enough, although the setting and time of this anime appear to be fantasy based, there is no magic or “fantasy”, instead we see a strange blend of technology in a fantasy world. Airplanes, motorbikes, guns, grenades, tanks, etc.

Characters: 7/10 – I’ll be honest here, it is REALLY hard to like the main character of this film. He is a giant D-bag. Not even gonna lie. You’re going to hate him. He rather have drunken sex and spend all day exploiting his power to get more drugs and wealth and concubines, than return to his girlfriend even after the war ends. It’s not until his own life is in danger that he flees and comes back to his village… or what’s left of it anyways. – Maybe at the end, he has a change of heart, but that doesn’t make up for what a huge D he is in the majority of the film.

The first 15-20 minutes of the film, they build this character and his love up to have this idealistic beautiful love. Everyone in the village recognizes the love between this pair. They are utterly adorable together. They have it all. But that’s not enough for our main character.

In stark contrast, his lady love waits patiently for his return, even when the rest of her village leaves and tries to get her to come to safety with them. This made me hate the main character even more. And when she forgives him for everything, that too amplifies my anger at this character.

But I suppose this is the point of the entire movie. It still isn’t easy to watch or to like, sympathize, or side with the supposed main character of the film.

Our other 2 main characters are considerably more likeable. They are victim of circumstance. They never get a choice in the events happening to them. They are bound by duty. They don’t get to choose a peaceful life of love – which puts into perspective even more, the stupidity of the main character for never realizing the happiness he had back in his own village.

The relationship of the prince and princess is doomed from the start, however, they often dare defy the duties and responsibilities forced upon them, and meet in secret anyways to profess their love and promise each other that one day they will be together. I have never really been 100% sure about the end of their relationship. I can’t tell if what she did was intentional or accidental like perhaps she was playfully chasing and playing with his gun / flirting around. Or if perhaps, she felt the weight of her duty, and decided to put her kingdom above her love and pull that trigger to once and for all, end the war. Either way, their relationship ends in spectacular Romeo and Juliet fashion.

 

There are a number of minor characters too with very intricate and detailed back stories, including a “crazy” woman who never talks to anyone as she waits for her love to return. Her love chose to become a captain of a ship taking souls to the other side. The captain cannot leave his ship for a specified number of years. (I believe it was 10 years? I can’t recall right now).

At the end of the film, we see that our main character wishes to become the captain of this ship to follow his lady love to the other side. (This is more clear in the Japanese version of the film). The crazy woman and main character both meet in the end (I think maybe the main character was contemplating jumping off the cliff) and he sees the crazy lady still there, waiting for her husband to return. So he resolves also to wait for his love as well. (although I’m pretty sure she can never come back – although a lot of Asian religions believe in reincarnation and so perhaps it is that which he is waiting for, or for his own life to end so then in the afterlife, they can be reunited.) This shows how much thought went into even the most minor of characters to make them have heavy plot focus.

Art: 2/5 – The artwork is dated, because this anime is from the 80s. On almost every website I’ve visited in the past, this anime has horrible reviews. I feel it’s not judged fairly and people are overlooking the beautiful love stories and tragedies and focusing solely on the artwork and animation quality. The character designs are still cute though, and some of the background environments are very pretty. But overall, I’d tend to agree the animation is not clean enough and the character styles are outdated by today’s standards. That still never detracts from my enjoyment of this film.

Music: 5/5 I love the music in Windaria. Both the Japanese and English tracks fit perfectly with the themes and scenes of the film. The music carries much emotion and helps tell the story, complementing the action scenes, and especially painfully highlighting the sad tragic scenes of the anime. I especially love the vocal tracks.

Voice Acting: 2/5 I really dislike both the original Japanese, and the English voice acting of most of the characters. I guess it’s typical for how old this anime is, but almost all of the performances were cringe-worthy. That’s even more reason why someone should pick this license back up and bring in a fresh English cast. The story is so good, and the performances here just do not do it justice at all.

Overall: 33/45 73% C “Good Anime for Girls”

Windaria Anime Movie Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

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MappyLand – 8bit Nintendo – Retro Game Review – 1986

MappyLand was one of my favorite games as a little kid. And I must’ve been super little – since I would have only been 5 years old at the release of this game.

It plays a lot like Mario Bros. in that you run, jump, and climb your way through the levels. You play as a cute mouse collecting items in each level to give to his girlfriend while avoiding and distracting all of the cats. – Although simple, it is a cute concept, which is maybe why it appealed to me so much when I was little.

Title: MappyLand

Genre: Platformer / Mascot Game

Release Date: 1986

Publisher: Taxan

Developer: Namco

Platform: 8Bit NES (Also now available on the Wii U E-store)

Where to Buy: You can still find plenty of copies on Amazon, where Mappyland sales for $6-12 bucks depending on the condition of the game, case, and booklets. Or you can get Mappyland in the Wii-U E-shop for $4.99

Geeky: 3/5 

Sweetie: 4/5 

56 / 80 70% C- “Good Game for Girls”

Concept: 8/10 As mentioned, I loved the concept of playing as a cartoon-style mouse collecting items for his girlfriend and tricking cats. It played very similar to Mario, except you can’t jump on the enemies. It’s been awhile, but I also (think that I) remember a password feature that was used to track the progress of the levels instead of a save feature. (It’s been years since my last visit to Mappyland, so maybe I’m wrong there.) It’s a cute and colorful family friendly game with adorable characters and gameplay that’s simple enough to just pick up and play at any time.

Gameplay: 9/10 Mappyland has some interesting game mechanics. Most notably, it has a story, however, the story is randomized and not told in a specific order. There’s also way fewer “stories” than there are game levels, which means you’ll see the same stories multiple times. (Just how many times is he going to marry his girlfriend, and how many fricken birthdays is she going to have? LOL).

But aside from that quirk, there are about 8 different “power ups” that Mappy can equip and then fire off at the cats, each with varying degrees of success. You can also just run and jump to avoid their attacks. It’s an item-centric game – just like Sonic collects gold rings, or mario collects coins, each “story” has a different item that you’re trying to collect. You’re required to collect all of the designated items to proceed to the next level.

There are also numerous traps that can hurt you – however, you can lure the cats over the traps as well which will help you to slow them down.

The level designs themselves were not that challenging – I beat this game when I was probably 7 years old lol. But the level designs were fun. The level I most distinctively remember had Mappy riding aboard a run-away train. You’re also being timed which can add an extra layer of difficulty to some of the levels. Similar to NiGHTS (which I reviewed the Christmas version of here), once your time is up you will be chased by an invincible enemy who you will need to avoid if you want to pass to the next level.

Story: 5/10 The story that is present is cute – but they could have done more – like write enough stories to match the number of different levels so you don’t see the same 3 or 4 stories over and over. The story is adorable but very childlike and simplistic – but hey, most games were that way back then, because of the target audience, but also because of limitations of the hardware at the time, only able to hold small amounts of text, etc.

Characters: 8/10 – It’s true there’s no back story, no real character interaction, no real character development — but still, the characters, and enemies are incredibly cute and charming. If you like cute and kawaii games, this game is worth playing just for cute overload alone.

Graphics: 6/10  Mappy’s character and level designs are cute – however, it’s an 8 bit game; there’s just not much detail that can go into them. Also I feel like the character sprites are too “large” and look a bit out of place. I also feel that similar games, such as the original Mario Bros was more “clean” and less “blocky” looking – once again I know that’s the nature of most  8 bit games, but the proportion and color palette used were maybe to blame for the game looking a bit “muddy” and not quite as crisp and clean as Mario and other 8 bit platformer games. However, when you look at games like Donkey Kong, Pac Man, Burger Time, and etc, which mostly just had black blank backgrounds, the level of attention given to creating unique and fun environments for each level of Mappyland is pretty good!

Music: 5/10 Not memorable, and of course limited by the technology available in 1986. However, it is catchy, although repetitive, and if you like retro games and retro music you may like this. Most of the music is fast/cheerful which fits well with the cute graphics.

Replay Value: 8/10 – Due to the random story/level pairings, new items to find each time you play, and just overall fun factor, I would say this is a game you probably will replay a few times, even if for nothing else other than nostalgia or cute factor. The simplistic gameplay mechanics make it easy to jump in and pick up at any time. It could also be interesting for speed runs, if you’re into that sort of thing due to each level being timed.

56 / 80 70% C- “Good Game for Girls”

Also I just learned that this was originally an arcade game in Japan – and even more interesting, there’s a 13 episode 2012 anime series (Mappy: The Beat) based on Mappy Land. It is a comedic anime which features other lovable Namco characters but stars Mappy in the spotlight. And there’s numerous Mappy Land games – sadly never translated to English, including “Mappy Land Kids” which is a sequel to Mappy Land. — I wish we had more Mappy in North America!

MappyLand – 8bit Nintendo – Retro Game Review – 1986 was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Ript Apparel – $11 Tshirts For Geeks and Gamers – New Designs Every Day

I just discovered a great new website for Geeky Tees. The prices start at just $11 – although they do charge more for some designs, or for plus sized clothing. They offer both men and womens, and even youth clothing. They also have hoodies and lots of other goodies. Here are a few of my favorite designs. You can click on any of the pictures to go to the Ript Apparel website where you can see how the shirts look on an actual live model.

They have a really cool Exclusive Deadpool X The Walking Dead T-shirt. Deadpool is so hot right now.

Deadpool Tshirt from Ript Apparel
Deadpool Tshirt from Ript Apparel

The one thing I noticed is that their selection of sizes could use some improvement. If you’re a man – they’ve got you covered with sizes going all the way to 5XL. However, if you’re a woman, the sizes only go to 2XL. I’ve seen other sites that go to Women’s 3x or even 4x. And on the opposite end of the body diversity scale – they do not offer Extra Small which many of their competitors have. Luckily I can fit within the range of sizes they offer – but if you’re larger – or smaller – you might have better luck else where.

Despite that one small snaffu – the site has a lot of appeal. Their prices are far more competitive than similar sites, and they have new designs every day.

Today they have an awesome Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Tee. Which also happens to be exclusive. (Among a lot of other awesome designs – but being born in the 80s, I found this design the most appealing myself.)

Exclusive Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Tee from Ript Apparel

Some of their other designs totally speak to 90s kids (like myself). They have cool Mashups like DBZ (or Deadpool) and Fresh Prince of Bellaire or Minions and Dr Who. They also have childhood favorites such as AH! Real Monsters.

Ah Real Monsters Tee from Ript Apparel

I think my favorite one though is this ADORABLE (KAWAII!!!) Lego Deadpool Chimichunga Tshirt!! I’m totally buying this one when I get paid. I Love, love, love the color and how cute it is! OMG!.

Kawaii Lego Deadpool Exclusive Tee from Ript Apparel

While going through their site – I also noticed they have completely different designs for Women and Men’s tees – including their Exclusive line up. Both of the Deadpool shirts featured in my blog post here are available only in Women’s. – I kinda like this fact 🙂 I feel like they’re aiming designs and characters directly to us geeky girls. I haven’t seen this approach used on other graphic tee sites so it’s just an extra layer of awesome. Of course though it’s a double edged sword as some of the men’s designs I wish were also available as women’s and there may be men who want the designs on the women’s tee, like the first Deadpool X The Walking Dead shirt in my post – or heck – even the Lego one. Who says Men can’t be Kawaii? LOL. And men definitely love Legos and Deadpool and chimichungas.

Still, the neat, exclusivity of their tshirt designs is really awesome. Some designs only stay available for one day. This makes me want to buy more! It’s definitely worth checking out each day to see what their new designs are. You can jump to any of the shirts pictured here by clicking on their picture, or browse their whole collection at www.riptapparel.com

Ript Apparel – $11 Tshirts For Geeks and Gamers – New Designs Every Day was originally published on Geeky Sweetie