Arashi no Yoru ni was originally a children’s story written by Kimura Yuichi. It won several awards and was turned into a series of books, an anime film and a TV series. Let’s take a look at the film from Group TAC. You might wonder why I’m looking at a kid’s movie. Well, I don’t review this type of anime often since most of my requests are geared towards adults or older teenagers and I just feel like doing it for a change of pace. Besides, I needed something short to review before Monster.
The story is pretty basic. What, you wanted more from a kid’s movie? On a stormy night a goat named Mei takes shelter in an abandoned… house… shed… barn… porno theatre? It’s not really clear since the screen is really dark. The important thing is that, while he’s there a wolf, Gabu, walks in. Naturally, Gabu smells Mei and gobbles him up and so our story ends within ten minutes. Okay, that’s not what happens. They both have the sniffles so they can’t smell each other. How very convenient. They each assume that they’re the same species and talk. They become fast friends and agree to meet the next day when the skies are clear. So, they meet at the barn, (did you really think it was a porno theatre?), and Gabu instantly gobbles Mei up. Okay, that doesn’t happen. They realise that they’re different species, but decide to be secret friends anyway because friendship is important to both of them. Unfortunately for them, the other goats/wolves find out and that’s when things get interesting. I won’t go further into the plot, as to not spoil anything but things really do get interesting. It’s a pretty simple story about friendship and adversity, but it’s surprisingly well told. The conflicts are actually nuanced Yeah, it’s cutesy but it has a good amount of depth for what it is and it is a pretty fun film. Okay, so I like cutesy stuff, sue me. Honestly, the only real issue with the film’s plot is the side story about Mei’s mom being killed by wolves. They show it at the very start and mention it once. After that it doesn’t go anywhere. There’s no payoff and no conflict resulting from it. It’s odd to see a scene that should have a lot of weight end up being completely irrelevant.
A lot of what makes the film work is the interaction between Mei and Gabu. They’re both interesting characters and they have great interactions. Even the side characters have verisimilitude and they do bring up legitimate concerns. They aren’t vilified even though they end up in antagonistic roles, except maybe for Giro. Still, there’s a lot of character subtlety especially for a kid’s movie. Seriously, these characters get more developed in an hour and forty minutes than the entire cast of Gantz gets in twenty six episodes and that was made for adults. Extremely immature adults who just want to see violence and nudity, but still adults.
The art in this is beautifully done. The nature scenes are really detailed with vibrant landscapes. The animals are stylized, but they’re really nicely drawn too. It’s not quite as good as Studio Ghibli’s work, but it comes pretty close.
The voice acting is good. Both Narimiya Hiroki and Nakamura Shidou do well in their roles. As do Takeuchi Riki and everyone else really. The music is kind of bland, actually. It’s not bad, but it’s pretty typical.
The yuri factor is a 1/10. There are some female characters, but their interaction is minimal. Besides, it’s a film about a wolf making friends with a goat. You shouldn’t expect romance. That would just be silly and not in a good way.
What’s the final word? Well, Arashi no Yoru ni does have a lot of positives. The artwork is beautiful, the characters are well done, the story, though simple, is well told and the voice acting is really good. There are a few negatives. There are some pointless scenes and the music is kind of dull, but it’s a surprisingly good movie. It doesn’t really matter whether you’re an adult or a child, it’s a fun film. My final rating is an 8/10. If you’ve got a couple hours, check it out. Next week, the Monster review will finally go up. You can hold your breath if you’d like, but I refuse to take responsibility for any adverse effects you suffer as a result of holding your breath for a week. For you guys on WordPress it’ll be up as tomorrow’s review of yesteryear. I still don’t recommend holding your breath though.