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AKA: Douwa Meita Senshi Windaria, Windaria Senki Densetsu, Once Upon a Time
Genre: Fantasy war movie
Length: Movie, 95 minutes
Distributor: VHS from Streamline out of print
Content Rating: 7+ (mild violence); original film 13+ (violence, nudity)
Related Series: N/A
Also Recommended:
Notes: This version of the film is extremely heavily edited from the original, with a completely rewritten script by Carl Macek aimed at younger audiences, extensive changes in scene order, a completely different soundtrack, and at least 6-10 minutes of cut footage.

There is currently no release of the original Japanese film available in North America - this review reflects what is available to audiences here under the name, though the Streamline dubbed version is also out of print.



The distant land of Windaria is divided into two kingdoms: Lunaria and the Shadowlands. For years, Lunaria had provided the Shadowlands with clean, pure water until recently, when Lunaria decided to demand tribute for its service. Tensions between the two kingdoms have continued to escalate, and even the forbidden romance between the princess of Lunaria and the prince of the Shadowlands seems powerless in preventing an all-but-inevitable war.

Between the kingdoms lies a small farming valley, neutral in the conflict between Lunaria and the Shadowlands. Alan, a young farmer who knows that war will destroy his home, is determined to find a way to prevent war from happening, or to perhaps cut the conflict short if one breaks out. But what will happen to all he treasures -- his home, his wife Marie -- if he fails? Worse yet, what will happen to them if he succeeds?


Windaria is yet another entry into the ever-expanding category of "great idea, poor execution." It has a lot of things going for it, and was certainly well-conceived in its design, but somewhere between the storyboards and the actual creation of the anime, something essential was lost.

As usual for anime of this echelon, Windaria started out not too shabbily. While the animation was entirely unimpressive, the art was surprisingly functional, and even eye-pleasing at times despite its dated look (well, it _was_ a bit old). Even the storyline premise wasn't too bad, reminiscent of something that could have been pulled from one of the old 16-bit RPG's back in the day. The dubbing job was what you would expect from Macek -- functional if you don't try to take it too seriously (try not to laugh when the Hokey Ponderous Narrator decides to speak).

Windaria almost gets it right in many ways, but manages to miss them all just barely. A missed mark here and a missed mark there start to add up after awhile, until by the end of the movie you wonder just where they were trying to go. Actually, you know exactly where they were trying to go, but realize that it wasn't where they ended up. The plot tries to be ponderous, but achieves circuitousness instead; attempts at being deep beget confusion; what is meant to be tragic simply comes across as contrived. It's almost a pity (almost, mind you; Windaria doesn't even manage to get "bad" right, either).

You'll probably forget all about Windaria a month after you watch it. Not that you'd be missing out on much ...

Raphael See

Recommended Audience: Some war-type violence (people getting shot with arrows, vehicles exploding). Okay for most audiences.

Editor: The original film also has scenes of brief nudity, and much of the violence in the film was cut out of the Streamline release.

Version(s) Viewed: VHS, English dub
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Windaria © 1986 Kaname Productions
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