The Weathering Continent
Another time, another place... Continual warring has caused the landscape to be transformed into a giant, barren wasteland, and the few pockets of human life that are scattered about struggle to make an existence on this weathering continent. Having your village savagely looted and pillaged is taken to be just another part of being alive -- however long that may be.
While searching for a source of water, a small group of travellers encounters the remains of a village, destroyed by bandits. Following the words of the last remaining survivor leads the small party directly to a bizarre spectacle: a lost underground city of dead people, all posed and clothed as if they were still living. Little do our heroes know, however, that the band of marauders who had destroyed the village followed them into the city in the hopes for some plunder and maybe a little killing on the side. And even if our heroes manage to deal with the bandits, there's always the curse of the city to deal with -- and no one who has entered the city before has ever come out alive.
The Weathering Continent is truly an enigma -- one wonders what the heck the creators were trying to accomplish when they produced this thing. Fantasy? Philosophical Jaunt? Art Film? Well, whatever it is, it's a strange one.
One of the problems, I think, is that the producers seemed to try _way_ too hard to achieve the effect they were looking for. The anime tries for a gothic, foreboding feel, and uses every trick in the book to never let you forget it. If one darkly-rendered scenery shot is effective, then seven more shots in the same scene must be seven times more effective, right? You'll get treated to the same forboding shot multiple times, just to make sure you didn't miss it the first time around, or the second time, or the third, or... It's kind of a shame, though, because the art and animation are actually pretty well-executed when the camera isn't focusing on our heroes' feet, or turning sideways to achieve that neat-o gothic effect, or slowly panning diagonally, or... For the first few minutes, it actually worked; after that it got to be a bit silly.
This spirit of overkill spills into the story, too. The pace of the story is set to "a little faster than the diffusion of molasses through a granite wall," and nothing ever seems to happen where our heroes don't sit down for a few minutes and expositize -- badly. "Do you see this water? Other people drank this water once. People like you and I..." Flashbacks with little bearing on the plot are standard, and you wonder if there were about five earlier episodes that you missed before watching this thing. Even after the alleged climax occurred, the heroes still had to sit down and think about the moral and social ramifications about it because this anime is going to be moody, and the characters are going to be moody, and no matter WHAT happens everyone's gonna sit down and BROOD because this thing is supposed to be MOODY DANG IT!
Don't get me wrong, though. There were some rather neat bits in this title, and some of the action/horror sequences were actually quite effective in their drama. However, the weaknesses in development and timing spoil it a bit. As part of a series, this thing might not have been bad at all; as a stand-alone, though, The Weathering Continent is pretty cloudy fare.
Recommended Audience: Some graphic violence, little in the way of profanity or nudity. Some of the monster mask scenes may be too intense or scary for children.
Version(s) Viewed: Prerelease fansub
Review Status: Full (1/1)
The Weathering Continent © 1992 Production IG / Kadokawa Shoten
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