THE WEATHERING CONTINENT (1992)

 

Format: 54-minute featurette

 

Rating: PG-13 (BN, AC, GV)

 

Type: Fantasy

 

American Production: Anime Works

 

Japanese Production: Kodansha/Bandai Visual/Victor Entertainment/Production I.G.

 

Grading

 

Premise:

B+

Story:

B+

Writing:

B+

Character Design:

B+

Animation:

B

Artistic Merits:

B

English Dub:

B

Musical Score:

B+

Opener:

n/a

Closer:

B

 

 

Humor Content:

n/a

Action Content:

C

Drama Content:

B+

 

 

DVD Presentation:

C

DVD Extras:

C-

 

 

OVERALL:

B+

 

Synopsis

      In the time before recorded history a continent governed by a thriving Republic existed in the Atlantic ocean. Over time a series of environmental disasters ruined the land, leading to massive desertification and the collapse of the Republic into banditry and warring states. Across this ruined land a trio of adventurers – the tall warrior Bois, the priestly Tieh, and the young woman Lakushi – wander, searching for nothing more than a way to survive. In their travels they come across the remnants of a group of desperate treasure hunters, and then the place the treasure hunters were searching for: the lost city of Azec Sistra, a “city of the dead” in the most literal sense. Can they find there the water they so badly need? Can they deal with the bandits that have also come to this strange place? And can they avoid the dire curse of Azec Sistra, which prevents all who tamper with the site from ever leaving?

 

The Long View

      Though the copyright on Weathering Continent dates back to 1992, this title was not released on DVD until the spring of 2003 based on the included company trailers. It is a fairly obscure title, but one well worth a look if you come across it. It is a well-realized and well-executed story featuring strong technical merits, good voice work in both the English and Japanese tracks, and excellent pacing. The take on the nature of the tomb-city is a unique one, and the wasteland – in terms of both landscape and human suffering – that the world of the central characters has become is effectively portrayed, especially in the rendition of the character Balney Lifas (the dying girl they encounter early on). The main characters themselves are not fully-developed but interesting enough to catch the viewer’s attention. Regrettably little is revealed about the background and character of the scarred warrior Bois beyond the fact that he is a fatalist, but tantalizing hints are dropped about the background of Tieh (he of the unmatched eyes and appearance so effeminate that he is mistaken for a woman). Lakushi is the best-developed character and the one a viewer is most likely to connect with. A bit on the clumsy side, she is clearly portrayed as a character guided by her heart despite the desperation of their circumstances, and that heart helps save the trio in an unexpected way. One key scene takes a look into her past, revealing how she came to be on the path she is on now but, unfortunately, not clearly explaining why. I dearly wish there was another chapter to this story that would follow up better on the characters and show their further adventures – and doubtless most viewers will feel the same way after seeing this – but unfortunately, to my knowledge, there is no more of this animation.

      The rating given for Weathering is based on a bit of graphic violence, one very brief scene of near-nudity, some imagery that may disturb younger viewers, and a story that is clearly oriented towards a more mature audience. The overall tone is bleak but not unrelentingly so; there is one positive moment towards the end that, I felt, redeemed the entire thing.

      One odd discrepancy in the production is the fact that both the cover art and DVD menu screen art suggest that the Tieh character is actually a woman, though he clearly is not based on the voice-over (although some bandits do mistake him for one, and a very good-looking one at that). Not sure what’s going on there. Another production discrepancy is the incongruity in transliteration of some of the character names between what is given in the subtitles and what is listed in the end credits. The spellings used in this review reflect those used in the subtitles, which sound more like what the characters are actually saying (both in English and in Japanese) than what is given in the credits. On a related note, the end credits list the seiyuu and English voice actor for each role together, a format I heartily approve of and wish was used more often by American production companies who dub and subtitle anime.

 

DVD Extras

      Not much; just some company previews, the original Japanese trailer, and the original Japanese closer, which has the same graphics but entirely different music. (Both are equally good, however.)

 

Principle English Voice Actors

Role

Voice Actor

Bois

Marc Diraison

Lakushi

Veronica Taylor

Tieh

Jamie McGonnigal

Balney Lifas (the dying girl)

Megan Hollingshead

Arun Harad

Michael Sinterniklaas*

Gaten Rakumu

Dan Green

Deputy Commander

Mike Pollack

Guards

Wayne Grayson

 

* - also a co-director

 

 

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