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Arashi no yoru ni - Which is not unduly obvious, as I am about to explain
Arashi no yoru ni
The children's anime film Arashi no yoru ni has been released on DVD in Japan. I've got an untranslated AVI of it, but of course since I don't understand Japanese, the finer details of the plot escape me. I'm not sure when/if fansubs of this will appear. It's definitely for a younger audience and is low on action; not something that appeals to the young adult anime crowd who create fansubs. Online reviews seem to have been lukewarm at best. Still, it looked half-decent.

I've seen the title translated as "On the night of a storm", "One stormy night" or "On a stormy night". The film starts with a gritty scene from the past, in which a goat defends his kid from a pack of wolves. The kid escapes, but his father dies - managing to bite off the ear of the pack leader.

Fast-forward to the present day. The kid is older, and is named Mei. One night during a bad thunderstorm he takes shelter in an abandoned barn, where a wolf named Gabu also takes shelter. The two can't see each other, start talking and become friends, agreeing to have a picnic together. They choose the title of the film, "Stormy night", as the phrase with which they'll be able to recognize each other.

So the next day they meet at the barn and are more than a bit surprised, given that they're predator/prey species. Here's Gabu's expression when he realizes his new friend is a goat.

They have the picnic anyway, so I guess one of the main lessons of this film is friendship in the face of adversity. Gabu has to restrain his instincts to kill and eat Mei, but otherwise things seem to be going o.k.

Of course, the rest of Mei's herd and Gabu's pack find out about this and are none too pleased. They each get chewed out by their respective sides, but I don't know what ultimatums, options or sympathy they're given (if any). They're allowed to get back together, only now, everyone's watching them - the wolves, the goats, and pretty much all the animals in the forest.

Gabu and Mei are in the middle of trying to cross a raging river. Gabu saves Mei from drowning, and then they decide to make a break for it, to reach a valley on the other side of the mountain where they can live in peace. They jump into the river together and get swept away. The wolf pack gives chase, since they're mean, angry, hate goats, feel betrayed and want revenge.

There's a bad snowstorm in the mountains that almost does Mei in, so Gabu digs a shelter for them in the snow. His stomach rumbles badly and he seems upset by his life situation in general. After talking, Gabu leaves, and they say "sayonara" weightily to each other. I don't know what's going on here - if Gabu's given up and thinks it's best to part ways? The Wikipedia page says he's going out to defend them against the rest of the pack, which I'd guess is a suicide mission, since the pack has at least a dozen wolves in it. Anyway, Gabu engages them in a fight and is doing horribly, when they're all swept away by an avalanche. ("You know what they say - avalanche is better than no lanche at all!" ...sorry.)

Mei leaves the snow shelter and soon finds himself in the beautiful new valley, but is depressed without his friend. Gabu shows up, but something is wrong. He knocks Mei out and drags him into a cave. Gabu is angry, brooding, resentful, and is tossing a ball of rock up and down restlessly (and bites it at one point). Basically he's not acting like himself and seems to have backslid psychologically. Mei says "stormy night" to him and Gabu has a massive life-before-your-eyes flashback, remembers what's happened, remembers that they're friends, and everything is happy, the end.

Pretty simple story, and a *lot* of talking. Here are the leftover images I grabbed.

One of the other goats in Mei's herd:

Gabu and Mei talking things out:

Gabu being chewed out by his pack. The guy with the brown streak is the pack beta, I guess, although the head of the pack certainly doesn't give him any respect.

Here's some of the rest of the pack. The two on the left are easy to pick out - one's got an eyepatch and the other looks dopey all the time. (Actually at one point there's a flashback to their childhoods where they're all laughing at Gabu because he can't jump across a trench, and even at that age, the eyepatch is there.) The white wolf is the alpha female, and she's completely disinterested in everything that's going on; this is her only scene. The head of the pack is, of course, simply nasty. Is it me or is a scar across the eye of the antagonist becoming a cartoon cliché? e.g., The Animals of Farthing Woods, The Lion King, and probably others.

The lush backgrounds of anime:

And finally, Gabu overjoyed to find out that his friend hasn't frozen to death in the snowstorm.

2 comments or Leave a comment
porsupah From: porsupah Date: June 25th, 2006 05:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
D'awwww. ^_^ I'm going to have to keep an eye out for a fansub. Hopefully one is in the offing - always difficult to tell, given the way fansub groups tend to glom onto "hot" projects. (Consider the way only one group ever touched Kamichu, f'rex, and rather sporadically at that)

Ah, for the day when real-time translation really works.. or direct neural input, so learning a language is just a matter of downloading it.
dronon From: dronon Date: June 25th, 2006 05:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
If the fansubbers won't touch it, this film is wholesome enough that it might get translated professionally for a North American DVD release. Two scenes with a little bit of blood are about as extreme as the content gets. Still, if you spot a fansub, let me know!
2 comments or Leave a comment