A Wind Named Amnesia Anime Review
Kaze no Na wa Amunejia
The Wind's Name is Amnesia
US Release By
Post-apocalyptic Science Fiction Action
In the very near future, a mysterious wind sweeps the earth, erasing the memory of every human on the planet. All but one--a young boy with an experimental computer implanted in his brain, assisted by the computer's storage, has retained his memories of the way the world was. Before passing on, he educates a young man he dubs Wataru. Left alone as the only educated being in a world populated by humans reduced to their animal instincts, Wataru takes it upon himself to travel across America in an effort to begin rebuilding the great civilization whose ruins still cover the land. He is joined in his journey by a mysterious woman, and they are pursued by an automated war machine left over from past times. They meet meet an interesting array of people and are involved in an unusual series of adventures, but even as he tries to recapture some of the past glory of human civilization, Wataru ponders the question raised by his traveling companion--is this civilization really worth saving?
Weighty and cerebral, A Wind Named Amnesia is classic science fiction--not space ships and interstellar war, the real "what if" deal. The film makes a real attempt at asking deep questions about the point of civilization and the things that mankind has accomplished. On the down side, coherent plot and believability are frequently sacrificed to make a point, and the whole thing is so heavy on metaphor that it ends up feeling a little like an essay cut together with an action movie.
I usually wouldn't complain about a movie having too much action, but here it's a questionable decision. The heavily metaphorical plot, although far from subtle, would feel more consistent and be easier to suspend disbelief and get absorbed in if it weren't for the periodic bursts of action interrupting it.
The end result is that A Wind Named Amnesia is either a hard-core sci-fi movie with too much action, or a normal sci-fi movie with too much metaphor. There is some sexual content near the very end that also seemed entirely unnecessary as best, and gratuitous and oddly out of place at worst.
On the technical end of things, A Wind Named Amnesia is not particularly noteworthy, though not bad for a film of its age, either. The art is fair to good, and the animation isn't too bad, although the backgrounds are a bit on the simple side and the animation is a little rough. The action is about par for an older OAV, meaning not particularly good.
Fans of philosophical science fiction should love A Wind Named Amnesia, but for more general taste it seems to have either a little too much plot or a little too much action. Certainly not bad, but too many awkward parts to highly recommend unless you go for this kind of thing.
Notes and Trivia
Based on a novel by Hideyuki Kikuchi.
A note on the translation: The subtitles are fairly accurate, but the English dub makes a few changes to the plot, most significantly the last line of the film--the dub changes the plot enough to be worth mentioning. This is a bit of a spoiler, but if you see the dub and are wondering, the woman's original last line, when asked how long it will take to decide, is "a few hours"--a bit different.
Formerly available in North America from US Manga Corps on an "Anime 101 Edition" bilingual DVD, out of print since the company folded. Prior to that was available on an early bilingual DVD, subtitled and dubbed VHS, and bilingual LD. It also aired (subtitled) on the Independent Film Channel at one point.