- Tales from Earthsea
- by Gorō Miyazaki
- Studio Ghibli
- based on series (especially characters) Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin and on manga The Journey of Shuna by Hayao Miyazaki
Many strange and confusing things are happening and the Kingdom is deteriorating. In addition, the citizens are acting strange and they start to see dragons which should not enter the world of the human beings. Therefore, a wandering wizard called Gedo examines this cause and on his journey he meets Prince Arren, an agitated teenager. Arren seems very shy but he carries a dark side which brings him strength, hatred and no mercy. In fact, this is perfect for the witch named Kumo who uses Arren’s fears against those who want to help him.
The storyline is a bit confusing at the beginning but it gets better during the movie. The location takes place in a world filled with wizards and sorcerers. Worth mentioning is the aspect of the meaning of the ‘True Name’. The plot is about keeping the balance in the world. However, this balance is destroyed and therefore people start turning crazy and getting confused. They are doing imprudent things such as the main protagonist Arren who kills his own father without having a reason. Additionally, animals are also getting sick due to this imbalance.
The anime contains many fantasy elements as even the first scenes are taking place in a fantasy world which contains a battle between dragons. Besides wizards, many magic aspects are also included such as Gedo changing his own face to be incognito. Another interesting fact is the sword sealed with magic which seems to be a quite common element in medieval times movies.
Besides fantasy elements, the anime movie also consists of several serious topics. Even though they are not the main topics in the movie, they play an important role. An example is human trafficking where especially children are sold on a sort of public market. A further topic is the selling of illegal substance (like drugs) on the street. A scene shows people who have tasted one of these drugs lying on the street with their spirit having left their body. It is quite impressive to see that the movie plays in an ancient world compared to nowadays in the real world where these horrific actions still take place.
Unfortunately, the characters in the movie represent the negative aspect here. None of them has an interesting personality or character development except for Arren who seems to be a bit alluring due to his fear and dark side living inside him. However, other characters especially the women are quite boring and even the wizard Gedo is not very entertaining. In addition, we also do not like the presentation of the antagonist who is neither impressive nor curious; one can say he is a bit dull.
Nonetheless, the art of the landscape scenery is very beautiful especially the one of the desert. Here again the character design is very mediocre and kept quite simple. We think the characters could have been drawn a bit more detailed and appealing. The female cast looks more or less the same. Indeed, Arren has a very cute appearance and is therefore the most attractive character in the anime. Moreover, the sound is quite good but neither remarkable nor impressive. Even the song sung by a character (Therru) is not very astonishing or meaningful.
All in all, we have to mention that ‘Gedo Senki’ is not the best Studio Ghibli movie. There exists much better ones. This movie is a bit boring and some scenes are dull or rather monotonous. Not many action scenes are included with the exception of the ending where few wild scenes are present. In a lot of scenes, the characters are doing nothing at all and the movie also lacks in suspenses. Therefore we rather recommend to check out other Studio Ghibli movies such as ‘Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi’ and ‘Omoide no Marnie’.