Wonderful Days anime review

Wonderful Days anime review
A.D. 2142 - Overpopulation and excessive pollution have made majority of Earth uninhabitable. The only safe haven for mankind is a city called "ECOBAN," which actually uses pollution through the DELOS System as a means of energy. While searching the city for an infiltrator from the wastelands, ECOBAN officer Jay discovers that the intruder is her old friend Shua. A former ECOBAN citizen, Shua has sided with a militia from Marr to bring down ECOBAN's tyrannical reign and restore the Earth's environment.

I have seen very few animated films of any type in a movie theater. Often I find that most of the time I don't particularly care. However, every once in a while I view an animated film that because of the nature of its technical production quality I wish I could have seen on the big screen. The last animated film I saw like that was Metropolis, and now I have just seen another: Wonderful Days.

The film is beautifully put together on a technical level. It uses a combination of 3D animation, 2D animation, and even a small bit of live action. All of this is integrated extremely well and to the point that I think even die- hard opponents of 3D/CGI imagery would be impressed. The general attention to detail in the setting is impressive. The film is a bit dreary in the color department, but that is fitting with its general setting, and the use of a dark palette is very necessary for certain contrastive purposes early on and later on in the film when they do use some brighter colors.

The animation itself, both the 3D and the 2D, is smooth and well done. I have no particular bias against CGI imagery, but often I find that when integrated with 2D moving images seem a bit clunky and that tends to dampen the quality of the scene. That was not the case with Wonderful Days as all the 3D animation was so fluid. This is not to say that the 2D animation work wasn't any less fluid. This was a not a film that relied on any lazy animation tricks in any part of the production.

Musically, the film wasn't nearly as impressive as it was visually, but most of the soundtrack is good at providing the appropriate level of mood enhancement. I do want to take special note of the music involved in one of the climatic final scenes. Without spoiling the scene itself, I just wanted to note that the use of a beautiful and powerful operatic theme combined with the general visual design work of this scene made the scene wonderfully evocative and poetic.

Well of course, movies, even animated ones, aren't all about just the visuals and music. The plot itself is fairly intriguing and while not perhaps as heavily philosophical as some, it does touch on a number of interesting sociopolitical themes that relate to today's world despite the science fiction setting such as the exploitation of the Marrians by Ecoban's citizens. The nature of the Delos machine's fuel source is particularly revealing, as the implications about what the Ecoban are willing to do to preserve their life style is somewhat chilling.

Characterization is the only area of the film that I had some issues with. They do have a number of characters and most of them tend to seem fairly three- dimensional. Even the glorified thugs of the "Hot Dogs" gang that you figure are just there to cause trouble seem to actually human motivations and emotions. Unfortunately, the two main characters, Jay and Shua, around which most of the pivotal plot moves, seem a bit underdeveloped for their roles. It felt like we could have used about fifteen more minutes or so to bring them to life a bit more. We do see the seeds of their childhood friendship and flashbacks to certain events that defined the life of both, but it just seemed like they could have done a stronger job of defining them as people. There is also the mysterious Dr. Noah, an Ecoban renegade. Though one can derive some of his disgust against Ecoban from certain statements, I would have liked to have heard a bit more about why he became a renegade. In the end, this isn't to say that the characterization is flat, just that given how it seemed like they had a good handle on bringing the people to life overall, I was a bit disappointed by how they couldn't quite bring it to the next level. Perhaps if it had a long series behind it to develop the characters for it, it could get away with not spending as much time on that aspect but alas it does not and so it ends up being a good film instead of a truly excellent film.

Better than review, is a Trailer video of: Wonderful Days. Watch it now:
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