A Wind Named Amnesia
Distributed By Central Park Media
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating: T for bloody violence, bad language, nudity
Running Time: 80 minutes
Reviewed by Jon Minners
Examine your life carefully. Look at one aspect; eating. Remember the monotony of going to the supermarket and picking out the right food for the right meal. Do you recall the time and effort you put into preparing and cooking the meal? Remember the looks on the faces of others as they took a bite of the freshly cooked meal. Didnít it taste good? What if you lost the ability to remember even the most basic things like cooking a meal? Imagine if you lost the memories associated with everything you have taken for granted in life. There is the premise for A Wind Named Amnesia.
Set in the future of 1999 (the film was first released in 1990 and re-released today), mankind inevitably discovers the usefulness of mecha and uses it here and there and everywhere to help them make life easier. Their desire to be happy has been complicated by the need to make more money and to make their lives easier. And then the wind comes.
But this wind is not like any before it. As the wind passes through the Earth, everyone it touches forgets everything. The ability to speak is lost. Driving a car is impossible. Reading is unheard of. Everyoneís slate is cleaned. The millionaire and the bum are all the same; reduced to savages with the mindset of a newborn infant. There is no law. There is no order. Earth has regressed back to the state of primitive times when cavemen ruled and everything was a discovery.
The story begins a few years after the wind destroyed the minds of millions. A young human encounters a mecha that is still on its mission of preserving order, attacking mindless civilians even as its own pilot has been long dead; no longer able to sustain himself after being trapped inside the machine with no recollection of how to leave. The young man, who seems to have retained the ability to drive, is attacked by the mecha and saved by a young woman, who like the man before her, knows how to talk.
The young manís name is Wataru, which is translated to traveler. Wataru is the sole civilized human who was saved from a primitive state by a young boy with artificial intelligence, Johnny, who helped Wataru re-learn much of the basic knowledge he lost due to the wind. Johnny dies, but before he does, he sends Wataru on a mission across the globe to meet new people and help teach them how to live like they once did.
The woman Wataru meets is Sophia, a complete mystery, who seems to know way too much about what is going on around them. In San Francisco, the two set out on a journey to New York City with several stops in between as Wataru attempts to meet new people and help them escape the amnesia that plagues them and the civilization they remain loosely connected to.
Wataru and Sophia meet many different people along the way, each with their own unique culture. Civilization is slowly starting again. Life is very primitive in its nature, but there are characters along the way that may not be able to speak anymore, but do have some sense of what is right and wrong. Others can speak, but are stuck in reliance with a computer and no ability to truly think for themselves. And whether or not Wataru can teach them anything, the fact of the matter is that in the end it is both Wataru and Sophia who learn much on the journey.
And thatís the key to what makes this film successful. The animation is ok. The music is pretty good. The action is lacking and the ending is sort of a letdown, but the development of Wataru as a primitive man into a human being is perfectly handled and the plot is expertly developed from start to finish. This is a really good story with one of the best concepts ever conceived for an anime title.
This is not like other anime we are used to, especially from the early 90ís. There are no over-the-top bad guys. Viewers will not see too many crazy explosions. There is not even a lot of blood. This is a character driven story with a whole lot of heart and for a movie about the loss of memory; A Wind Named Amnesia is probably one of the most thought provoking anime titles released in a long time.