Plot: See Review for details.
Breakdown: Ya know how you’re watching something and really enjoying it then something happens that just makes you go WTF? and you can no longer enjoy it anymore? That’s this anime.
This is a oneshot anime out of four for a series of shorts called Otona Joshi no Anime Time. It starts out with a woman and her son returning to Japan after living in America for five years. The woman is narrating while remembering her past in Japan. We learn that she always admired her sister because she knew she would be someone great someday, but her sister ended up getting married and pregnant which, in her words, made her no more noticeable than any other woman. (Yeah. Haha! You’re in a loving marriage with great kids – your life is nothing! Har!) Despite her sister having a great life with a wonderful family, the fact that her sister never pursued ‘greatness’ or a nice career freaked her out and she was determined not to end up that way.
In high school, she started working in her father’s sweets shop where an old classmate of hers, Hisao, also worked. She barely ever talked to him, and he was very stoic and never spoke much to anyone. However, she was always entranced by the way he made sweets.
She was planning on leaving for Tokyo University right out of high school and was soon to depart for Tokyo when she ran into Hisao again. In addition to getting a custom made sweet from Hisao, he also walked her home and talked with her.
After several years of being away, she returned to find that Hisao had his own sweets shop and that he no longer made the special sweets he gave her, but gives her some fruit jellies.
Later, she goes back to his shop and asks for one night with him. He obliges and they have sex. He asks her to stay with him afterwards instead of leaving again, but she leaves anyway because she was planning on getting married and moving to the States.
Back to present time, she takes her son to Hisao’s sweets shop and we learn that he has gotten married and has a child that is almost a year old. When he asks her son, Motoki, how old he is (when he’s been proudly proclaiming through the whole show that he’s four) she stops him from answering and says three years old.
Yeah, Motoki is Hisao’s son, but she doesn’t want Hisao to know. Hisao gives her some fruit jellies and asks her if she’s happy. She says she’s very happy despite the fact that her husband didn’t go to Japan with them, probably never will go, and she was thinking about a divorce since they’ve grown apart.
She departs from Hisao once more. After a scene at the river with her son, the anime ends.
I’ve been remaking my old reviews and posting them here and some of them I have slightly changed the rating and review for because, well, hindsight is 20/20. This is a prime example of this.
Before I did away with giving numbered ratings, I gave this anime before a 4/10. Why? Because the fact that she never actually got with Hisao made no sense to me. If it was because she didn’t want to end up like her sister, she failed epically because she got pregnant and married practically right out of high school and holds no notable job. In fact, she was worse off than her sister because her sister at least was happily married with a great family while she’s planning her divorce and is damned to lying to her kid and the love of her life for the rest of their lives. At least that’s the way the show leads us to believe it will go.
If it was because she was getting married to someone else after finding out she was pregnant, then…hi? Wouldn’t going back to the real father that she loves with all her heart be better than going to the other guy and living a lie? She’s even putting her son through a lie.
However, after thinking it over, I think it was meant to be seen as a tragic (emotionally) romance. She desperately didn’t want to end up like her sister, married to someone with no important job while just being a stay-at-home mom, and maybe she believed going with Hisao would lead to that. The guy that she ended up with seems to hold a very good position in some office, and maybe she thought going with him would mean that she’d also focus more on a super-important career instead of fading into the background as a stay-at-home mom living a boring life.
At the end of the anime, she realizes that she made a huge mistake in her life, but she can’t go back and fix it now. Going back to Hisao would either do nothing or tear apart his happy family. This is a sad situation where she didn’t realize what she truly had until it was gone and there was no way to get it back. It sucks, but she still has her son and her whole life ahead of her. Still, makes you wonder how much she truly loved Hisao if she was willing to let him go just to ‘be important’.
On a final note, about fifteen minutes in, it gets pretty creepy for just one scene. You’re just sitting there enjoying the anime when, we suddenly see her go down the stairs and attack everything in the kitchen like a wild raccoon, eating everything in sight then throwing up in the toilet and apparently never cleaning up the mess in the kitchen. Even the music playing in the background was creepy. I would be very open to an eating disorder being a part of this character, and I think it would track, but nothing in the story alluded to or discussed any form of eating disorder. It comes out of nowhere and is never brought up again, so I don’t get the purpose of the scene. Plus, the way they framed it as being super creepy instead of sad or emotional doesn’t really reflect well on the writers’ views of eating disorders or mental illness, if that is what they’re poking at here.
Art and Animation: The art was…Interesting…It was a weird mix between live action, semi-poorly done CGI and regular 2D art. The taxi might as well have been made out of Legos. The live action scenes seemed completely out of place, but the rest of the art was really good.
Music: Pretty good, no qualms though nothing particularly memorable.
Voice acting: Japanese – Wonderful. No one was annoying at all, even the kids. Motoki had a very believable American accent when he was singing The Itsy Bitsy Spider.
Bottom Line: Better than I remember, but still not amazing. It’s a very short one-shot that I see no harm in watching.
Additional Information and Notes: A Wind Skimming the River’s Surface was directed by Tooru Takahashi, who did the storyboard work on Nana, and it was written by Reiko Yoshida, who also wrote D.Gray Man, Ghost Hunt and Jyu-Oh-Sei. The anime was produced by BONES.
Runtime: 25 Minutes
Recommended Audience: No nudity, but there is a brief non-graphic sex scene. A creepy moment or two, no swearing, gore or anything.
If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥