Tree of Palme, A

Japanese Title: Parumu no Ki
Also Known As: A Tree of Palm
Genre: Action/Drama
Format: 1 Movie
Allegiance: Toho/Genco
Director: Nakamura Takashi
Vintage: 2001
Intelligence Agency Report by: Dave K
Palme is a wooden robot built from a tree said to have mystical powers and the ability to absorb memories from the very soil itself, with the purpose of serving his builder’s ailing wife, Xian. However, once Xian dies, Palme lies dormant until a mysterious woman appears and reawakens him. She instructs Palme to take the Egg of Touto to Tamas, the world below. With a new purpose in life, Palme sets out to complete this task.

Field Agent Report by: Dave K
Overall 8.75

This is a movie that is quite easy to dislike, and for a number of reasons: the plot doesn’t become very clear at all until well into the movie, the development of the characters is incredibly slow, and the movie as well can be frustratingly slow at times. However, A Tree of Palme is definitely the sort of movie that if you stick with it, and pay attention, you will find to be a wonderful film.

One of the things I found when watching A Tree of Palme was how many anime I could draw comparisons to. NausicaaLaputa, and Macross Plusare just some of the anime that it draws influence from. However, the biggest influence to A Tree of Palme is actually the Disney film Pinocchio. Palme is made of wood and is often called a puppet in the movie. Palme also has the desire to become a human. Sounds like Pinocchio right? Well the creator Nakamura Takashi (AkiraMacross Plus) himself even admits that Pinocchio is the major influence on this film, although it is definitely a darker version; something to be expected from the man who brought usAkira.

Looking beyond all the comparisons that can be made to A Tree of Palme, the movie itself it has one of the most unique plots in a movie. However, the manner in which the plot takes shape can be safely called inadequate. The sluggish development and the lack of clarification of certain details can be a turn off for a lot of people watching this film. However, in the end it all becomes clear. But this late clarification of the facts doesn’t necessarily save the movie in the minds of some.

Unfortunately, the biggest problem with A Tree of Palme is the characters. Palme is the main character, and as such he receives a large amount of development. The side characters for the most part are just thrown at us without any explanation at all, and while they all help in the development of Palme as a character, the lack of development from their standpoint definitely hurts the film.

Visually, A Tree of Palme is amazing, with Ghost in the Shell animation combined with a Spirited Away style of art. There are some obvious uses of CG in the film, but unless you are a purest and believe CG is the devil, this should not bother you at all. The CG is by no means intrusive and the only reason you know it is CG is because it looks too good to be hand drawn. The voice acting for A Tree of Palme didn’t stand out as anything spectacular, but every character had a voice that fit them to perfection and the only problem was that Palme seiyuu overacted at some points. The music through out the movie can be a bit grating, and one song seemed to be devoid of rhythm. However, this is just a minor issue, as the audio/visual aspects works well in conjunction with the rest of the movie.

If you haven’t seen A Tree of Palme, I would suggest that you do so as soon as you can. However, be prepared to be confused at first and possibly be ready to watch the movie again to remove your confusion. If you stick with the movie you will likely be well rewarded with what is without a doubt one of the most touching movies ever made.