Wind Named Amnesia, A

Japanese Title: Kaze no Na wa Amnesia
Genre: Action/Adventure
Format: Movie
Allegiance: Madhouse
Director: Yamazaki Kazuo
Vintage: 1990
Intelligence Agency Report by: Mira
A bizarre wind blew through the world wiping everyone’s memories. Everything Man knew, from technology to speech, is gone. People don’t even recognize their own children and brutalize them in a savage quest for survival. In this world a lone young man named Wataru has been awakened from the darkness of amnesia. He makes reaching out to the world with his knowledge a personal quest. Along the way, he meets a mysterious woman named Sophia who is oddly unaffected by amnesia. Together they travel across the United States and contemplate the very nature of Man and the fate of the world.

Field Agent Report by: Mira
Overall 6.00

A Wind Named Amnesia is a classic anime with a classic science-fiction theme: what would we be without the social and technological structures that hold us together? Is there anything more to us at our very core than simple animal instinct? These are the questions this film offers up for consideration.

Each aspect of A Wind Named Amnesia attempts to flesh out some portion of the seemingly meaty premise with inconsistent results. Brooding and contemplative, the film gives ample attention to each component of Man’s psyche. Perhaps the attention is too carefully considered. Each scene can be checked off as a cliché English 101 theme; i.e. “Man vs. Nature”, “Man vs. Technology”, “Man vs. Himself” etc… What the viewer is meant to think about is made too plainly obvious, and as a result, much of the message comes off as pedantic. Even so, the film does provide some truly thought provoking content: for example, Wataru’s and Sophia’s visit to the “eternal city” where the heart of today’s society is put on display-probably the most subtle vignette of the entire film. The pacing of the plot is appropriate and thus A Wind Named Amnesia manages to keep your attention and make you think a bit – albeit not as much as the creators might have liked.

The main characters are largely stereotypical. There is an invalid genius, a macho “good guy” and a mysterious sexy lady. Their personalities are as predictable as they are forgettable and this definitely detracted from the emotional weight of their conflicts and trials. After all, why care about a character that is a prototype? The numerous unfortunate survivors of “the wind” resonate more emotionally, if only because of their unenviable plight. At least their lives provide some surprises – such as the unexpected rebirth of mercy and selflessness in an unexpected situation.

The animation is decent but shows its age in some of the action sequences. The artwork is very good with realistic rendering of a society turned brutish. The characteristic style of this older anime may not appeal to some newer fans but beyond that A Wind Named Amnesia won’t disappoint with visuals. The music is forgettable though not distracting. It’s simply there and then it’s gone without much impact; much like the film as a whole.

Overall, A Wind Named Amnesia attempts to be a cerebral offering but ends up being blatant and predictable. With that said, it’s not a completely unenjoyable anime. I suspect fans of classic science fiction will be more considerate regarding its flaws.