The Snow Queen – episode 1

July 3, 2005 on 1:20 am | In The Snow Queen | Comments Off on The Snow Queen – episode 1

It’s like stepping into the seventies! Dezaki Osamu, legendary director of Rose of Versailles, Aim for the Ace! and, in modern times, BlackJack, has come up gold with this anime adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s dense 1845 Fairy Tale.

In 19th century Denmark, Gerda and Kay are poor but happy children. The story goes that an evil mirror breaks, and piece embeds itself in Kay’s eye and heart, turning him into a cynical child with a heart of ice. Not so here!
In this episode, Gerda and Kay go searching in the deepest woods for a church that periodically plays a haunting melody. Everyone who has entered the forest has never returned, but these two live to tell the tale.

In preparation for watching this, I read The Snow Queen and was surprised to find that I couldn’t see the point. Hans Christian Andersen had a mostly wonderful narrative voice (The Princess and the Pea is hilarious), but The Snow Queen story was steeped in some sort of religious meaning that was shrouded in metaphor that I couldn’t recognise as I’m not exactly the best religious fellow.

The Snow Queen was only twenty six pages long, so I don’t think this anime should have to follow it too closely. Judging by the names of future episodes – “The Pea Bean and the Girl”, for instance – I think that several other Andersen stories will be drawn upon for inspiration. As The Snow Queen is essentially a journey in its original incarnation, inserting miniature adventures along the way is no stretch of the imagination. Armed with my Hans Christian Andersen complete works, I will be able to tackle it head on; I feel a sense of wonder at Dezaki’s brilliantly dated aesthetic (matte ahoy!) that makes it well worth watching.

Some of Sugino Akio’s design is a triumph, and some of it is not:

Seriously, check out the kid with the beanie! And second from the left, back row … he doesn’t have pupils.
Yet the backgrounds are uniformly beautiful:

1970s styled anime on a 2005 budget? I’m all over it.

Even more interesting is the cast, with the ever lovely Kawasumi Ayako as Gerda and Natsuki Rio as Kay. I’ve never heard Natsuki as a boy before, but she has got it down. She sounds nothing like her old stuff such as Battle Athletes‘ Akari, wherein she had that sort of high pitch that so many hate (I had nothing against it, myself). What is a big selling point, is the inclusion of Suzukaze Mayo as the Snow Queen. Best known in anime circles for her role of Kenshin in Rurouni Kenshin, Suzukaze is a “real actress” with huge crossover appeal. The producers seem to sense this, and as a result her name actually flashes on the screen upon the character’s introduction. The other introductions just feature the characters’ names, not the actors’.

Dezaki is the hook, and I’m trailing along. It’s not always pretty, but it is always interesting to watch.

No Comments yet

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress with Pool theme design by Borja Fernandez.
Entries and comments feeds. Valid XHTML and CSS. ^Top^