This was not the movie I wanted to see, although ‘movie’ is a very loose term for this 27-minute offering. It really isn’t much more than an untethered OVA, but it was given to me as a ‘movie’, and underdeveloped at that. ”Taifū no Noruda” (“Typhoon Noruda”) could have really used more back story and more understanding as to what was/is going on. We end up with an elongated scenario with all the salient parts to make it work, but not fully exploited to tell a richly compelling story, and thus this is what we end up with. (I was looking for another movie, but I ran into this one and watched it instead, thus my cryptic opening comment).
We are at Unnamed Academy on Nomanisan Island and we are getting ready for the Cultural Festival. But there are storm clouds on the horizon, both actually and figuratively. The actually is that a typhoon is brewing off the coast and it promises to be at least a Category 8 and, potentially, one of those monster, once-in-a-lifetime storms that is so powerful, it tips the Earth on its axis. The figurative one is a conflict between those two guys, Shuuichi Azuma (to the left) and Kenta Saijō (to the right). You see they are best friends. Well, they used to be best friends, but Azuma made the decision to quit the baseball team. I mean, he just up and left without so much as a how-do-you-do. This irritated Saijō to no end. He thought they were better pals than that. Guess not. Needless to say, there are some nasty fights and nasty words said and nasty amounts of sulking and nasty under-the-breath mutterings. Here is the first problem.
I would like to know the reasons Azuma left the team. The excuse he gives is weak (“I don’t care…”), done more to chase away Saijō than to face the music, as it were. We could have spent some quality film time looking into the decision. We know it was a hard choice to make, but without seeing what made it a hard choice, then he is being a petulant athlete who wants more accolades or more girls or more starts (he’s a pitcher, I think). Well, the storm blows up much faster than one expected and a lightning bolt shears power for the school. As the rain start to come down in buckets and dump trucks and waterfalls, Azuma sees a girl at the old school building.
Look, the rain is pouring down not just in sheets, but in full bedrooms; the wind is so fast, it’ll rip your face right off your head, and there is a girl standing out there as though it’s the Cherry Blossom Festival? What gives? And we are talking about Noruda (that figure between them with her back to us, OK?). When Azuma gets to the old school, there is so much weirdness afoot, he is having a really hard time trying to piece it all together. Azuma is taken over by a strong will to help this enchanting girl without really knowing why. Why is she in the middle of the storm? Can Azuma be any help to her? Has he mastered a split-fingered fast ball?
It’s just that this film could have easily added another 40 minutes to the plotting to help us understand more as to what it going on in all aspect of this, especially why they remain at the school with an impending perfect storm on the horizon, even though the radio or the TV is giving up minute by minute updates as to what’s going down, or blowing up, in this case and people are still in shock and awe when the thing arrives. Wow, talk about dedication to the Cultural Festival! Instead, the film hits the road running and a lot of side details are left to the side in order to play up the action sequences. Now, these are some stunning sequences, in relation to the typhoon and what goes on. I cannot reveal more, as this is the entire meat of the story and you deserve to have it unfold for you, rather than have me spill the beans.
It is a good looking, naturalistic anime, freed from a lot of the tropes that sometimes undermine even the best of stories. It’s just we were flung in too fast, dragged along by the heels, reached the conclusion earlier than anticipated and hurled from the ride to make room for the next paying customer. Some Cultural Festival this turned out to be!
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (Stunning backgrounds and scenery)
Plot 7 (Just a tad thin)
Pacing 7 (Got frantic near the end)
Effectiveness 7 (Needed to unfurl better than it did)
Conclusion 5 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but there is more lurking out there)
Fan Service 0 (A similar show would be “Honey and Clover”)
Overall 2 ½ stars
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Why did you quit?