Wind Named Amnesia, A

Tagged: Film

Japanese animated film (1990; vt The Wind of Amnesia). Original title Kaze no Na wa Amunejia. Based on the novel by Hideyuki Kikuchi. Madhouse. Directed by Kazuo Yamazaki. Written by Yoshiaki Kawajiri, Kenji Kurata and Kazuo Yamazaki. Voice cast includes Keiko Toda, Kappei Yamaguchi and Kazuki Yao. 80 minutes. Colour.

Sometime in the 1990s a wind swept across the world, causing everyone to lose their Memories – including language – reducing them to beasts (see Disaster). Teenager Wataru (Yao) had wandered into a former US Military bio-Weapons laboratory: here he aided a boy who had been attacked by a man with Telekinetic powers. The boy, Johnny (Yamaguchi), had been part of an experiment to improve memory and was unaffected by the Amnesia wind. Using the laboratory's Technology to download knowledge into Wataru's brain, Johnny also became his teacher, but after a few years – frail from having been experimented on – he died. Now Wataru travels, witnessing what has become of humanity.

In 1999 San Francisco (see California) he meets Sophia (Toda), who also appears to have retained her memories: he agrees to take her to New York. During the journey they see how humanity has been reduced to a primitive state, including worshipping and sacrificing their fellows to giant construction Mecha (see Religion). They also come across a model Utopian City governed by Big Computer (see AI), who implants false memories (see Memory Edit) into its two surviving humans so they can play out different roles; it offers Wataru and Sophia the opportunity to join them, pointing out how safe they would be in an otherwise dangerous world, but they refuse.

Once in New York Sophia reveals she is part of an Alien race which has watched the Earth for 400,000,000 years, pondering whether the human race should be invited to join them. Some aliens felt that without the pressure of civilization, humanity's true nature (see Metaphysics) would be revealed, so they created the amnesia wind, with Sophia assigned as an observer. The pair have Sex in front of a picture of the Virgin Mary and child. Later, a giant Spaceship arrives and Sophia ascends to meet it. Before her departure she says it hasn't been decided whether to return humanity's memories or not. Wataru will carry on wandering.

The film paints a largely unflattering picture of humanity: though it might be argued one conclusion to be drawn from the film is the importance of memory in shaping humanity, making its removal an odd means of judging us. The animation is unexceptional, with some plot holes and inconsistent characterization (Wataru, who is shown to be distressed by the suffering he has seen, responds to Sophia's revelation without anger). Despite these flaws, this is an ambitious, thoughtful Anime that uses the Cliché of a road trip through a Post-Holocaust landscape as something more than an excuse for routine action and violence. [SP]

links

Previous versions of this entry

Website design and build: STEEL

Site ©2011 Gollancz, SFE content ©2011 SFE Ltd.