Saturday, 21 April 2012

Leda: The Fantastic Adventure of Yohko

Genmu senki Leda; animated fantasy, Japan, 1985; D: Kunihiko Yuyama, S: Hiromi Tsuru, Kei Tomiyama, Chika Sakamoto

Teenage girl Yohko, a piano prodigy, has a crush on a boy but is too shy to tell him, so she writes a song instead. However, while playing it on her Walkman, the melody is so intense it opens a doorway to another dimension - Yohko lands in Ashtani, a parallel world, transforms into a warrior and teams up with a talking dog and a girl, Yoni, and - in tune to the legend of Leda - fights and wins over tyrant Zell who wants to conquer Earth by passing through the doorway. Returning back to Japan, Yohko finally has the courage to approach her crush.

Anime OVA film "Leda: The Fantastic Adventure of Yohko" starts (and ends) on a far more promising note than we eventually got from the main plot, in a dynamic, but slightly too bizarre patchwork reminiscent of "Alice in Wonderland" and "The Labyrinth" that lacks a real context, even though Helen McCarthy in her book 500 Essential Anime Movies actually goes on to compare it with a parable of first love and sexual awakening disguised as a fantasy. Maybe "Leda" can truly be compared with "The Company of Wolves" disguised as a simple super-hero/"magical-girl" story, but director Yuyama should have taken more effort into giving the viewers some more articulate clues and hints, instead of just simplifying it with the scheme girl arrives to a parallel world-defeats the (androgynous and blue) bad guy-returns back home. The enjoyment is further damped by a lack of good dialogue, wit and humor. The opening is fabulous, the heroine's music is truly a great melody, the animation ranges from good to very good, depending on a scene, whereas Yohko's crush in the opening act involving a boy from her school (whose face is shown only once, while in all other scenes it is hidden) has spark, even though it was only ignited the first 5 minutes of the story before she found herself in the parallel world, which is more bizarre than cohesive, except towards the end that offers an interesting thought about rejecting escapism and living in reality with courage.

Grade:++

No comments: