I love faeries, and anime, and this is the perfect combination of both. Alright, there are definitely some flaws in the movie. The colours are kind of faded, the bad guy is cheesy, and as is typical of 80 cartoons the girl just whines instead of doing something, among other things. My mind was telling me this as I was watching… but a stronger voice drowned that one out and was wishing I’d seen this movie when I was five years old. I would have loved it then. I still appreciate it now, but there’s something about a child’s perception that makes magic come alive and this story is full of magic.
It’s about the son of the sea king and the daughter of the fire queen. As legend has it, the king and queen are siblings and were very close and always together. The wind saw this, became jealous of their happiness and told lies to each of them making them distrust the other. They quarrelled and the fire queen went to live in the sky and the sea god the sea, and the wind was banished to the depths of the sea and his eye was removed. One day the prince of the sea goes to a forbidden place and sees the fire child watching over the eternal flame. He comes back the next day and they fall in love, and from there they try to find a way to make their impossible love work.
One of the things I love about anime is that it’s not disnified. What I mean by that is that a romanticized ideal is achieved, but not without cost. There isn’t a false message that you can have your cake and eat it too. You should strive to achieve your desires, but you have to know that there may be a price to pay. This isn’t ominous by any means, don’t take it the wrong way, the movie isn’t sinister and won’t worry a child. The moral isn’t that bad will always come from getting something you want, but more that sometimes you have to choose between two things you might like and if you choose one you might mourn the loss of the other, even though the choice you made was the best one and is what will make you the happiest. This isn’t always the message in main stream films. Most of the time the idea expressed is that you go through a tough phase, but then by making the right choices all goes well in your life, happily ever after, without regret or pain or thoughts of what if. The story end with the idea that the couple will always be happy in their paradise, but in real life situations life isn’t so black and white, and it’s refreshing to see films reflect this every now and again, especially films for children.
The fire people are all faeries, and all except for the fire queen have a sprite-like appearance. The prince is human looking, but very lanky, and all of his subjects are fish (so both boys and girls will watch). It was a great film full of fantasy, adventure, whimsy, and romance. Also animated by Sanrio but not necessarily faerie related are the films ringing bell and the legend of unico. Both are good to look out for.
the trailer is in Japanese, as the movie originated from Japan, but there is a dubbed version (on youtube at the moment, but i didn’t say that) that will be easier to watch for the average North American.