Kaina of the Great Snow Sea: Star Sage Anime Film

Kaina of the Nice Snow Sea: Superstar Sage Anime Movie Evaluation

The most recent animated film produced by CG animation company Polygon Pictures and manga writer Tsutomu Nihei for television was titled Kaina of the Great Snow Sea. Knights of Sidonia and Blame! had already been adapted by this team, but Kaina was the first anime original work that Nihei contributed to. I reviewed the program every week and thought it had a captivating setting that effectively evoked the megalithic scales that are characteristic of Nihei’s art. In the end, however, the characters and narrative were too weak to sustain the show’s superstructure trees, so even while I like the series, it never really amazed me. Summed up, Kaina was a nice location with a lackluster narrative.

I bring up my thoughts on the program since they mostly translate to this movie as well. Kaina of the Great Snow Sea: Star Sage, a direct sequel to the series finale, satisfactorily resolves its riddles and tale, although its resolutions fall short of the story’s lack of originality and urgency. My hopes for the film and its finale to capture the essence of Nihei’s best works were somewhat dashed, as the flame vanished into the depths of the Snow Sea.

The film begins subtly with a tour of the several landscapes that Kaina had seen before, which is a wise choice considering that the beauty of their dying planet continues to be Kaina’s greatest strength. The peculiarities of this planet are evoked by the alien canopy, the twisted depths of the Snow Sea, the rustic human settlements, and the orbiting trees resembling Yggdrasil. Although the TV show’s visuals aren’t much better in the movie, the surroundings were already stunning. We have continuity, which is all we needed.

In addition, I have a few criticisms about the animation. Even while Polygon’s aesthetic still seems rigid in comparison to the CG wizards at Studio Orange, they have made significant progress since their own work ten years ago. Perhaps the strongest action sequence in the movie is the trench scene, which exemplifies their enhanced dynamic directing and character acting. Though it conveys danger and drama in a more dramatic way, the boat’s suspenseful vertical ascent up an ocean cliff seems like a throwback to the gravitational hijinks of Knights of Sidonia. The crew’s cooperation in preventing the ship from collapsing strengthens the Atlanders’ and Valghians’ previously weak bond. Even though it’s a simple dramatic scene, the movie does its greatest job of executing it. However, I still find underwater physics to be a little off, and I’m not sure whether they’re meant to be purposefully eerie. In that sense, I think the modest CG jank did a great job contributing to the mystique surrounding the series.

The writing in Star Sage is where her real flaws lay. There is no noteworthy character growth, no notable chemistry in their interactions, and none of these people transcend above their clichés. Kaina clumsily and uninterestingly tangles herself into every story point. Boring, but sharper than Ririha. Byozan, the new adversary, is the archetypal haughty bad guy. I wasn’t left feeling emotionally invested in any of their tales once the credits rolled. Although these characters are practical, they lack the edge and strangeness of Nihei’s other science fiction stories. Though drawing from traditional archetypes is perfectly acceptable, these examples come off as planned and risk-averse, which is the exact opposite of what I desire in art.

Additionally, the planning falls short of the planet-sized stakes involved in Kaina and Ririha’s quest. Since I’ve previously discussed the lack of urgency, allow me to provide some instances. The bark cutter is given to Kaina by the tree elders at the start of the movie, with a note indicating that it has been recharged after the Builder conflict. Of course, I thought the gadget would be crucial in the future. Approximately thirty minutes later, he discards it in the water, and neither it nor anything else comes of that subversion.

Similar to how I anticipated Byozan and his cronies would seize the chance when it was revealed that Kaina was resistant to the mind virus guarding the control room. But Byozan hardly says anything about it, and they don’t get around to having him take care of the main hallway until the next day. Though narrative convenience shouldn’t be used as a justification for shoddy and delayed story development, it makes sense when you consider that this halt gives the Atlanders time to plan their insurrection. Though I believe the writers’ room had clear concepts for the major set pieces, they never quite got their connecting tissue right. They placed more emphasis on the end point than the route.

I like that when we do receive some answers, it’s not a long, comprehensive, infodump explanation. I was afraid Kaina would make it to the control room and turn on a hologram of the Star Sage, who would take the next 10 minutes to explain every aspect of the scheme and its background. Rather, the responses are disjointed and interpreted via the very biased perspectives of our primary characters—a much more creative method. This aspect keeps Kaina grounded in reality since humans still haven’t figured out how to correctly retain crucial knowledge for future generations that will live many millennia apart from our own. Besides, none of these individuals would know the ins and outs of the science involved, and the tale does not require readers to know what transpired prior to the planting of the orbiting trees. I’m relieved that Kaina leaves some mystery unsolved.

Nevertheless, these findings are not particularly unexpected or intriguing. The fact that the trees were terraforming the earth to make up for some serious environmental harm had already become quite evident. I find it amusing that a programming error that requires a manual override may drive mankind to extinction. I think we can have a dismal future like that. However, I find it hard to overlook how ridiculous it is that an administrative AI would choose Kaina and Ririha even if it knows that they are kind individuals, in contrast to Byozan. That may have worked for me if the characters had more depth, but the way it is now simply seems like more convenience for the sake of convenience.

Though, like the TV show, I still enjoyed Star Sage, so I don’t want to come out as being too critical of it. The music and sound design complement the adventure’s wide scope. With its daring laser display on the ground, its gigantic Builder battles above, and its gradual splitting of the massive trunk in the sky, the climactic fight deftly handles each of its layers. A visually arresting finale is provided by the mass departure of the orbiting spire trees, which surround the planet like a protective Dyson sphere. I could be biased to support any of the few remaining original, unfranchised science fiction anime shows that we see each year. I’m happy Kaina was able to complete the narrative, however. I just felt that the narrative was compelling enough to be loved.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *