Windaria is one of those older titles that I hadn't heard much about, wasn't too keen on watching, but decided to rent anyway. And, initially, it appeared that it might turn out to be a hidden gem. Well, almost. Windaria begins quite well, immediately pulling the viewer into a richly decorated fantasy world. Two neighboring kingdoms, the Shadowlands and Lunaria are on the brink of war. However, a small valley containing peaceful farmers is caught in the middle. One farmer, Alan, attempts to prevent the war and save his home, at any cost. The art is quite pleasing to look at, even given this title's age. The characters are fairly interesting in the early goings, and the English voice-acting was decent. However, while this anime may have a decent beginning, it soon degenerates. Part of the problem was the lack of focus. The story continually shifts between the two pairs of main characters, effectively trying to develop both at the same time, but ultimately developing neither. First we learn about Alan and Marie's relationship, then the story shifts to the prince and princess of the Shadowlands and Lunaria (respectively), then back again, etc. I ended up having a detached feeling towards everyone, and ended up not caring when tragedy befell them. And, yes, tragedy will befall them. Unfortunately, the tragic events just ended up feeling rather hollow. There was one really good battle sequence, and one of the more realistic war scenes I've seen in an anime. The fighting was portrayed from the ground-level perspective, which captured the feeling of being in a heated battle quite well. However, that one good moment didn't last, before the tedious plot and anemic characters reared their ugly heads once again. If you want a tear-jerker about war, then watch Grave of the Fireflies instead. Windaria doesn't even come close to what it tries to accomplish. The Verdict: * * (poor)

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