You know, I did not plan on having this film so early in the year for this Progressive Plot series. I wanted to slowly get into more and more obscure odd stuff, but life didn’t work out that way. Still it’s not a bad thing because I liked the film overall.
Hello everybody this is AniMo on Animated Monologues! Today I continue my journey into the world of queer anime with this years first shounen ai anime, Kaze to Ki no Uta Sanctus: Sei Naru Kana, which is known in English as The Poem of Wind and Trees. I wasn’t sure how I should go about talking about this film as I started taking notes during my viewing. Very quickly though, I realized what likely is the most standout factor for anyone that watches this film, the two main characters.
The central character is Serge Batouille, who attends the Laconblade Academy, a private Christian school for boys. He’s notable to the story because his father was an alumni of the school, and a few of the staff members know the legacy it carries. More importantly to the story is Serge’s roommate that he is given, a boy named Gilbert Cocteau. I say this because Gilbert is a fascinating character to watch, and I mean that in a positive manner today. The story follows some of the life of these two in their school life. In a similar manner to Sakura Trick, there isn’t much in terms of overall plot. In a different manner to Sakura Trick, there is a lot of intense drama that fills that gap, which comes in the movements and actions of characters.
As we first meet Gilbert, he seems to come off as a typical mean roommate, but as the film continues this actually grows. He is nasty and ruthless to Serge throughout almost the whole runtime of the film, which is weird because of how Serge responds (we’ll get to him later). Throughout the rest of the school Gil has a terrible reputation, since being gay is against school morals and therefore Gil’s actions rub people the wrong way (pun intended).
Instead of translating to the rest of school being uncomfortable around him, it makes the school feverishly hate him. It’s definitely a give and take, since Gil seems to get off to his shitty reputation, and the fact that everyone treats him like shit in the same way he does with them. However, there are a few instances that felt like Gil also wants to be accepted or at least not get constantly shat on by everyone. Sometimes it’s just a small visual cue or a shot that lingers on a somber/saddened face of Gil, but there are enough of them in the film to make it noticeable. I think what makes Gil fascinating is this contrast he has, because he’ll go to such great lengths to be a shithead, but he seems to not have the best capabilities of dealing with his consequences. We likely wouldn’t get to see this if it wasn’t or the other important character, Serge.
Here’s the thing about Serge, he is a bit too nice. Upon first meeting Gilbert, he’s kind and gentle, only to be pushed back. Still, Serge seems to stubbornly try and make friends with his roommate despite overwhelming evidence that Gil doesn’t want to associate with him. Serge made friends in the school pretty easily, yet still ends up fixated on trying to be friends with Gil, or to make others friends with Gil. In a similar situation, this almost always backfires on them because Gil still has a terrible reputation. Serge’s stubbornness in the situation is where we see his character perform so well. Unfortunately, it isn’t fully rounded in the film because there seems to be no motivation for Serge to want to do this so much. There aren’t implications of romantic feelings, or any special friend feelings that feel like they justify how insistent Serge seems to be over Gil in general. Aside from this aspect, I think Serge is a fine character otherwise.
A lot of the film hinges on seeing their interactions, or at least how it also effects other people. A lot of the writing is based on building up and executing various interactions Gil and Serge have with either each other, or other characters. In a broad overview, they are pretty well done. They build up the moments, give them all the context we need, and then let the drama run wild. Please trust me on this one, because explaining any further goes into deep spoiler territory and I want to avoid that. What I can tell you is that they have a great visual way of dealing with dramatic events.
The animation in general has an older art style that I love, and it has a bit of a softer color palette in many general scenes. Some of the more dramatic scenes use different kinds of imagery and movement as well. For example, the picture above is taken from a scene where Gil finds out some bad news and is distraught. The scene is powerful because of how it visualizes it, specifically with twisting backgrounds that keep getting darker. The music is a fast paced piano track that comes together with the visuals to beautifully portray Gil’s downward spiral in a momentary depression. Each dramatic scene takes this kind of effort to emphasize the situation, which very much helps the film.
The big draw of this film to me is watching the character interactions, and it is so interesting to watch these two characters do their thing. If Gilbert wasn’t such a shithead, he’d probably become a favorite character of mine. A few times, the film narrates and displays a poem that the film was named after. It comes around the beginning and end to give a broader context to the relationship Serge and Gilbert have. It has a really melodic feel, these segments do, because the poem is Serge reminiscing on the times he spent with Gilbert in the school (this is a future Serge narrating this). I love the animation style, and would love to see more animation styles that utilized this kind of design. The film overall is good, and a great start to hopefully finding more older obscure anime to talk about.
This has been Animated Monologues, analyzing animation in every post. Thanks for reading and have an animated day!