a.k.a. One Stormy Night
During a night of fierce thunderstorms, a goat named Mei and a wolf named Gabu both seek shelter in an abandoned barn. Neither can see one another, but as they start talking they both find they have a lot in common and become friends before the night is over. When they finally see each other at daylight, they are surprised of each other’s identity but still remain friends. The other goats and wolves, having been enemies for generations, are not so thrilled at Mei’s and Gabu’s friendship.
summary by Taleweaver
Arashi no Yoru ni is one of these rare anime that universally appeals to both kids and adults. Although endowed with the looks and feel of a children’s movie, it’s much deeper than at first glance without losing its charm for youngsters. The same could be said of most Studio Ghibli productions, as well, but this is not a Ghibli movie; it’s an almost classic fable in the tradition of Aesop.
In a world populated by goats and wolves, it would be easy to tell a story in simple terms of good and evil. However, Arashi no Yoru ni refuses to give its viewers an easy explanation like that, and instead shows the conflict between both sides as inevitable for the world they live in. At the same time, the reactions of both wolves and goats to the friendship of Gabu and Mei are a parable to human behavior in times of war. It’s easy to place the entire story in the context of the Cold War, or even in the context of modern conflicts like Israeli/Palestinian. That relationship is where we see the movies appeal to adults. As for children, they will find a charming (and often funny) movie with a likable goat, a likable wolf and all the looks you expect from a production for the big screen. The animation is terrific, and the background art is as good as it gets with many lavish, wide shots of rolling plains and endless forests.
The character art, however, appeals a little too strongly to children only; both wolves and goats are caricatures of themselves with exaggerated expressions and behavior. At times, there’s a definite clash between the realism of the background art and the cartoonish nature of the character art. Though if there’s one thing you can quote as a true drawback of the movie, however, it’s the script’s enthusiasm in delivering its message. While Mei and Gabu’s friendship appears sincere and real in the beginning, it soon turns into an overly zealous version of itself, prepared to survive against even the most impossible odds. Some of their behavior even borders on plain disturbing, especially during the latter parts. Mei and Gabu may be friends, but they make terribly light of breaking up with their former lives for their friendship.
Arashi no Yoru ni is a charming fable for all ages that manages to keep the delicate balance between comedy and drama to remain both entertaining and gripping. Its moral (and all fables need a moral) may be told a little overwhelmingly, and a few scenes may be a little too heroic for some tastes. But in the end, the main message remains, and I can fully support it: friendship may not be able to overturn a society, but it can tear down even the walls between enemies.
Arashi no Yoru ni can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.