a.k.a. Spirit of Wonder: Miss China’s Ring
On a small European island, a young woman known as Miss China runs a popular bed & breakfast. One of her tenants is Dr. Breckenridge, an inventor who uses his room as his laboratory but can never find money to pay rent. He claims to have created a device that will let people travel to the moon, but no financiers will take him seriously. Can Breckenridge come up with some cash in time before Miss China finally kicks him out?
summary by Kain
Highs: Attractive scenic artwork
Lows: Ill-conceived relationships; overacting seiyuu; unattractive character designs; absence of a meaningful story; synthesizer music even the ’80s would be ashamed of
Spirit of Wonder is, from a nutritional standpoint, the beer of anime; empty calories, no vitamins… but plenty of intoxicants to dull the senses. But not even beer goggles can make this hollow anime attractive. Ironically, the characters in this movie spend half the time drunk and/or drinking, so perhaps the producers were aware of this going in…
Imagine a large, glass bowl filled with strips of paper, on each written a single emotion. You reach into the bowl, and whatever emotion you pull out is the one, and only one, you must convey… forever. This is how I imagined the characters in this anime were assigned their personalities. But one-dimensional characters aren’t as bad as when their respective seiyuu decided to “ham up” their performances. The voices themselves were quality and well-matched, but the people behind those voices just didn’t know when to say, “when.”
The supposed romance between Miss China and Jim is just thrown in the audience’s lap without any explanation or basis in reality. But because of the plot-on-stilts, not even this hackneyed relationship has any true bearing on the events of the story… all of which lead to a very dull, very anticlimactic climax, accompanied by a raucous, synthesized melody that was likely produced on a dying Casio™ keyboard. That and the overacting voices were enough for me to press “mute”.
About the only aspect I was pleased with was the nicely-painted scenery, which reminded me of the European countryside in Kiki’s Delivery Service. But that’s the only comparison this movie has with other quality anime.