a.k.a. Palme no Ki
Even for a walking and talking puppet, Palme is very special. After the passing of whom could be considered his mother, he was pulled out of his lethargy by a strange nightly visit by a wanted woman. The Egg of Touto had to be brought to Soma, a tree considered by many to be the god of this world. This suits Palme just fine since he wants to ask of Soma what every puppet and tin man dream of: a heart. He will discover much more about his mission and himself as he meets new friends and enemies along the yellow brick road.
summary by Kjeldoran
Highs: Beautifully animated, written and executed
Lows: The ample development is still not quite enough
Though a few of the ideas are similar, this is not quite Pinocchio, anime-style. Many extra themes that accompany this “I want to be a real boy” story seem to be taken straight out of a Miyazaki epic, and dashes of powerful, sometimes horrific, drama set it miles apart the famous wooden marionette tale. It seems every anime Nakamura Takashi (screenwriter and director) has had a hand in is somehow reflected in this little gem. If there was something you liked in Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind, Akira or even Catnapped!, there will be something to enjoy here.
Even though Nakamura has a definite style, the world he designed in this is completely unique. All life forms and terrain are straight from the weirdest dream you’ve ever had. This movie is animated to perfection with touches of well-integrated CGI and plenty of details in the backgrounds. Though it is understandable that not everything could have been given a purpose, some of the designs are just so interesting that you end up disappointed to not have learned of their provenance. Some of the characters suffer from this same problem; while they are far from being undeveloped, you just can’t get enough.
Perhaps instead of the occasional dawdling, more time could have been allocated to extremely interesting characters like Shatta and Popo. These few moments of monotony are the only imperfection found in the plot. As intricate and demanding as it is, this puzzle of an anime has no missing pieces, yet keeps the last ones for the very end.
A Tree of Palme is quite simply a wonderful film in all aspects. There are a few, different levels at which it can be enjoyed, but I strongly recommend being in a mood for deep, human (no spoiler intended) drama, even if the beautiful and original setting can be very distracting.