Munto

MuntoType: OVA
Genre: Fantasy / Drama
Vintage: 2003

Version reviewed: Japanese Subtitled
Date of Review: 30 May 2011

Grade: B

Before Kyoto Animation conquered the world with The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, they offered up material such as this modest fantasy.

Plot Summary
Yumemi has a gift; she is able to see through space and time to a land in the sky. Unknown to her, however, is that this land in the heavens is in trouble. The ruler of this land, Lord Munto, has learned through a prophecy that the Earth girl Yumemi holds the key to saving his dying world. Though the risk is great, Munto descends to Earth to seek Yumemi’s help.

The Review
That may be the primary plot of Munto, but most of the story actually focuses on a subplot, and surprisingly it seems to work.

Yumemi is a junior high school student, so naturally she spends a lot of time with her friends, and it is with this group of friends that the majority of Munto‘s story takes place. It is a dramatic subplot which might make a good story on its own, especially since it seems almost entirely disconnected from the main story. In an ironic twist, however, when the main story elements come into play, they almost seem like a distraction. Despite the somewhat disjointed nature of the two sides of the story, Munto holds together pretty well.

Clocking in at fifty minutes, Munto does not have a lot of time to set a premise and build its characters, but it does a fair job at laying the groundwork. Several of the characters remain one-dimensional, but I’m willing to forgive it since the story does remain cohesive even without their presence. The primary characters each have a role to fill, and they do so adequately to the story’s needs. While none of the main characters are particularly compelling, they aren’t bland either. It’s an average cast of characters, but not in a bad way.

Visually, Munto has all the earmarks of a digital production. The color palette is bold; character designs and backgrounds are cleanly drawn. The soundtrack suits the story, but doesn’t otherwise draw much attention to itself. In all, Munto is well-presented.

The story has several unresolved plotlines, which lends the narrative to a sequel to possibly  explore them, and a sequel was indeed later produced. While Munto may not be a top-tier title, it is a fair entry in the fantasy genre.

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