Saturday, April 5, 2014

[Film Review] Arashi No Yoru Ni / One Stormy Night

Photo Credit: Arashi No Yoru Ni
Specially thanks to: Korean TV drama Master's Sun

"Do you know the love story about the wolf and the goat? Do you know why the goat felt safe and secure even when it was next to the wolf? It's because the goat knew how much the wolf loved the goat, so much so that the goat knew the wolf will never eat it. The wolf will be there to protect the goat"

I recently came to know about a famous Japanese children story named "Arashi no yoru ni" from a korean TV drama series, the "Master's Sun". Feeling deeply touched and intrigued by the story of the wolf and the goat, I did a search on the internet, hoping to get my hands on the books. However, to much surprise, I found the adapted animated film instead.

The Story Plot

Arashi no yoru ni/ On a stormy night is the first in the children's books series authored by Yuichi Kimura and illustrated by Hiroshi Abe. The story revolved around the unusual friendship between Gabu, the wolf and Mei, the goat.

Gabu and Mei have both wandered into a barn on one stormy night, seeking shelter from the storm. In the dark they could not see each other or smell each other due to colds. They started a conversation and discovered that they shared many things in common. Assuming that they are of the same kind, they agreed to meet at the barn for lunch on the next day when the sky cleared up. The words, " one stormy night" will be used as the code to identify each other.

They were shocked upon knowing each other's identity. However, this did not stop them from meeting up. Their friendship grew stronger even though they are born to be natural enemies.

There were a few instances where Gabu was seen battling against its natural instinct as a predator. But loyalty and friendships made him won the battles against hunger.

"If anything happens, call me right away. I'll come to help you right away!" 

Gabu promised to protect Mei whenever it was in danger due to the love it felt for its friend. One day, Gabu saved Mei from a wolf hunt during one of their meet ups, which unfortunately exposed their 'secret' friendship. The goat demanded Mei to make use Gabu to get information about the wolves' hunting plans or to be exiled from the clan. The wolves, on the other hand, also threatened Gabu to make use of Mei and find out the details of the goats' habit or it will not be spared from the death penalty.

The story of the wolf and the goat quickly spread throughout the forest like fire. Almost all the forest animals came over to watch this unusual pair. Among them hid the wolf pack and the goats. While crossing the river, Gabu saved Mei once again. Here, they confessed to each other of their motives behind this meet up.

Convinced that they are unable to betray each other, they jumped into the raging waters to escape. They survived the strong currents and decided to cross over to the other side of a tall snow-capped peak where Mei believed the existence of another green forest. That will be a green paraside where both of them could live in peace and harmony forever.

The extreme cold resulted Mei in falling sick during their climb. Due to the extreme cold, it was impossible for both of them to find any food. Gabu was really hungry and Mei was really feeling really weak. Mei asked Gabu to eat it and cross the mountain in good health. Gabu refused.

"Really, if it is a choice between one of us surviving or both of us dying, I don't care. Either way, we'll never be able to talk to each other again. That's the most painful thing about this."

To Gabu, this was a very difficult and painful choice. It walked out, hoping to look for some grass which Mei could feed on. But instead, Gabu spotted its own wolves pack, who has never gave up in pursuing them, nearing. Determined to protect Mei, Gabu fought the pack but unfortunately was met with avalanche.

Mei awoke to find Gabu missing. The blizzard has subsided and Mei has finally reached the green forest that they were looking for. Mei reunited with Gabu in another cave in this piece of new land. But not as friends as Mei was supposed to be Gabu's dinner. Gabu has lost all its memories after the avalanche.

"Back then, I would have been alright been eaten by Gabu. But now, you're not Gabu any longer. I don't want to be eaten by some wolf! If this is how it is going to end, it would be better if I have never met you on that stormy night!"

It hurts Mei deeply that Gabu no longer remember their friendship. However, Gabu's memory started to came back upon hearing the words "stormy night" from Mei. The story ended with a happy ending where Gabu and Mei finally get to watch amd enjoy the full moon together.

A touching and simple film about friendship between two unlikely beings. A film that would teach the viewers something about the value of loyalty. 

Even there are bounds to be lots of differences, real friends will never condemn each other's actions and habits. Gabu, as a natural carnivore, feed on meat for survival. Although Mei, a herbivore, was unhappy that Gabu has to kill to feed itself, Mei never condemn its friend. It's because Mei understand well that Gabu need meat to survive.

The goat feels safe next to the wolf and the wolf feels peaceful beside the goat. The wolf protects the goat from dangers and the goat will always trust the wolf.

I really recommend all of you to watch this film when have some time. This is a story of pure friendship and trust between two entirely different individuals, who managed to overcome every challenge and keep their promise to stay with each other together. 

This is the story of an unusual friendship that has delighted millions of readers and viewers. However, it's a little pity this is not a story of romance. Or is it? I supposed that Gabu and Mei were both male. Correct me if I am wrong.

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  1. I also came across this anime movie that was mention in the korean drama Master's Sun. In the drama it was mention that while the movie have a happy ending, the book on the other hand had a sad ending. Please let me know if you know what happened at the end in the book version. I'm very curious. Did the wolf end up eating the goat after all? or did he died from starvation?

  2. I interpreted it as a romance myself; some people are romantically attracted to the same gender (such as myself), and there are clear romantic undertones with constant mentions of the moon ("The moon is beautiful, isn't it" has romantic connotations in Japanese literature), how the protagonists feel comfortable around each other, and their body language combined with giggling, which to me at least, very clearly demonstrates chemistry. In the original story, by the way, Mei's gender was ambiguous, and the story was meant to be able to be interpreted in many ways ( I personally prefer the gay romance interpretation though!