A lovely in-depth feature for Dragon Sword and Wind Child on Episode 83 of Anime Today. Aired on December 31, 2008. Spotlight by Marie:
“Way back in middle school and high school, before I had ever even heard of manga, I was a big fan of my local library’s young adult book section. It never ceased to amaze me the sheer variety of settings and characters all grouped together by dint of demographic – much like manga today, come to think of it. One of those books that I checked out time and again was Dragon Sword and Wind Child …
“If you’d asked me when I was younger why I liked Dragon Sword and Wind Child, I’d have cited its combination of all sorts of things – an adventurous quest in a far-off place, a strong heroine, a convincing romantic subplot – and then promptly complained about having to write a book report. While all of those elements are still there (except for the book report – oh wait), rereading the book again I find there’s whole new reasons to applaud my early taste.
“One of the very first things to come up when you mention reading a novel originally written in another language is the quality of the translation. You can get away with some things in manga as, after all, pictures tell most of the story. But in novels, the translation really makes or breaks the book. I am pleased to report that Dragon Sword and Wind Child’s translation, done by Cathy Hirano, is fantastic. If it didn’t explicitly say that it had been translated on the cover I never would have guessed, and I certainly didn’t when I first read it. …
“Also completely lost on me when I was 12 was that Dragon Sword and Wind Child is utterly steeped in Japanese storytelling traditions. It only makes sense considering its origin, but for an American kid – or even an American adult who thinks she’s pretty up on Japanese culture by now – it’s a beautifully exotic tale. The interstitial but epic layout of the story, the opulent imagery conjured, the perfectly organized imperial bureaucracy, the gods the villagers take almost for granted, and the discarding of traditional good versus evil for a complex mix of duty, fate, and love… In the same way Princess Mononoke was a whole new kind of animated movie fantasy, Dragon Sword and Wind Child is a wholly different kind of fantasy novel.”
Read or listen to the full review at:
ANIME TODAY Explores ANIME VICE With Managing Editor Gia Manry
More from individual readers on different websites:
“If I were to choose one thing I liked best about this book, I would probably choose the way that Ogiwara takes a bucket of fantasy tropes (magical swords, Chosen One types, Light and Darkness, etc.) and dumps it upside down. At first glance it seems like a rather cliché story, but read it and you will discover something strikingly original and beautiful. …
“The writing–not just the translator’s writing–is vivid, filled with strong imagery and emotion, and the characters are all very strong and unique. I truly enjoyed this book and hope that the sequels are published, and soon.”
“[T]his book … belongs with the other classics of high fantasy and allegory that have been reprinted thousands of times throughout the years.
“The subtlety of the descriptions and development in this book is pure magic, the best I have ever seen. Everything moves so fluidly –the plot, the scenes, and the characters develop gradually but smoothly and completely– that I can only think that if a beautiful water-color painting could have a written form, this would be it. This book must have been very skillfully translated from its original Japanese, because never in the English language have I found such images before. While this book does entertain as well, and ends, against all odds, happily, it transcends many other books because it does not simply touch the mind or emotions. There is something spiritual about it, something that touches that part of each of us that is truly alive and connected to the life all around us. Not only does it touch it, but it opens our eyes to that connection. That alone makes this book worth reading. I wish there were more books like it.”
From Jess via CBC Kids
“I read the book Dragon Sword and Wind Child and found it to be one the most wonderful and fatasiciful[sic] books I have ever read. I read it over and over and was very sad when I had to return it to the library.
“This book shares the joy of family, love, adventure, and the fine line between the daemon and heavenly realms. It is a book of a girl trying to find her simple past, but finding so much more.”
“I rediscovered the reward of a book without pictures over the last few days … While Dragon Sword and Wind Child didn’t grab my imagination in the beginning, by the middle of the book I was hooked. My sleep pattern was disrupted as I spent precious sleep hours reading instead of getting some needed shut-eye. … I was reluctant to put the book down.
“I thought the contrast between the God and Goddess was very clever … Chihuya[sic] was my favorite character…
“Despite its slow start, Dragon Sword and Wind Child soon told an absorbing tale about love and hope, with imperious gods interfering in the lives of ordinary humans. The story finished with a satisfying conclusion, neatly wrapping up all of the threads that had been woven throughout the chapters.”