By Noah Johnson
A Tree of Palme deserves better than to be forgotten in the western anime sphere of discussion. Internet streaming has broadened the reach of popular shows and allowed previously inaccessible works to be viewable in the U.S. Youtube and message boards like reddit further discussion and critique, potentially bringing new audiences to obscure titles. Yet, it speaks to the vastness of the relatively specific corner of animation that anime represents that a title as intriguing as A Tree of Palme could be so thoroughly left behind by the anime discourse.
Released in theaters in 2001 and on DVD in 2005 by ADV, A Tree of Palme was brutalized by critics. Derek Elley for Variety dismissed the third act of the film as “…totally incomprehensible.” Shamos Roissy for Anime News Network felt the film was, “…lost underneath layers of unneeded plot and obfuscation.” Sean Axmaker for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer referred to it as an, “…odd, awkward animated epic.” Most of the criticism centers around three basic points. The plot and worldbuilding get in the way of character development. The main character Palme is cold, annoying, and unlikable. Lastly, by fundamentally misunderstanding the point of the film as a simple Pinocchio retelling or children’s adventure movie, that it fails to stand out among other anime.