Let me start by saying that if I was ever given the chance to visit Iblard, you can bet your bottom dollar that I would take that offer up in a heart beat. To walk around in a world that is such a beautiful combination magic and color would be absolutely amazing.
The reason I bring up my outlandish desire to visit the world of Iblard is because of how it is presented in it’s OVA, Iblard Jikan, which is a thirty minute episode that basically explores the various landscapes of Iblard. The OVA is, essentially, a slideshow of colorful paintings that highlight its various natural and man-made landscapes. Watching a bunch of pretty pictures slowly pass by with minimal people appearances for thirty minutes, sounds like it would get unbelievably boring really quickly, but, if you have a little patience, then I think you’ll find yourself getting lost in the world of Iblard.
Each painting is chock full of detail and color. From the gardens around the small country side cottages, to the trees spouting from the ground, and to the fields and meadows, everything is bursting with bright reds and oranges, vibrant greens and yellows, and everything in between. In some instances, it was almost like a rainbow had emptied the contents of its colorful stomach…though not in a necessarily terrible way.
The style of the paintings themselves really does an excellent job of combining so many different colors in such a way that the settings are really brought to life. The vibrancy of the colors breathe a sense of life and vivacity into each of the settings, only making the images more enjoyable to look at. I, personally, grew to love the texture of the paintings which were sometimes like a cross between chalk and oil, something that I thought was unique and fit the atmosphere of this strange world well. At times, especially when the focus was on the cities, I was often reminded of the Baron’s home from Whisper of the Heart, something that I’m not too surprised about considering this is a Studio Ghibli work and definitely has the feeling of something that would be under their name.
Although the paintings by themselves are truly quite beautiful to look at, what makes them more interesting is the movement that often occurs in them. Although some of the paintings remain static, a great deal of them involve a lot of subtle movement from the gently swaying of the grass to the lethargic clouds and aircraft floating through the sky. As long as the movement isn’t too fast, it actually works quite well in terms of making the paintings more interesting to look at, as well as bringing the landscapes to life. One of the things I was a particular fan of is how great the moving water looked. It was well integrated an didn’t stick out in a terrible way. The way the OVA handled the people that popped up in various landscapes was also something that I think was handled really well. Animated, I think, entirely with CGI, the character stood out a little against the backgrounds, but their movement was smooth and they didn’t detract from the OVA. One of the things that I really liked in regards to the characters is how they would often fade back into being a part of the painting, or be a figure come to life in one of the paintings.
The only other notable aspect of the OVA is it’s music which had a sort of Natsume Yuujinchou feel to it with a heavier reliance on guitar. While in the countryside, the music takes on a slower tempo and a generally slow and calm tone. As we grow closer to the cities, the music takes on a more fun tone, I suppose, and is quicker in tempo. The music here does an excellent of job of lending itself to the atmosphere of the landscapes, and I ended up loving every piece, although I particularly liked the slower countryside tunes.
Throughout the course of the OVA, we are shown what seems like only a glimpse of this world which is an interesting combination of nature, technology, and magic. The paintings really bring the settings to life and do a fantastic job of pulling you in. With a little bit of patience and a willingness to simple go with the flow, I think that you’ll also find yourself wistfully thinking that you wouldn’t mind paying a visit to this world of floating houses, magic cities, and abundant plant life.