The Dam Keeper is a really interesting project. Two Pixar art directors in their down time at work embarked in a sort of “co-op” mission, which resulted in creating a short film called The Dam Keeper, which was eventually picked up by Magnolia Pictures for a distribution deal.
Now, Daisuke “Dice” Tsutsumi and Robert Kondo are continuing the saga of Pig and Fox, but setting it five years later, continuing with the themes of fog and the windmill. However, this time there is talk of adapting the series of books (and there will be at least one more in the series), into both another short film or perhaps a tv series or maybe even one and the other!
For starters, this book about Sunrise Valley is beautiful. The feel of the book itself is incredible and the animations are stunning and full of wordless sections. This sort of format will appeal to younger as well as more seasoned readers, and can also be easily translated, as the dialogue sections are few and far between. The sense of shading and light and dark contrast is wonderful and there is a real sense of foreboding in the novel (though it helps to have seen the short, a reader can easily adapt). However, what stops The Dam Keeper from being a clear recommendation is that this is clearly a part one of the story. Though the series may resolve itself in a positive way, the reader barely gets a chance to revisit this world before it is over. Furthermore, something feels lost in the transition. Maybe it is the music, perhaps it is Lars Mikkelsen’s narration, but The Dam Keeper felt a little too breezy. Again, once the project coalesces, perhaps the sense of incompleteness won’t be so present and this story can continue in earnest.
The Dam Keeper was provided by Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review. It may be purchased from your friendly independent bookseller or other fine bookstores.