Fuck it, /animu/ was the wrong place to post this writeup (doesn't help that I likely posted it in the wrong thread) so I'll repost it here on the offchance someone is interested in this movie or somehow saw it before its rediscovery.
Zenon: Boundless Love
Here's one you likely haven't heard of: a 1999 children's movie that may or may not have been considered lost media until it turned up in a Polish church's archives.
So why would a Catholic parish have an obscure anime movie laying around? You see, this was the home parish of one Wladyslaw Zebrowski, better known to his beloved Japan as Zenon Zebrowski. In the early 1930s he and a few other monks established a Franciscan monastery in Nagasaki and quickly bonded with the locals. You can probably guess what happens from there: he survives the nuking of Nagasaki, thrusts himself into caring for the survivors, builds an orphanage, possibly meets Emperor Hirohito several times, then becomes a fixture in Japanese disaster relief and charity for several decades following this. I really can't do his long life justice, especially after only knowing about him for a few hours. For example, I am only just discovering as I write this that the leader of this missionary trip to Japan, Maximilian Kolbe, is not only considered a saint within Roman Catholicism, but is also responsible for Zenon's surviving the nuking of Nagasaki in the first place. St. Maximilian Kolbe apparently refused to build the monastery within Nagasaki, declaring the city would be soon destroyed by a ball of fire, and had the monks build it on a mountain slope facing away from the city where it was ultimately shielded from the blast.
So how is the movie? As a children's movie, it's decent. There's some nice music by Toshiyuki Watanabe and its animation and backgrounds are decent enough, but it's very limited by its target audience and short length, and these hurt it in a couple areas. For example, it doesn't quite capture the scale of what Brother Zenon did, greatly compresses the timeline, and almost gives the impression that Brother Zenon achieved all this through a mixture of divine providence (which he definitely benefited from) and befuddling and exasperating everyone around him as a sort of holy fool, which really isn't the impression I get from other English-language articles on his life.
However, to be fair to the production crew, how do you portray a man so near to sainthood through animation? There is an extensive tradition of how to do so in writing and still images, but you try to place him in an anime and he gains a sort of unreality (or super-reality?) that makes him stand out from everyone around him. An ideal portrayal would also have this quality, and it is to the team's credit that something of this shines through even if they didn't quite understand him.
Would I recommend Zeno: Kagirinaki Ai ni? If what I've described interests you and you don't mind it being a children's movie, then, sure. It's only a little over an hour long and-
Actually, it's getting late and I don't know what else to write about the movie itself right now, so I'll jump back to the opening subject for now.