Thoughts on Memories

Wednesday, August 25, 2010 6:20 PM By Simon

-Three short anime films based on artist/director Katsuhiro Otomo's three manga short stories. Episode one, Magnetic Rose, follows a 2090-something era deep space salvage freighter, as it gets caught in the magnetic pull of a grandly-decked space station with an inhabitant that won't let them leave. Stink Bomb follows a young lab technician who, in an attempt to cure his flu, takes an experimental pill that causes him to emit a deadly odor, widespread panic ensuing. Cannon Fodder follows a day in the life of a father and son who live in a walled city perpetually at war, every building equipped with variously-sized cannons, always shooting at an enemy city that may or may not exist.

-I think these stories were put in the wrong order. I mean, you either (at least in my opinion) go in decreasing or increasing order of lightness or darkness.

-In order, the best I can describe each story is: a sci-fi, symphonic ghost/horror/love story/tragedy, a dark comedy/farce, and a dystopian quasi-steampunk tale.

-The first one: the best of the three, with actual adherence to space physics. Heartbreaking as the back stories of the two main characters (one of the ship crew, Heintz, and the inhabitant of the station) are revealed, their fates and that of the rest of the ship crew unraveling, a thrilling action/horror drama, and haunting, let's not forget haunting. Definitely the most intense, character-driven of the movie. Beautiful score and animation, especially the exterior shots of the station and ship.

-The second one: I'd call it the weakest episode by process of elimination. Certainly the most entertaining, and some scenes might've fallen into uber-serious, apocalyptic territory if not for the upbeat, (at times) Green Hornet-esque score. Interesting, detailed animation, a bit like Dr. Strangelove. I'd say that it was anti-American, as our representative for the crisis, the guy that requested the Japanese company make the pill that causes the destruction, is a flaming asshole, but then, the Japanese government/military is portrayed as incompetent, like, they try to kill the young man (and, therefore, the smell) by shooting guns of all creeds, bombs, missiles, what have you, and he doesn't get a mark on him. For example.

-The third one: the most visually inventive of the three, as the animation is drawn to resemble a complete long-shot, with no cuts and some amusing segues to different places. Story-wise, it's simple and surreal, with elements of 1984, viciously parodying 'the 20th century war machine', visually dedicated to the anonymous workers, who toil everyday keeping the cannons firing. Score orchestral and avant-garde-y.

-I wonder about nationalities here. Like the main character of Magnetic Rose , Heintz, who might be German (I mean, a space station crew has to be a tad multinational, right?). The Americans in Stink Bomb briefly talk in English, and you can tell, if you're an English speaker (which I assume is everyone reading this, anyway) that it's a couple Japanese voice actors speaking phonetically.

-As I said, animation good all around. I want the score on my iPod.

-Beautiful film, with completely different stories, and hey, no dubbing!


SugaryCynic said...

this sounds really cool but that cover is freaking me out

August 25, 2010 at 9:04 PM
Robert said...

I remember this film so well. Magnetic Rose definitely was my still haunts me to this day! Bomb Fodder was fun, I really liked it. And the last one...loved the animation, I just felt it was missing something.

August 25, 2010 at 9:14 PM
Alex said...

I was thinking about this yesterday when I heard about Satoshi Kon's death (he worked on "Magnetic Rose"- definitely the best one). It really is an interesting anthology, with such a range of art styles and storytelling techniques.

August 25, 2010 at 9:41 PM
Neil Fulwood said...

Definitely need to see this one. What order would you recommend watching the stories in?

August 26, 2010 at 1:20 PM
Simon said...

Sugary: There was a different, less freaky picture, but I liked that one better. Sorry.

Robert: Bomb Fodder was the last one, I think.

Alex: How'd he work on it? Director or animator or something?

Neil: Depends on what your mood is. If you feel like a dissenting scale into depression, I'd go Stink Bomb, Cannon Fodder, Magnetic Rose, the same if you want to end in more serious fare.

August 26, 2010 at 6:14 PM
Alex said...

Kon co-wrote the script for Magnetic Rose.

August 26, 2010 at 7:42 PM