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Animation Features Movies Shorts

Memories (Memorizu, メモリーズ)

1/ Magnetic Rose (Kanojo no Omoide, 彼女の想いで)

2/ Stink Bomb (Saishu Heiki, 最臭兵器)

3/ Cannon Fodder (Taiho no Machi, 大砲の街)

Directors

– 1/ Koji Morimoto, 2/ Tensai Okamura, 3/ Katsuhiro Otomo

– 1995 – Japan – Cert. 12 – 113m

*****

Executive producer Katsuhiro Otomo’s anime anthology adapts three of his dystopian-themed manga stories into animation – plays in the Anime season April / May 2022 at BFI Southbank

The film that made Otomo’s name and the one with which he’s most frequently associated is Akira (1988). It wasn’t his first film, though. Previously, he was one of nine directors who collaborated on the uneven portmanteau Robot Carnival (1987), a compendium of different animated stories based around robots of various types. One of the other directors was Koji Morimoto.

Memories is loosely similar – it only has three stories (and three directors), allowing each of the segments a bit more room. Its three episodes are very different yet perfectly complement each other. Otomo directed the third section Cannon Fodder.

Parts of the roughly two hour Akira drag, while Otomo’s later Steamboy (2004) gets lost within a massive set piece after a near perfect opening first reel or so.… Read the rest

Categories
Animation Features Movies

Akira (アキラ) 4K (IMAX)

Director – Katsuhiro Otomo – 1988 – Japan – Cert. 15 – 124m

*****

Manga artist turned director Katsuhiro Otomo’s cyberpunk classic returns to the big screen in a brand new 4K IMAX print – plays in the BFI Japan 2021 season in December and the Anime season April / May 2022 at BFI Waterloo IMAX #AKIRA4K

When Akira first appeared in the UK at the start of the nineties, Disney was busy reinventing the animated cartoon as a platform for the Broadway musical (Beauty And The Beast, Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise, 1991; The Lion King, Rob Minkoff, Roger Allers, 1994) and there were debates about whether comics (or ‘graphic novels’) could be created for adults as well as kids.

As so often in technology and media, Japan was ahead of the game. Otomo had published his long-running comic book or manga Akira in 1982 and turned it into a feature six years later, challenging widely held Western notions of what animation was. You could make SF in movies (Voyage To The Moon, Georges Méliès, 1902) and you could make serious SF (2001, Stanley Kubrick, 1968), but animation was strictly for kids, at least in the English-speaking mainstream, and that as what Disney did.… Read the rest

Categories
Animation Features Movies

Roujin-Z (老人Z)

Director – Hiroyuki Kitakubo – 1991 – Japan – Cert. 15 – 80m

***1/2

Robot beds deal with the major Japanese social problem of caring for their burgeoning elderly populous – in cinemas

Touted as manga artist / anime director Katsuhiro Otomo’s follow up to the phenomenally successful Akira (Katsuhiro Otomo, 1988), Roujin Z was actually directed by one Hiroyuki Kitakubo. Otomo’s contribution runs to no more than original story credit and machine design. Ostensibly it’s a different type of tale which deals with the major Japanese social problem of caring for their burgeoning elderly populous.

Young, female nurse Haruko is alarmed when suits arrive to remove her aged, barely conscious and incontinent patient Mr.Takazawa from his home. Designated first subject of the government’s new ‘Roujin Z’ (Old Man Z) project – Takazawa is wired by his nerve endings into a computer-driven, mechanised bed designed to meet his every need, from vigorous walking exercise, bathing and urinating to communicating with his peers via TV screens (which also run regular network programmes) and playing Go or Chess with the computer.

Before long, Haruko starts to pick up “help” messages on her terminal sent from the Z-incarcerated Takazawa – and tries to talk back with the help of elderly hospitalized hackers using a photo of Takazawa’s late wife.… Read the rest