Saturday, January 19, 2013

ANI-MOVIE, *Neo Tokyo

There's a small percentage of anime movies that are anthologies made up of short stories. Some like Batman: Gotham Knight and The Animatrix are set in the same storyline, while others like Robot Carnival are set to a certain theme. This movie was a trio of sci-fi/fantasy tales done by some of the best anime directors in the biz. Originally titled Manie-Manie(or Labyrinth Tales)in Japan, it was released in America as Neo Tokyo because Katsuhiro Otomo who had created the hit Akira was one of the contributors on it, and the idea was to make people think that this film has some connection to it by naming it after the city Akira takes place in.

The first chapter was directed by Rintaro(Metropolis)in the vein of Alice In Wonderland featuring a young boy and his cat going to scary circus with creepy clowns. This story actually comes around at the end as a bookend to the trilogy. The second part is The Running Man by Yoshiaki Kawajiri(Ninja Scroll)about a race car driver in the future who during his last race suddenly gains psychic powers, and runs across the souls of every racer that died in one of his races. The last one is by Otomo called Construction Cancellation Order, where a large corporation sends one of its office drones to deal with a giant construction project in the South American jungle where the facility is run entirely by robots. He comes to realize that the robots have gone mad, and tries to sabotage their efforts which involves revitalizing the enviroment.

All the stories were based on the works by Japanese sci-fi writer Taku Mayumura, who has mainly dealt in space operas. This movie was first released in America on dubbed VHS by Streamline Pictures, and then later on DVD by ADV Films which kept the original Streamline dub. It's biggest claim to fame in America is that The Running Man segment played on MTV's Liquid Television during the 90s. It's a movie that's been praised more for its artistic value, similar to films like Tekkonkinkreet and Perfect Blue, but its still very entertaining and packed somes of the best visuals in an anime production. Watch it at least to get a little culture into your otaku catalog.

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