Spoilers will forget everything.
I don’t think this will become a thing, but I rarely revisit older anime films. Then again it’s not the first time I say that and end up having to eat my words later. I don’t know why I started watching this either but sometimes random viewing makes me discover – or rediscover – a few gems. I think this is not niche, the material is pretty accessible and all three offerings, an anthology of three features based on the manga works from Katsuhiro Otomo who is helming the feature as executive producer and as one of the directors.
Memories (1995) has three features from the science-fiction genre. Magnetic Rose, directed by Kōji Morimoto and produced by Studio 4°C has a classic sci-fi horror feel to it. Stink Bomb, directed by Tensai Okamura and produced by Madhouse is more of a disaster movie and dark comedy satire. Cannon Fodder, directed by Katsuhiro Otomo and produced by Studio 4°C is more of a steampunk take on a depressing future. They’re all based on manga by Katsuhiro Otomo.
Magnetic Rose is the story of the crew of the Corona, a salvage spaceship. Following a distress signal, they run into a derelict ship where the world that surrounded a long deceased Opera singer named Eva seems to recreate itself. I did enjoy this one, albeit the nature of the illusions is never fully explained. A computer is mentioned at some point, but whether or not it’s a machine that believes itself to be the songstress or if we’re talking about a case of a ghost in the machine is left to interpretation. It is enjoyable and I’d rather have the phenomenon open-ended than to end in pure exposition.
Stink Bomb is rather dark comedy about a lab worker called Nobuo Tanaka. After taking a medicine sample, he ends up waking up to find everyone else in town unconscious. As he tries to reach safety, he’s unaware that he’s become a literal walking chemical weapon while the government tries to kill him to prevent him from reaching Tokyo, as well as burying all evidence of involvement. This one is a satire worth watching if just to see the unscrupulous and powerful get their comeuppance at the hands of their own experiment.
Cannon Fodder is rather somber and depressing look into the culture of a city that lives, thrives and breathes war. Everyone seems to be involved into a routine of firing long range cannons at an unidentified enemy force. We follow a little boy as he dreams of once becoming the elite that gets to fire the cannons instead of a pawn like his father, a member of a cannon loader team. This one is the shortest feature, as we only see a day-to-day life in this cannon-oriented metropolis, but other that the father’s team being scolded for dropping ordnance, there’s no particular resolution to the conflict. It’s left open-ended on purpose, probably as a bit of a commentary to countries that rely too much on military strength.
Recommended specially for anime fans of classics. The pacing is slow, so modern anime fans might find it a little dull. Still, it does have a lot of entertainment value, specially of the nostalgic variety. I’d say, probably fans of older anime might enjoy it more. It has no particularly fancy sakuga action scenes and it doesn’t really bring about any heartwarming happy endings, so family audiences should abstain. You might want to keep this one to watch when you’re in the mood for it.
That will do for now.