As I noted in my review for Steamboy, Katsuhiro Otomo has played an incredibly important role in the development of Japanese Anime. While he may only have directed two films (with a third, Orbital Era, in the works), he has been involved in dozens of films, providing scripts, storyboards, character designs, production help and who knows what else.
One of his main projects has been a series of anthology films, based on his Manga stories, with some of the segments directed by promising young talents. So far he has made three: Neo Tokyo; the most recent, Short Peace; and this one, Memories.
As I noted elsewhere, there haven’t been any good haunted spaceship movies despite a few interesting failures. The only exception I’ve found is the first of these three stories, Magnetic Rose.
A salvage ship on its way home after a long tour responds to a distress signal only to find some sort of magnetic anomaly which pulls them into the field of debris surrounding a long abandoned ship. It was owned by a famous diva, and her presence is still in the ship, even if they can’t find her.
And she doesn’t want them to leave.
The second, Stink Bomb, is a black comedy about an inept worker at a research facility who inadvertently triggers a biological disaster which rapidly spirals out of control — sending its put-upon hero through an increasingly outrageous (and extremely funny) adventures before it finally arrives at a surprising black ending.
Finally, Otomo directs his own offering, Cannon Fodder, a stunning visit to a city literally filled with giant cannons, which has organized itself around an endless war. While it might best be described as a slice of life story, with little plot, it is by far the best of the three excellent shorts, with a unique and very cartoony style and a pitch black view of the world.
This is, in fact, a very dark movie, and all three films come to rather dark ends (with the end of Cannon Fodder more hinted than shown). However, it is also a stunningly beautiful and massively entertaining film, with lots of detail, a distinct look for each film, and lots and lots of talent on display.
So if you love animation you need to see this film. If you love science fiction and wish you could find more intelligent SF films, then you need to see this film. If you’ve never explored Anime, or still think that animated film is just for kids, then you need to see this film.
Let’s face it, you need to see this film.
This is a one of a kind effort from the man once described as the god of Anime. It is one of the best anime films ever made. One of the episodes even had its script co-written by the great Anime auteur Satoshi Kon.
And what’s even better, Katsuhiro Otomo wrote the stories and directed one of the shorts.
Or, to put it more bluntly:
You need to see this film.