Director: Tensai Okamura, Kouji
Region 2 encoding (Europe, Japan, South Africa and the Middle East
"Memories of Memories" making-of featurette,
Interviews with Katuhiro Otomo, Koji Morimoto, and Tensai Okamura,
Pilot films for Magnetic Rose, Stink Bomb, and Cannon Fodder,
Widescreen anamorphic format
With anime going mainstream like never before with
The Animatrix someone must have thought that it'd
be a good time to
finally bring out this 1995
anthology film in the West on DVD. (Along with
Metropolis it is one of the few anime
titles to be released by a major distributor here in backwater South Africa.) Like The Animatrix, the far inferior Robot
Carnival and the original Heavy Metal,
Memories consists of three short films. Even though the shorts were
meant to be together as a unit they actually have little - even
thematically - in common.
Read the Amazon description and you'll see what I mean: ?Magnetic
Rose, Stink Bomb and Cannon Fodder. In Magnetic Rose, two space travellers
are drawn into an asteroid world created by one woman's memories. In Stink
Bomb, a young lab assistant accidentally transforms himself into a human
biological weapon set on a direct course to Tokyo. Cannon Fodder depicts a
day in the life of a city whose entire purpose is the firing of cannons at
The list of talent involved is impressive: Koji Morimoto (The Animatrix),
Tensai Okamuro (Android Kikaider: The Animation), Katsuhiro
(the upcoming Steamboy, Akira), Satoshi
Kon (Tokyo Godfathers, Millennium Actress, Perfect Blue).
Perhaps the end results don't quite match up with the talent involved, but
Memories is still quite worth seeing for anime buffs and even
relative newbies should investigate. The animation, music, etc. is top
notch. The only problem is that some of the episodes are simply too
serious while features bizarrely misplaced humour.
The "Magnetic Rose"
episode for instance kicks off with Jan Garbarek
saxophone wailings coupled with Gregorian choruses. Things become more
with Puccini extracts and an over-dramatic haunted house in space
story that at least acknowledged its dues to the
Alien movies by actually naming one character Carlo Rambaldi! (Rambaldi
is a special effects wiz that helped bring the original
Alien and E.T. to life.)
The most intriguing segment though is the closer ("Cannon Fodder") that
takes its very interesting visual cues from WWII iconography and 19th
century Prussian militarism. Arty types (you know who you are) shouldn't
miss this one.
THE DISC: No English soundtrack! Subtitles, sure, but no English
soundtrack. Call me a philistine, but I prefer dubbed anime because it
allows one to focus on the animation instead of reading all the time (with
live action movies I however prefer subtitles). Still, one
can read, can't one?
Few extras: a low-res trailer for the CGI-generated
Starship Troopers TV series which makes it
even worse than it already is. Trailers for some other anime efforts such
as Metropolis and the upcoming Steamboy (which looks visually
stunning: it'd be a shame to view this one on a TV screen one day).
Also, one of those talking heads featurettes no-one really ever checks
WORTH IT? Sure.
RECOMMENDATION: Anime buffs would want to add it to their
collections and newbies to the genre should rent it.