Megazone Part 1 was directed and part created by Noboru Ishiguro. He seems to have shared the director’s chair with recognizable names like Leiji Matsumoto on Space Battleship Yamato and Shoji Kawamori on the Macross movie The Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love?. He was also the director for the long running OVA/TV anime hybrid Legend of The Galactic Heroes, making it safe to say that Noboru Ishiguro has had his hand in some of the greatest works of Sci-Fi anime of the last forty-years. Most recognizable for readers that might remember watching Robotech on TV, is the Super Dimension Fortress Macross lead character designer Haruhiko Mikimoto who takes full charge of Megazone Part 1 (his designs for the character Eve do show up in following parts).
Megazone 23 Part 1, starts by what I consider to be one of the most rapid-fire opening five minutes of an Anime that I have ever seen. Clocking in around almost seven minutes, the oddly credit-less opening involves our rebel-without-a-cause lead Shogo Yahagi speeding away on his Suzuki brand motorcycle from the cops, almost crashing into our other lead Yui Takanaka. Since she is late for work he offers to drive her and then he goes out on a bubbling outing with friends. By this point, the amount of leather jackets, sunglasses, shopping, worshipping the city’s most popular idol Eve, and shots of woman dancing in leotards and thick socks has easily convinced me that Megazone 23 might just be the most eighties anime in existence. This truly is life in Japan during the eighties. But enough of this setting of the mood, what is Megazone 23 all about plot wise?
Anime as a medium goes through the same (or similar, from my viewpoint) creative processes of any other visual entertainment work. At a certain stage in a production, financial backing from producers has to come into play. In 1985, when the rising Japanese home video market thought to conceive of Anime in the OVA format (readers of this site know that this constitutes much of our Anime reviews), the highly successful Megazone 23 was released making way for two sequels, Megazone 23 Part 2 and Megazone 23 Part 3. If you look at these three titles, it is hard to tell that they all came from the same series, with the ever-changing directors, character designs and methods. Keeping this in mind, I thought it fit for us, the writers here at CTBF, to review each unique part of Megazone 23 separately. Each consecutive part will be posted on its own schedule, different from our usual articles. So let the excitement of youth burst forth and ride off into the great beyond!
As my taste in film develops with age, I find myself drifting ever closer to works with a French origin, yet always from a unique source. My knowledge of director Christophe Gans’ efforts like Silent Hill and Brotherhood of The Wolf can be tied back to my years of video games and love for Mark Decascos respectively. Being an animation fan has led me towards the works of Sylvain Chomet like The Illusionist and The Triplets of Belleville. While I was writing this, I found out that director Luc Besson was the writer behind many American films that I enjoy like Taken and The Transporter series. Which constituted my experience with French film before watching tonight’s review of 1995’s La Cité Des Enfants Perdus (The City of Lost Children), I do hope that this will be enough to do this film justice.
The City of Lost Children was directed by both Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who previously joined forces to create Delicatessen back in 1991. Since then, Marc Caro directed Dante 01 and not much else; where Jean-Pierre Jeunet went and took charge of Alien Resurrection, Amélie, and recently MicMacs. They both tend to frequently cast actor Dominque Pinon anytime post Delicatessen.
This is the first anthology I have reviewed in my short life as a reviewer, so meeting with some unfamiliarity was unavoidable. For my first anthology, 1995′s Memories was a bit disappointing, yet not without its achievements.
Memories is co-directed by Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira, Cannon Fodder), Koji Morimoto (Animatrix, Magnetic Rose), and Tensai Okamura (Wolf’s Rain, Stink Bomb). Now you could find this information on the reverse of the DVD box, but my tyrannical editor demands that I draw it attention, just in that off-chance any of these names mean anything to you.
On the loosest of standards, all three stories in Memories are sci-fi related; but that is where all similarities end. Because this is made up of three separate pieces that stand by themselves, I will split the review in separate parts for each clip and will make my conclusion encompassing the work as a whole.
Magnetic Rose is a story about a team of four men: Ivanov the captain, Aoshima, his co-pilot, Heinz, the more mature half of the salvaging duo and Miguel who is the stupider one of the two; their spaceship wandering the universe as they salvage old debris from older ships. The team accidentally stumbles upon a distress signal, If you have ever watched a show set in outer space, then you probably know this has been done so many times that I am not even going to bother taking off mental points. As this salvaging team moves through a dead sea of ships, they find the source of the distress signal, a giant magnetic rose made out of ship parts. When their scout team, that is Heinz and Miguel, begins to explore the innards of the rose they find themselves on a fancy European mansion owned by an Italian opera singer; this is when things start to get creepy. Despite the surroundings being full of lavish displays of wealth and taste, the film does a nice job of slowly pouring a sense of creepiness that builds over time. Slowly ever so slowly all the members of the crew are being led to their deaths in very different manners, personally I couldn’t help but sympathize with the Heinz who not only did not fall for the atmosphere of the rose but also as a loving father and husband gave us a reason to sympathize with him, yet quite possibly met with the worst possible fate imaginable.
After such a long time coming we here have now created a Facebook group. Updates will be given and notifications will be sent when ever we post up a review or we just happen to be going to a local convention in the area.
Hope to see you guys there.
Folk tales are considered a vital part of a region’s cultural heritage and tradition. North America is breaming with such stories: John Henry and his role as a hard working steel driver on nineteenth century train tracks, the Native American story of how the Earth was built atop a turtle’s back, and the one with the most statue-esk representation known as the axe welding Paul Bunyan. Comic book wise, Folk tale/folklore related material usually puts the image of the Fables series into mind. 2002’s Ancient Joe plots its own points when it comes to Cuban folk tales, grabbing my interest and making it my next review.
Ancient Joe was created by C. Scott Morse, known for titles like Spaghetti Western put out by Oni Press, The Barefoot Serpent released from Top Shelf, as well as the hard to find work Soulwind that got him nominated for an Eisner and Ignatz award. He is also credited under various roles for Pixar’s films and shorts as a storyboard and background artist.
Released and serialized by Shueisha, Zombie Power premiered in 1999 within Weekly Shōnen Jump. Created by Tite Kubo (Bleach), Zombie Powder follows the story of Gamma Akutabi and his search for the twelve legendary “Rings of the Dead.” The rings are said to hold immense power, even over death itself. Gamma wants them in order to become immortal but others want them as well; and they will stop at nothing to get their hands on them.
Zombie Powder is your everyday generic shonen manga. Its story is not original; you’ve got your “badass” hero and the young naïve companion on a journey. The journey is to collect X number of legendary items in order to fulfill their wishes. It is similar to a number of titles under Shonen Jump and does not differ from the pack in terms of storytelling or art to a degree. Our main hero Gamma is similar to Vash the Stampede from Trigun or Kenshin Himura from Rurouni Kenshin in that he is serious when he wants to be and seemingly weak the next. There are also archetypes in this manga; from the eye candy of Wolfina, to C.T. Smith the mysterious character you know nothing about. Zombie Powder is filled to the brim with generic components but that does not mean there are no good points to it.
Back in my younger days as an Anime fan; my first Anime Convention was A-Kon 19 taking place the last day of my freshman year of high school. Even though it is considered the U.S.’s oldest Anime convention, nowadays I consider A-Kon to be a multi-media convention instead of an Anime and Manga convention. Taking that aside, A-Kon was originally called Project A-Kon in reference to the 1986 Anime film Project A-Ko. I personally believe that love of eighties’ anime went away with A-Kon’s original intent, with the Dirty-Pair/Makoto Kusanagi mascot designs being the only indicator that it existed. Sadly, the original artist (whose name escapes me), seems to have dropped off as of a year or two ago. But enough of this wallowing for things that were in the past; let’s try to focus on things that are in the present. Coincidently it’s Project A-Ko, so how about we look into what influenced A-Kon’s original staff so much that they name a convention in reference.
Project A-Ko was directed by Katsuhiko Nishijima, director of such fine dreck as Najica Blitz Tactics and Agent Aika. Works that Discotek (the distributor) thought might coerce my buying position. That answer would be no, but in Project A-Ko’s favor I ignored this misstep. Character Designs are by Yuji Moriyama, a character designers on Maison Ikkoku and the Fire Emblem OVA. He also took over directing the various Project A-Ko OVA sequels.