Anime Review: Memories (1995)

Anime Review: Memories (1995)

Memories is a collection of three anime shorts: "Magnetic Rose" directed by Koji Morimoto, "Stink Bomb" by Tensai Okamura and "Cannon Fodder" by Katsuhiro Otomo.

"Magnetic Rose" is about two space crew who are sent to investigate a distress signal from derelict space station. Unknown to them, this station used to be an opera house of a famous but faded opera diva. While most of the station is collapsing, many parts of the opera house are actually still intact, and the interior designs are amazingly detailed. It's like discovering a lost world among a heap of debris. The signal was actually sent by the artificial intelligence of the singer, seemingly lonely and wants companionship. She ensnares the two men using holograms, creating fantasies of their desires.

This is the strongest piece among among the three. The plot is mysterious and haunting, always seeking to surprise. Opera music is blended beautifully with the animation giving a grand atmosphere while we know that something is going to go wrong, and eventually does.

"Stink Bomb" is a comical story of what can go wrong with really bad body odor. A young lab assistant Nobuo Tanaka mistakenly took some experimental medicine and turns himself into a human stink bomb, a biological weapon capable killing everyone within his vicinity. The medicine part of a top secret research. To make matters worse, an official tells Tanaka to deliver the research to him in Tokyo, not realising that he's going to wipe out every living thing along the way. The government then sends out the military to stop him, but to no avail.

I find this animation quite funny with the dark humour. The plot is really simple, which by Japanese anime standards it means really weak and unoriginal. It's still quite entertaining and the use of quirky Jazz music adds to the wackiness of the situation.

Katsuhiro Otomo's "Cannon Fodder" looks at the life of a child and his father at work in a city that's has cannons fitted to houses. Everyday, the city fires a huge cannon away, supposedly at the enemy we never see. This is a grim depiction of war, the monotonous life lead by people who's only purpose in life is that of the military's. Gosh, life really doesn't have any meaning in that place.

The animation uses a lot of long panning shorts which is quite unique. Fans familiar with Otomo's work will find the style unfamiliar. There are lots of pencil hatching and sketch marks which probably would look better on paper, or in need to be processed by the clean up department. The character designs look unappealing and is definitely a depart from usual Japanese characters.

Memories is bound to evoke mixed feelings with the three wildly different stories. It's like tasting an exquisite cuisine for the first time. Overall, it's recommended for anime enthusiasts.

4 out of 5 stars.

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Country-specific Amazon links for Memories DVD:
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