Anime of the Week: Memories
April 20, 2012 1 Comment
A mystery revolving around space junk collectors embarking on an abandoned shuttle, a dark comedy about an unusual stink bomb, and a society built around cannons. Memories shares three different and interesting short stories based on the stories by Katsuhiro Otomo, with its audience. Memories is a nice mix of quirkiness, comedy and drama pressed into a single movie.
What it’s about: The first short story, Magnetic Rose, revolves around space junk collectors who arrive at an abandoned space station and discover a chilling secret about the place. The second story, Stink Bomb, tells the tale of a lowly salary man who causes a dangerous virus to break out into the world. The third tale, Cannon Fodder, invites you into a world based solely on cannons and introduces you into the structure of the odd workings of this unique world.
What it sounds like: If you’ve ever read a short story book, it’d be that sort of experience. Some movies similar to this structure are Genius Party and the short series, Aki Kuri, of different short stories created by different directors.
Why you should watch it: Memories has something new to offer with each of its stories. Magnetic Rose was directed by Koji Morimoto who worked on various works including Genius Party and the Animatrix. He was the assistant animation director of Akira, and his work certainly shows in Magnetic Rose which sparks of well-detailed backgrounds and character design. Magnetic Rose isn’t the straight-forward or mundane sci-fi story you might expect given the basic premise, but it has much more to show to its audience than anyone might suspect. As some of the characters may appear bland and stagnant at first glance, there is some development given to those the story centers around.
As for Stink Bomb, the whole plot of the story is one big oddball that quickly drives interest in its viewers. As it begins with an ordinary salaryman living an ordinary life, things take a turn for the worst as he accidentally causes a catastrophe to unfold. There’s an insane amount of chaos and excitement as the story progresses. Unrealistic, sure. Entertaining as hell, definitely. This short was directed by Tensai Okamura, director of the recent, Blue Exorcist, and earlier work, second season of Darker than Black. What’s interesting about this short is its ability to create a horrifying scenario while having a light-hearted tone. It’s dark comedy that you haven’t quite seen before. Definitely my favorite of the three shorts.
The last short story, Cannon Fodder, doesn’t necessarily have plot, but that shouldn’t discourage you from watching it. Cannon Fodder has an interesting shaped world of cannons. People live in cannon-shaped houses, and the military fires an enormous cannon at an enemy that they don’t quite reveal to the audience. What’s most strikingly unique about this short is that it’s directed in one long continuous shot. Settings are changed through smooth transitions and the camera angles give a new perspective on the action occurring on screen. Cannon Fodder was directed by Katsuhiro Otomo himself, director of the well recognized movies, Akira and Steamboy. The characters nor the art style don’t appear anything like his other works which just goes to show what kind of cooky and imaginative mind this guy has.
Memories has a nice collection of unusual ideas compiled into a movie. While each short is roughly 40 minutes long, they manage to tell engaging stories that you just don’t see anymore in Hollywood. Check out Memories wherever you can find it. It’s even on amazon for an incredibly cheap price if you have the bucks for it.