Sadly, I’m running a bit short of time the fall evening, so I’ll have to make this one brief. However, I do not come empty-handed. Tonight I’ve managed to round up for you the part 1 and part 2 OVAs for the English subbed release of Battle Angel Alita, apparently released in the US as ‘Gunnm‘ (which was news to me, actually).
Heh. This may be some sort of twisted personal best, but I’ve just discovered that a Google search for ‘Dystopian Anime’ now returns this column on both pages 1 & 2 ( who knows, maybe others too, I got bored).
Leaving aside what that actually might imply about my posting, in honor of this achievement we’ll take a little departure this evening into the just purely off-kilter, as opposed to the slightly more linear and focused oddities that my coverage usually entails.
I recall some years ago, during the midst of my redbull-fueled Netflix addiction, one evening the nascent BoL Consortium was debating the wisdom of watching a movie. Alas, the only thing we had at our disposal was an as-yet-unheard-of by any of us anime by the name of Gantz. Within the first few minutes, there were several yelps from the back of the room in addition to some notable cringing. As Cash Money put it to me recently, “It starts bizarre and crass. And ends bizarre, crass, and unexplained.”
While his description is utterly on the mark (and I’ve had more than a few cringe-worthy moments myself with this series), nevertheless there are probably a few guilty moments of that internal monologue we’ve all had at one point or another. In a sense I appreciate the attempt to make the characters sympathetic by being unlikeable. It’s a tactic that has served a number of authors well (I’m looking at you Chuck Palahniuk!), and sort of a staple of the modern sense of absurdism. It’s interesting to see it translated to the anime form. [Read more →]
Below you’re likely to find a 5min preview of Kim Moon-saeng‘s masterpiece Wonderful Days (released dubbed in the US as Sky Blue), one of the most top-notch and best produced examples of Dystopian anime I’ve come across in ages (Thanks Matt!). Sadly, the original Korean subbed version, in all it’s stunning feature length goodness, appears to be only hosted by Veoh; who want you to download their particular player. Stuff like that always makes me more than a little squirrely.
This is one of those exceedingly rare times that I’m going to tell you its worth it.
Ok, ok. You may have already seen this one as it was fairly widely released in the US. But that doesn’t detract from its loveliness. What does detract from its loveliness is the fact that it somehow ended up as a PS2 game. I’m still scratching my head over that one; done properly it could have turned out to be a tour-de-force, but ended up being a bit of a rote shooter. Nevertheless, the storyline (once it gets going) is a dystopian dream. Not, of course, the bits with all the shooting but rather the character development over the course of the series, which is on par with many of the longer running anime out there. Mafia controlled mega-corporations, human enhancement, gutter-punks rising to riches, all abound in Gungrave.
We’ll bring it back a little tonight, to some of the more traditional themes cyberpunk was designed to address. Dystopia as an exploration of consciousness, being-ness, and the development of transhumanism. Nakamura‘s Serial Experiments Lain. The consequences of living in a post-human society; one in which we have moved beyond the constraints imposed upon by biology. In a cute Japanese anime form no less!