If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Our three protagonists have begun to travel their way back into civilization after their (sort of) encounter with the wolf angel and basically nothing else. But during their travels, Hybrid is starting to feel more disoriented and jaded for various reasons, such as the fact that ever since he escaped the Anime Gods and his killer clone, he’s beginning to feel more disoriented, vulnerable and liable to not keep going on these strange journeys because the trauma could endanger his life. Paradox and Tron were not sure of his condition but to them, he looks even more depressed than he was at………well, ever since the Madhouse saga aftermath. He’s lost focus of his future endeavors and he doesn’t even care anymore about his life but he really doesn’t want anybody else to be in the crossfire because of him. Then, they arrived at a local youth hostel and just in time as the Hybrid enter into a deep sleep and were out like a light. They also check into a room…....G-9 in the district of Neo Tokyo.
Once again, I challenge myself go into the world of anime that is seen by only few eyes and little-known existence (well, at least to me knowing that it exists). It is another look at obscure anime, which I think I haven’t done in a while but still, going through stuff I’m sure not everyone has in the stores and only available in the slums of the internet or old VHS tapes that are obsolete.
But enough of the introduction, the first look is the 17-minute short G-9.
The plot follows a woman who awakes in a deserted town with no memories and no clothing. The story continues to show how she regains these memories of which she was and her mission in the town with the help of a voice that speaks directly to her thoughts via her earring. Her name is Agarta, the Devourer of Dragons, and her mission is to destroy the dragons that plague the consciousness of humans in return for her own long past memories.
Now, the animation is done by Toei Animation, who is most known for making anime such as Dragonball & One Piece, two series that one of them, being the former I only watched and the animation is a bit lackluster and it’s not because of the black and white only color scheme. There wasn’t any animation at all and it just feels like they should’ve made this into a manga (either printed or digital) because the production just feels cheap, even for a short. But the art does compliment the dark and eerie surroundings of the environment in the anime. I get that it feels like a painting in motion or like motion webcomics in a way but it’s nothing to be at awe about.
The story of it is average at best but still passable to an extent. I could blab on about the minimal character development of Agarta and the dragons but they only have 17 minutes to cover it and for what it’s worth, it’s actually decent.
FINAL VERDICT: It’s very stiff and flat but it may appeal to other watchers but it’s just not worth watching over and over. It is mostly an artsy fare and I can appreciate that kind of anime but most of the time, it’s a complete bore.
And now we head on to Neo Tokyo.
This particular anime is divided into three separate segments, each under a different screenwriter and film director. The following of those screenwriters/directors being Rintarō, who worked on anime films like Metropolis, X & Captain Harlock; Yoshiaki Kawajiri, known for creating titles such as Wicked City, Ninja Scroll (the movie, not the f***ing TV series) & Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust; and last but not least, Katsuhiro Ōtomo, who we all know for Akira, which is not only one of my favorite anime, but one of my favorite movies.
The first segment is “Labyrinth labyrinthos” by Rintarō about a young girl named Sachi trapped in a game of hide-and-seek with her cat Cicerone and her search leads her to a longcase clock that doubles as an entry to the labyrinth world. It also serves as the ‘top-level’ story or a framing device that leading to the following segments.
The second segment shown is “The Running Man” by Yoshiaki Kawajiri that takes place in a futuristic world where people race to the death (although this have appeared in movies in numerous times) and one of the best is Zack “Grim Reaper” Hughes, remaining undefeated for 10 years but how does he keep winning for so long? He was telekinetic powers to vanquish his competition.
The final segment is “The Order to Stop Construction” or “Construction Suspension Order” by Katsuhiro Ōtomo where a revolution in the fictional country of the Aloana Republic has resulted into having newer government installed but refuses to accept a contract and the company sent down salaryman Tsutomu Sugioka to stop production but as it turns out the work is fully automated and won’t stop to any cause.
If I have to pick one of these shorts to be a favorite of mine, it would have to be “The Running Man”, mainly because I can notice some of Kawajiri’s traits of realistic designs of the characters, the deaths among with the element of agonizing pain and misery. While having the power to stop your opponent can make you one of the most notorious racers ever known, having that isn’t going to last forever. “The Order to Stop Construction” while having an excellent detail of the combination of nature & tech, which all the praise goes to Ōtomo but it’s not what I call the best. The only human character in here just seems like the pushover dork that should’ve known better than to accept something that could get him killed. “Labyrinth labyrinthos” is a very simple story of entering another world as a child and it is a visual marvel but it’s nothing glorious about it.
The animation here is done by……well, damn, MADHOUSE and this is a title made in 1987 and it does retain its vintage looks much like any anime made in the 1980s. It has aged very well throughout the years ahead of its existence. However, on the voices and I rarely go on about voice acting but the Streamline Pictures dub is really lackluster, but consider back then, awful English dubs did exist back then and it really shows how awful it is, it’s not 4Kids awful but Streamline Pictures don’t even try to make it sound good, especially on the dub of Akira (for future references, Yes, I rather prefer the Pioneer/Geneon dub to Akira rather than the Streamline dub. Excuse me while I get my shields and beating stick.) The music is composed of Western classical music: the first of Erik Satie's Gymnopédies and the "Toreador Song" of Georges Bizet's Carmen in "Labyrinth" and "Morning Mood" from Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt score, in an ironic manner, in "The Order" in addition to original music by Mickie Yoshino.
FINAL VERDICT: It’s a fairly well-done anime that has many visual and storytelling contributions from three different directors/screenwriters. Aside from the bad dub, it’s something I would recommend if you want to explore something different than the usual.
So, the final scores are this:
G-9 – 5/10 – An Acquired Taste
Neo Tokyo – 8/10 – Solid B
Later on, Hybrid is starting to have these strange dreams of him following a road that leads into a path of many disturbing images and hidden messages. He is warped out of his mind that he is seeing Neon trying to karate chop some wood and keeps doing the breathing in, breathing out thing like that one guy who did it. Then he sees Lucky beating up an overgrown lizard that vaguely looks like the Lizard off of The Amazing Spider-Man (which I haven’t seen yet) and then slitting his throat and waves back at me for some reason. I’m surprised Lucky didn’t notice I saw a murder happened or threaten to kill me. Then out of the blue, I saw large angel wings in the sky and wonder who that was in the sky. Was it the wolf angel? Alas, it was not, it was an actual angel that has the image of Ani flying around and then she asked me if I was okay or do I need to relax. I told her I was fine and then she give me something and said this could lead me back to do was I was originally doing but without any interference from you-know-who.
Suddenly, I woke up and discover a box lying next to me and it reads:
Hybrid, you need to get your head back into the game. There are many people counting on you to review what comes to your way but we are doing this out of love and admiration and not of demand. I may warn you; this next title is not for the ones who like this kind of anime.
There was no signature on it and when I looked at the box and reveal the image of it, this is what appears in my head……
And until then, I’m MAK2.0 aka HybridMedia, bringing all the stories in one segment.
G-9 – courtesy of TOEI ANIMATION / GENTOSHA COMICS
NEO TOKYO – animation by MADHOUSE & PROJECT TEAM ARGOS, distributed by ADV FILMS / STREAMLINE PICTURES (both out of print)