30 August 2002 | frankgaipa
Shelter from the Storm
This played Berkeley's now late UC Theater, subtitled and complete, 1980 or so. I can't be sure what's on the current VHS dub, and wouldn't suggest anyone buy or rent a dub of any film, much less encourage such mutilation by purchasing one for myself. But there is another way: Back in '80 or so, Kodansha Anime Comics put out a four-paperback set containing the complete " Hi no tori 2772," that I bought when I had the chance, guessing rightly the film might vanish. This is not another instance of a manga upon which the film was based, though there's probably one of those around too. Instead it's a graphic novel composed apparently of the original animation cels, colors intact, edited to the page, with dialog transferred to standard white balloons and sound effects to free-floating katakana. Far as I can tell, the whole film is there. The first 47 pages, covering the protagonist's test-tube birth, his discovery of his all in one robot/mother/friend/unattainable love, and his rapid, to us, growth from infant to child to boy to young adult, are essentially silent and nearly as magical as I remember them being on the screen. There are plenty more similarly "silent" sequences, so if you know even a few characters and a little syntax it's possible to flip through all four volumes with a reasonable idea of what's going on. With no Japanese at all, you still might do okay.
Random thoughts: The villain is a take on "Popeye's" Bluto. The robot is both sentient and emotioned. The techno mumbo-jumbo that you might not get with no translation is mad-scientist stuff about tapping the earth's core, or maybe it's just volcanoes, for power. A couple of touchpoints for "2772" might be "Le Soufflé au coeur" and "Tadpole." Not to mention "A.I." and (stupid-seeming teeny movie that nonetheless keeps coming up) "Andromedia." Think too about kid protagonist Shinji, virtually, though not truly, motherless, taken in by, living with, raised by, finally kissed ("This is a kiss between adults.") by older Misato in "Neon Genesis Evangelion." What exactly's up with all these mother-not-mother figures? Maybe Dylan had a clue: "...if only I could turn back the clock/to when Gaawwd and her were boorrrrn."