Neo Tokyo (1987)

  |  Animation, Adventure, Fantasy

Neo Tokyo (1987) Poster

A trilogy of separate stories. In "Labyrinth labyrinthos", a girl and her cat enter a strange world. In "Running Man", a racer takes on the ultimate opponent. In "Construction Cancellation Order", a man must shut down worker robots.

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Cast & Crew

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Yoshiaki Kawajiri , Rintaro , Katsuhiro Ôtomo


Taku Mayumura (short stories), Rintaro (screenplay), Yoshiaki Kawajiri (screenplay), Katsuhiro Ôtomo (screenplay)

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7 January 2010 | Perception_de_Ambiguity
| One, Two, Three - Enjoyment Guarantee
A 1987 science fiction anthology film written and directed by three big names in the Anime world before they got big. Yoshiaki Kawajiri would go on to make 'Vampire Hunter D: Bloodline' and 'Ninja Scroll', Katsuhiro Ôtomo 'Akira' and Rintaro 'Metropolis'.

Story #1: "Labyrinth-Labyrintos", which starts and ends the film and of which #2 and #3 are sort of a part of, is a whole lot of random stuff that is at least dark, moody and excellently animated. I take it its aim is to simulate the experience of a child walking through this wondrous world, especially in the context of the ending, which has the kid sitting in front of a TV set, supposedly after watching what we just watched, making the film itself part of this world out of a kid's perspective, a film that could be described as exaggerated and excessive. "Labyrinth-Labyrintos" is fun for the time lasting - which isn't too long - it certainly doesn't overstay its welcome.

#2: "The Running Man" made by Yoshiaki Kawajiri - it's the name that I watched 'Neo Tokyo' for - and the segment didn't disappoint. Naturally the plot is thin, but the narrative style is all the more complex. There is close to none backstory about the main character but in my interpretation of the story the racer got so obsessed with racing and his will power got so strong that he developed supernatural powers. The other option would be that he always had supernatural powers and that's how he survived the races successfully for so long, but I much prefer the first scenario. The sheer plasticity on display in a race that seems suspended in time is exciting to look at. Also atmospherically "The Running Man" succeeds, it feels wonderfully cinematic in that it isn't just a succession of sequences without rhythm. The multi-perceptual style and the content accommodate each other well in that the magical occurrences of the story remain just that, magical and unexplainable.

#3: "The Order to Cease Construction" is an interesting reimagining of 'Apocalypse Now'. Especially in the beginning that's what it looks like and at least the atmosphere maintains throughout and the Francis Ford Coppola film hovers like a shadow over the whole segment, even if after the beginning the literal journey for the main character ends, but the fantastically frightening discoveries never end. Although undoubtedly most viewers will think "2001" when a robot fails to comply the orders of the man because it is programmed to finish the project at all costs, and the robot even threatens the man's life to succeed in doing so.

The animation of #1 and #2 are especially impressive for its age but also #3 is full of details in the depicted technology hullaballoo. Superbly rich and satisfying for its short running time of 50 minutes it is recommended viewing for all fans of moody Animes and technology freaks.

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