The Cyberpunk genre remains to be one of the most sophisticated and highly influential genres in fiction, ranging from subjects such as artificial intelligence, cybernetic limb augmentation, hacking as well as powerful and controlling (but also corrupted) Megacorporations, Cyberpunk fiction manages to explore a part of Science Fiction that really dives into the advancements in technology and how it manages to become integrated into the human society. With the settings being widely dystopian but blended with cultural parts of different societies the genre has exploded through various forms of entertainment. Anime is no big exception from titles such as Akira to Ghost in the Shell to Bubblegum Crisis; Cyberpunk has had a huge influence on the medium. However one series in particular that remains overlooked and sadly not as popular as the former and one that really had a lot of potential in the stories and themes it was conveying, only to sadly end without there being a real conclusion – That would be Cyber City Oedo 808.
When people think of manga writer & artist Masamune Shirow they think of only two things, Ghost in the Shell which has had an overwhelming success and countless re-adaptations over the years, and recently his slippery, slimy (and somewhat unappealing) porno which has become his foundation now for his career. However Shirow has always been an influence on the Cyberpunk Genre in Anime through the 80’s & 90’s, creating some rather decent titles but at the same time managing to showcase a certain level of humour and charm to the stories he tells. One of those stories while sadly not being too memorable falls into the category of Simple entertainment, largely because of it’s short running time but also being able showcase some of the best of what Masamune Shirow does.
The idea of immortality in fiction has many different ways to which they become interesting based on who writes the story. Sometimes a character and live forever and be forced to deal with the hardship of life changing around them, often times their immortality can expose their weakness by a removal of a limb which supports the body, whereas the idea of immortality can have a connection with another person and the fate is tied to them. The difficulties with the ability to live forever is realizing what effect it has on your life, but also everyone else around you and what will happen should this curse not be lifted, the good thing about 3x3 eyes is it manages to look into a concept while it’s very linear and makes a rather exciting but also very enjoyable adventure.
One of the interesting things about visual storytelling is that it can help convey so much with minimal dialogue, it gives the audience something to invest in such as the world we are looking at and what the characters are doing and where they are going. Once you have the mythology laid out and a motivation for the characters to slip into everything falls into place, the art would have a very clever way of telling it's story and really pushing ahead with how to tell that story in a well structured way. Sadly one of the errors with visual storytelling is letting the art do too much of showing us some great visuals and having the story that is written into the final product really fall into the category of just mind-numbingly boring, which sadly can be said for The Weathering Continent.
When it comes to manga artist, screenwriter & film director Katsuhiro Otomo, it’s important to remember that because of Akira it managed to gain a huge impact on western audiences and set the bar high on Anime and Manga. Despite this Otomo’s involvement aside from the few projects in the industry is very small when you see the big impact that got him started, as a designer however he’s managed to leave an impression on works that while not a director it’s clear to see the style he has and how people have managed to use it in other works. Although despite a flawed execution it stands out because of how unique it is, that being Freedom Project.
While it wasn’t a great movie, the original Vampire Hunter D was in itself an enjoyable horror that managed to start off an important part in anime history that would cater to the adult/mature demographic with its dark visuals, brooding characters, haunting atmospheres and limitless amounts of gore and blood just to drive the point home. With technology in animation improving to where new ground can be broken, Vampire Hunter D came back once again in the year 2000 with probably it’s most famous and easily best literation in the series based off this character, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust.
Vampires have always held an important place in pop culture, the idea of a creature preying on helpless victims time and time again for the main goal of the consumption of blood has been adapted time and time again through films, books and other forms of entertainment. In Anime this was the earliest productions aimed for an adult demographic during the evolution of the OVA market in Japan which would begin a golden age of Anime that would go down in history for its violence, style which would fall into the increased budget for the production but fall somewhere in its story not adding to anything that would hit much impact, one of those is Vampire Hunter D.
Samurai films otherwise known as “Chanbara” which is a sub-category for Jidaigeki remain an important part of Japanese Cinema; period dramas set during the era of Feudal Japan would focus heavily on the development of wandering a ronin as they try to alter the course of their own lives and those around them. This movie, being one of Yoshiaki Kawajiri’s most well-known films not only details in the epitome of over the top violence and gratuitous nudity of this type of Anime from the 90’s, but it captured the harsh and threatening lifestyle of Feudal Japan with the end result being a rather influential movie.
During the early 2000’s I remember seeing many previews for this movie both in English and in Japanese, they hyped this movie up as being “the most spectacular anime in motion picture history” and even so much as receiving praise from film director James Cameron. While it’s hard to take the hyperbole behind this movie seriously it’s certainly a movie that while it’s been overlooked in recent years and one that deserves more notice not just for its story but what could be its “Ground-breaking” achievement in animation and design that show how gigantic this movie is in different perspectives.
This is a series that as it appears is a cross between the gritty and neon atmospheric tones of Blade Runner but manages include a supernatural element to it to have one genre balancing over the other, interestingly it works rather well. Silent Mobius is based off a 12 volume manga by Kia Asamiya (Martian Successor Nadesico, Kamen Rider Fourze, Detonator Orgun & Hades Project Zeorymer) which centres around a dedicated group of all-female police officers with protecting Tokyo from an invasion of extra-dimensional creatures called Lucifer Hawks. The series itself has not only these 2 films but a standalone TV series that followed from there, however the movies themselves are something to hold in high regard in terms of its budget and how well held together the story is.