Memories | The must-sees of animation

Do you adore the atmosphere and the stories of the souls of the Rising Sun, but want something different? No problem, here is Memories! A trilogy of short films to see and review

ORIGINAL TITLE: Memorandum. KIND: Animation. NATION: Japan. DIRECTOR: Koji Morimoto, Tensai Okamura e Katsuhiro Ōtomo. time: 113 minutes. DISTRIBUTOR IN ITALIAN: Sony Pictures. EXIT: 1995.

The name of Katsuhiro Ōtomo immediately reconnects to his masterpiece Akira, also mentioned in Ready Player One, but it is not possible to limit mentioning it without mentioning the others manga unmissable like Fireball, Domu – Children’s dreams O ZeD e feature films animated like Metropolis, screenplay, e Steamboy, signed entirely by him.

Freely inspired by his homonymous work, and now almost impossible to find, created at the turn of the seventies and eighties here we are faced with three authentic masterpieces that bear the name of Magnetic Rose (Kanojo no omoide), Stink Bomb (Saishū heiki) e Cannon Fodder (Taihō no machi).

Of the episodes for which the good Ōtomo made use of Really important and absolutely noteworthy “collaborations”, as we will see later, for their realization. But we’ve said more than enough, it’s time to let the masters do the talking!

Magnetic Rose | The must-sees of animation

In a future not that far, man has found refuge among the stars and the sidereal spaces, but also there, as years later this film will prove to us Wall – E, there will always be garbage and waste to think about.

We travel far and wide across the cosmos, this is true, but it should not be forgotten that they can anyway remain in orbit wrecks of old spaceships. Precisely for this reason the spacecraft Corona, with its crew of “space garbage collectors”Is on a mission in order to clean up space and make some money.

Turn that turns you, in the end even this mission seems to have been completed if it were not that, at the very last minute, a distress signal is received from an area called Sargasso or, more commonly, the Cemetery of the Ships. And the great thing is that it does this by broadcasting the notes of Madama Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini, very disturbing!

In any case, as the regulation and its severe consequences in case of negligence impose, the signal cannot be ignored and therefore immediately moves towards a gigantic wreck. Huge, menacing, rusty and full of debris that all gravitate around it, but you have to figure out who sent that signal.

The “scavengers” are therefore sent to unravel the mystery Heinz, a dutiful man with his ghosts, e Miguel, much more carefree and womanizer, to investigate. But things for the two will soon reveal themselves much more complicated and frightening than they could ever imagine.

In fact aboard the ship, in which many scenes will remind you of sagas like that of Alien, they discover that that is the last home of a famous opera singer of the past. Although it seems that there is not a soul on board, moments of dark rust, glories of a glorious time that disintegrate in the hands and ghosts of the past which intertwine with the present and with the memories of the singer (widow and fallen from grace).

All while, for the corridors now dark and empty and now sparkling and in the style of the opera house, the notes of operatic music echo and the tension grows. Will the men of the Crown be able to shed light on the lugubrious arcane?

Memories |  The must-sees of animation

Stink Bomb | The must-sees of animation

Per “Rebalance” the climate a little, the second short film assumes instead of much more comical colors although it certainly does not lack that slightly macabre background and, obviously, critical of power in general.

Based on a true news case, namely that of Gloria Ramirez, the story sees as the protagonist an unfortunate chemist named Nobuo Tanaka. We are in a period of influences and he too goes to make the vaccine, don’t you find how it is particularly suitable for this historical moment ?, but decides to go anyway at work in the pharmaceutical company since he has no one to look after him.

Unfortunately, his cold continues to bother him and therefore, under the advice of a colleague, he decides to take a newly developed pill from an experimental bottle. Unfortunately, the unexpected is around the corner and we discover that it has took the wrong pill causing a real ruckus!

After taking a nap, our unfortunate protagonist notices that all the employees of the company lie mysteriously unconscious only to discover that it’s his fault. In fact, the mix of drugs he took turned him into something of a bacteriological weapon able to unleash a stench that makes anyone around him swoon (do you remember one of the customers of The Enchanted City?).

The even more curious thing is that, in addition to not feel any stink, our Nobuo is able to leave behind a real “trail” of flowers including those of the iconic cherry tree. A detail that is never missing in any anime, especially in those with a school background!

So ended up in the middle of a secret project between the Japanese and American government and army, things are never easy, so a crazy chase will start at the rhythm of free jazz while gas and flowers make all citizens in its vicinity swoon. How will this situation, bordering on the absurd, end?

Memories |  The must-sees of animation

Cannon Fodder | The must-sees of animation

The third and last short film stands out from the others especially for his drawing and animation style. The traits are between pastel and realistic and describe a reality that is exactly in the balance to what is described by a monumental classic such as Metropolis and a new gem like Jojo Rabbit.

Between fumes and vapors therefore our story unfolds in a typically steampunk setting. In an unidentified country, even if from some helmets and writings it looks like the Germany of the Second World War, stands a city full of cannons on each building.

The artillery pieces in question, almost like the bells that ring noon, they shoot every day at an invisible enemy while people try to live as they can by trying to do whatever it takes for the glory of the cause and their leader.

Leader who, in the paintings, seems to be the classic fearless leader, but who in reality is a guy with a big beer belly. His movements are then unnecessarily pompous and authoritarian and are well matched to soundtrack which remembers, in fact, the military and propaganda marches typical of authoritarian regimes.

In any case, the day proposed here is divided into sections dedicated to child listless, he does not want to go to school where they only teach how to shoot cannon fire dad, one of the ammunition workers, and to yours mother, worker in an ammunition factory.

Every single minute of their lives is devoted to this lawsuit against one elusive enemy that no one has ever seen, then there is no shortage of media “bombings”. A truly surreal situation, but comical at the same time as already seen in the sarcastic war short film, obviously by Disney, The Fuehrer’s Face.

So how will the day end? Will you ever be able to take off your helmet? Who is really the enemy you are fighting so desperately against? Really great questions that lead to one reflection on issues such as authoritarianism, war, conformity and so on.

Memories |  The must-sees of animation

The signatures behind the stories

If there is one thing that’s good Ōtomo he knew how to do for these three animated shorts, it was the surrounding himself by brilliant minds that gave life to the craziest ideas. In Magnetic Rose in fact we see a script written by Katsuhiro Ōtomo and by the late Satoshi Kon (who we can remember for masterpieces such as Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress and Paprika among others) while the direction is entrusted to Kōji Morimoto who had also collaborated on Akira, Animatrix and several video clips of the Japanese music scene.

In Stink Bombinstead, it is the scriptwriter’s fantasy Tensai Okamura to be the master. Within these few minutes, Okamura pours all his experience accumulated over years of honorable service that have seen his signature along with authentic animation musts such as Neon Genesis Evangelion, Cowboy Bebop, Full Metal Panic !, Wolf’s Rain, Ghost in the Shell, Soul Eater, Sword Art Online, My Neighbor Totoro, Naruto and many more.

Finally, in Cannon Fodder, is Ōtomo the same who, almost on tiptoe, reserves the grand finale of this series of short films with its technicalities and its fierce criticism. A cannon shot this, as opposed to the thousands fired per day, which really hits the target.

Memories |  The must-sees of animation

In conclusion

In conclusion, how powerful is the power of memory and of the situations present within Memories? Taking into account that this is a film from the nineties it has aged extraordinarily well both in the animation techniques and in the messages. Gods messages powerful, satirical, absurd, completely crazy, but always and in any case very topical that make these three short films even more unmissable!

Sure, the manga version is on the verge of unobtainable and online costs a blunder, I myself had a shameless luck to find a copy at a good price at an edition of Lucca Comics & Games, but it must be recovered in some way if you have the opportunity.

For what concern DVD, on the other hand, it can be found quite easily like all the news on the great classics of cinema, on the TV series of the moment and on the masterpieces of animation here on!