, ‘Memories’ Blu-Ray Review: Arguably One Of Katsuhiro Otomo’s Finest Works, The Nzuchi News Forbes

‘Memories’ Blu-Ray Review: Arguably One Of Katsuhiro Otomo’s Finest Works

, ‘Memories’ Blu-Ray Review: Arguably One Of Katsuhiro Otomo’s Finest Works, The Nzuchi News Forbes

While many know of Katsuhiro Otomo for his work on Akira, both the manga and anime film, he also has a great many other works under his belt. One of which is the seminal 1995 film compilation Memories.

Otomo has an interesting history of working on anime anthology films, from Robot Carnival to Neo Tokyo and more recently with Short Peace. However, Memories was very much his project in an overall sense and, like his other work, originated in a manga format.

Specifically, the original manga compilation, also called Memories, was something of a formative manga work for me. While the movie wouldn’t adapt the whole manga anthology, it was split across three segments; Magnetic Rose, Stink Bomb and Cannon Fodder.

It was also something I couldn’t wait to see animated. Not least because my favorite story in the manga compilation, that of Magnetic Rose, was getting its own mini-film.

Magnetic Rose was a great science-fiction story based around space-based salvage and debris collectors answering a strange SOS call in a heavily magnetic part of space. The center of which was a giant rose-like structure built out of debris. It turns out that this magnetic rose had more to it than it first appeared and that a famous opera singer was potentially the cause of it all.

The animated adaptation is broadly the same as the manga story and was directed by Koji Morimoto with a script by Satoshi Kon, the latter being a frequent collaborator with Otomo. It also utilized the mecha design talents of the perpetually underrated Takashi Watabe.

However, what made me adore this adaptation of Magnetic Rose to such a degree, apart from its story and wondrous animation, was its musical score by Yoko Kanno. Utilizing parts of Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, it also riffed on the then somewhat new trend of using saxophones with renaissance-esque choruses. The latter being something that had come to the fore in 1994 with Jan Garbarek’s Officium album, which was and still is a very clear influence here.

Following Magnetic Rose was the entirely different and eerily upbeat Stink Bomb, which dealt with a salaryman in a laboratory inadvertently letting loose a devastating biological weapon. All of this was handled in a very dark but humorous way and was probably the most contemporary of the three parts.

Directed by Tensai Okamura, it also had a really great and suitably funky musical score by Jun Miyake.

Finishing up the three segments was Otomo’s own film, Cannon Fodder and while it is arguably the strangest of the three it was also the most important in some ways. With a story built around a city state built for war and bristling with artillery, our viewpoint is of a little boy whose father helps load the cannons.

, ‘Memories’ Blu-Ray Review: Arguably One Of Katsuhiro Otomo’s Finest Works, The Nzuchi News Forbes

The art style for Cannon Fodder is a unique take on the steampunk genre but also laid the groundwork for Otomo’s next major work, Steamboy. This being very much a steampunk science-fiction story set during the British Industrial Revolution.

Much of the CG effects used in Cannon Fodder would also be influential in how Steamboy would be constructed, though not without its well-known budgetary issues and scheduling delays.

For me, much of Otomo’s work outside of Akira has always captured my imagination far more, despite being nowhere near as successful. However, Memories was a fascinating exception to that, as it was a remarkably solid anthology that brought some of Otomo’s other manga to life as well as introduced new stories.

So this Blu-ray release has a lot to live up to, not least because I first saw Memories in the cinema in London back in the 90s. That was an amazing experience for me and it’s safe to say that this Blu-ray remaster manages to recapture that magic.

Handled by Discotek, the visuals and audio on this Blu-ray release are amazing. Better than I ever expected in fact. It also includes a new English dub, if you are into that kind of thing. You also get a bunch of great extras too in this set, from interviews to galleries and an awful lot else.

Put simply, if you are a fan of Otomo’s work in any form, then you need to pick this up. While everyone tends to froth over Akira, for me Memories is one of Otomo’s best works, both as a director but also as a fascinating storyteller. As such, this Blu-ray release captures the movie in a way I never thought possible.

Memories is available from retailers such as Right Stuf Anime for $19.47 and comes highly recommended.

Disclosure: I purchased this Blu-ray with my own money for the purposes of this review.

Follow me on TwitterFacebook and YouTube. I also manage Mecha Damashii and do toy reviews over at hobbylink.tv.

Read my Forbes blog here.

More Stories
How A Travel Accessories Store Weathered The Pandemic And Created A Popular New Product On Indiegogo