Deep in the heart of Japan’s FUTURE, lies Tokyo. That slicked scape of glass, cavernous structures and blinking lights. Human’s scurrying to and fro on an endless quest of questing. Katsumi Liqueur and her eagle eye spy this as her plane lands from Hawaii and she embarks to spend time with her seriously ill mother. All is not as it seems (and when is it??!) as Katsumi begins to see and experience terrifying apparitions of demon monsters sliming their way out of walls, calling her by name and trying to ….____________ ? (kill her, suck her blood, merge with her….can’t really be sure).
During a back alley skirmish with one of these terrifying creatures, a strong, cyborg armed maiden comes to her rescue in the form of a tomboy misfit and integral cog of the Attacked Mystification Police Force (AMP) named Kiddy. Followed shortly by willow the wisp sea breeze on clouds of meditation infused Kimono’s known as Nami, her partner.
These two are the ground forces tasked with protecting Katsumi from the monsters we now understand are Lucifer Hawk, a race of demons trapped in an alternate dimension by Katsumi Liqueur’s father and mother – both sorcerers dealing with magic. The rest of the film is a battle! A battle to save Katsumi from their evil clutches, and a battle within Katsumi herself to escape her fate of sorceress and magician. A battle to understand Japan’s alchemist mix of magic and Christianity. While the animation is stellar, and the set design great, if not a bit dated, the movie falls apart in terms of dialogue, no mean feat at 54 minutes. It’s not too terribly bad, enough to give the film a B-. The animation which is dense, hand drawn and with that darkly omniscient feel reminiscent of Twilight of the Dark Master, Akira and other early 90’s fare, saves it.
The same can’t be said for the second film, Silent Möbius: The Motion Picture 2. Mind searingly bad in the way that sequels tend to be, this installment, picking up immediately where the last one left off is bafflingly so. Like a low rent television episode of the first movie, the animation is low budget and the dialogue written by a 10 year old. The monsters have lost all cache and reminded me more of an episode of Power Rangers, where people in monster costumes held up their arms and roared. You expect a bit more from something that is ANIMATED and knows no restraints like the laws of physics but it was not to be. Coupled with some ridiculous go-nowhere red hearings (not in the way of Alfred Hitchcock but in the way of Scooby Doo) and you get the point. By minute 49 you are bone-achingly tired of Katsumi’s whining about not wanting to be a sorceress and wanting to go back to America and eat McDonalds and be fat and happy. No she doesn’t say that last part but it would have been an improvement if she had.
We have to keep in mind that this is based on a 26 episode manga series and some of the important bits have perhaps gotten lost along the way. Nevertheless, I would certainly skip the second one and focus on the first, short and sweet feature.