Centuries into the future, an interstellar salvage crew of four receive an SOS from an abandoned space station. Crewmen Heinz and Miguel depart for a rescue mission and enter a world that time hath forgot: a world filled with the memories of a love-scorned opera diva. In modern day Japan, Nobuo is a bungling chemical researcher who mistook the pills on his boss’ desk for flu medication. These pills turn out to be an experimental, government anti-warfare weapon that has unfortunate consequences when it reacts with Nobuo’s DNA. Finally, in an alternate universe set in Cold War Russia, it’s just another day in the life of an industrial city. What’s strange is that instead of production, this city specializes in destruction.
summary by Kain
Highs: Magnetic Rose and Stink Bomb are edge-of-your-seat quality
Lows: Cannon Fodder is a disappointing conclusion
Memories is an interesting beast, comprised of three, unrelated sub-movies (Magnetic Rose, Stink Bomb and Cannon Fodder):
Magnetic Rose: Had it been a feature-length production, Magnetic Rose would undoubtedly have gone down as one of the more exhilarating and ambitious anime movies…ever. A pure symphonic treat from start to finish, (the icing on the cake being the fact that Kanno Yoko composed the music), Magnetic Rose is a brilliant tribute to Madame Butterfly and 2001: A Space Odyssey; a strange amalgamation but it works nonetheless. The dark, haunting environs and the stunning artwork sent chills up my spine as the story progressed. Indeed, this is the best of the three by far.
Stink Bomb: A hilarious, tongue-in-cheek black comedy that will work for some and not for others, Stink Bomb is more of an acquired taste. Leading up to the sidesplitting conclusion, this is less of a “hah hah” comedy and more of a subdued chortle. The actions of the characters are, simply put, completely ludicrous and cater to a Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb brand of humor (another Stanley Kubrick reference).
Cannon Fodder: Otomo Katsuhiro (Akira, Metropolis, Roujin Z) directs the final installment. My problem with Cannon Fodder is that it’s a shallow attempt at stylistic innovation. About the only thing I found even remotely interesting about it is the use of segue and camera work. Take note that during the entire segment there exists only two or three scene transitions. The camera pans from one moment to the next with a ghostly presence. However, compared to Magnetic Rose and Stink Bomb, there is just too much lacking for me to enjoy.
Highs: Originality is through the roof; Magnetic Rose flirts with perfection
Lows: Stink Bomb lacks expansion; Cannon Fodder‘s short length hinders its development
Memories‘ first chapter, Magnetic Rose, is the greatest short film I have ever seen, and ranks high on my favorite anime list. Running only forty-five minutes (that is even shorter than Blood: The Last Vampire), it can still be compared with the greatest anime productions in every single aspect from animation to storyline. How characters can be developed to such levels in such a short time still eludes me. Morimoto Koji seems to leap out of Otomo’s shadow by displaying brilliant directorial abilities. With a storyline written by Kon Satoshi (director of Perfect Blue) and music composed by Kanno Yoko, this anime has everything needed to succeed.
We then move on to Stink Bomb. Striking originality once again, but this time humor takes the center stage. With a scenario written by Otomo Katsuhiro, the comedic facet is reminiscent of Roujin Z as it mixes mass-destruction with absurdity and a clueless protagonist. The outcome is very entertaining and thankfully ends when things are about to get monotonous. The problem that comes with such a straightforward storyline and fleeting length, however, is that characters are placed on the back burner. Since its predecessor proved it was possible to make everything tidy in forty-five minutes, Stink Bomb has no excuses.
This compilation concludes with what could have been an amazing film about propaganda and war had it been tapped to its true potential. Aside for the length, this twenty-nine minute feature, set in a world worthy of George Orwell, has hardly any technical flaws. Art and animation are inventive, detailed and fit the dark setting perfectly. Alas, Cannon Fodder does not develop on the themes it presents, nor does it bring in proper players to the mind-blowing stage it sets itself. A good introduction to a movie that, sadly, does not exist.
Memories can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.