Tuesday, December 23, 2008

X - The Movie

X; Animated fantasy thriller, Japan, 1996; D: Rintaro, S: Tomokazu Seki, Ken Narita, Emi Shinohara

The year is 1999. Kamui Shiro has a disturbing dream about the death of his mother, while his sister Kotori has a dream about him and his double. Kamui returns to Tokyo and gets a vision from sorceress Hinoto who warns him that he has to join her in order to save the world because her evil sister Kunoe plans to destroy human kind and rebuild nature. Kamui shows up at Kotori and brother Fume, but they are kidnapped by Kunoe, so he joins Hinoto's group that has 5 members, mostly teenagers, and starts to attack the evil group with his powers. In the rubble of the destroyed city, everyone kills each other, but Kamui manages to kill the evil Fumu.

Anxiously-pessimistic fantasy tragedy "X" was created by drastic reduction and shortening of numerous mangas by Kadokawa Shoten into one feature length anime film, while the direction was taken over by the famous Rintaro, who achieved great success 5 years later with anime "Metropolis". But unlike "Metropolis", "X" is visibly heavily trimmed, though in a remarkably competent way. The story starts with the disturbing dream of the hero Kamui Shiro where his naked mother pulls out a sword out of her womb and falls apart in a bloody way, whereas the violence and tense atmosphere continue even later on in the good vs. evil plot (most of the characters die), yet unlike other anime splatter garbage like "Angel Sanctuary" or "Fist of North Star", there is more poetry in this film. It's wonderful, for instance, the way a bad guy uses his powers to make the rain fall backwards and turn it into a green cloud or when falling rocks get transformed into birds. It's also spectacular when giant star lines cover the whole sky or whole buildings collapse during the battles, but as a whole, this apocalyptic film suffers from lack of charm and is so harsh that it can easily cause numerous viewers to "snap" and dismiss it as junk. There are too many characters and too little time to sum them all up, which is why their characterization remains only an acronym while it's also logical that Kamui asks himself at the end why is all this happening since the story doesn't have that much sense.


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