Created by celebrated animé master Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira, Roujin Z), MEMORIES consists of three dazzling stories, each delivered with its own astonishing style. Magnetic Rose, directed by Koji Morimoto (Animatrix) based on a manga short by Otomo, concerns two space travellers following a distress signal drawn into a magnificent world created by one woman's memories. In director Tensai Okamura's (Wolf's Rain) 'stink Bomb, a young chemist accidentally transforms himself into an unstoppable biological weapon set on a direct course for Tokyo. Otomo's own Cannon Fodder depicts a day in the life of a city whose entire purpose is the firing of cannons at an unknown enemy.
Although these three shorts were made to be shown together, they have little in common beside lavish production values. In "Magnetic Rose," a two-bit salvage rig answers an SOS in deep space from the palatial ship of a former opera diva. Koji Morimoto (Fly Peek!
) blends shimmering visuals and snatches of Puccini, turning the derelict vessel into a lovely, fatal siren's song. Nerdy researcher Nobuo Tanaka takes an experimental drug and begins emitting a murderous gas in Tensai Okamura's (Kikaider
) "Stink Bomb." Too silly to be scary, but too grim to be funny, it's the weakest entry. In "Cannon Fodder," Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira
) uses long tracking shots and an acid palette of khaki greens and faded reds to depict a militarized civilization where gargantuan machines dominate vapid little people. This brief but timely vision of the insanity of war suggests a mixture of 19th century Prussia and World War II Japan. (Rated PG-13: profanity, violence, tobacco and alcohol use) --Charles Solomon