Film Reviews:

Silent Möbius: The Motion Picture

aka Silent Möbius

(Michitaka Kikuchi, Japan, 1991)

[Silent Mobius]Why no-one has still not seen fit to officially release this in the UK to date remains an utter mystery: it's got tie-ins to both comics and video games, more than enough tentacles to keep Manga Entertainment happy, and is actually very, very good. I'll even stick my neck out and say that it is perhaps the best hour of animation you can find. This is not too surprising, as it's that relatively rare beast, anime made for the big screen - its short length is because it was originally one half of a double bill - and the whole thing oozes cinematic style and power.

[Silent Mobius]Based upon the manga by Kia Asamiya, which has been translated into English, it's set forty years hence, in Neo-Tokyo, when the city is under siege by creatures from other planes of existence. Defending against this onslaught are the A.M.P. (Attack Mystification Police - love the way Japanese use English), five members of whom are the heroines, most blessed with names best described as 'highly original'; say "Hello" to Rally Cheyenne, Kiddy Phenil, Katsumi Liquer and (no sniggering) Lebia Maverick, as well as the relatively sanely monikered Nami Yumigumo. Starting with a slamming set piece, including the BIGGEST sword you'll ever see, it rapidly flips into flashback mode, and we see how Katsumi became a cyberpsychic warrior. Many years ago, her mother had trapped a high-level demon and it's out for revenge; with her mother ill, Katsumi is looked after by the AMP, against her will, until her powers develop enough to take on the creature. Back in the present, she finds herself facing the same, by now seriously miffed creature which is kicking Neo-Tokyo's ass.

The delights of this film are multiple, but it's the little things that stick in my brain. The government cover-up that describes the devastation as terrorist activity (hey, maybe it never was the IRA blowing up London!); Nami's fear of small furry creatures, all the more engaging when she is happy to take on whatever extra-dimensional Things come her way; and end credit sequence where Neo-Tokyo's true shape is worringly revealed. These things combine with the larger elements to produce something far worthier, more interesting and generally better than most anime released in the UK to date. 8/10

Jim McLennan

See also:

Blade Runner
Silent Möbius 2: The Motion Picture

A-Z of Film Reviews