Sunday, March 27, 2005

Steamboy Anime in US Theaters

If you haven’t been living under a rock, then you’ve most likely heard of Akira, the mind-bending science fiction classic from manga artist turned anime director, Katsuhiro Otomo. First released in 1988, the Akira film immediately set new standards for animation with its amazingly detailed backgrounds and fierce action sequences of futuristic motorcycle gangs at war with themselves and the rest of society. Now Otomo is back with a vengeance with his latest release… Steamboy. The story is set in an alternative timeline, where Victorian England benefits from all sorts of newfangled technologies. Lead character, Ra Stim (Ray Steam), obtains a strange device brimming with enough energy to power an entire country. The central concern of the plot has to do with the mishandling and exploitation of science, but audiences will immediately be stunned by the opalescent and brilliant animation… a mix of traditional cel and computer generated imagery. It took ten years and $22 million dollars to make Steamboy, making it the most largest-scale Japanese animated film to date. You can see trailers and film clips of the movie at MovieWeb, including an interview with Katsuhiro Otomo on the animation process and an interview with Patrick Stewart on “the human element in Japanese animation.” (Stewart is the voice actor for a character in the dubbed western version). The anime is now playing in movie houses across the US, and in Los Angeles, people can see it at the Nuart Theater in Santa Monica. (posted by M.)