Animonday: Steamboy November 27, 2007Posted by Ian W in : Film Reviews, Animation, Science Fiction , trackback
Katsuhiro Ôtomo’s steampunk epic shows us a past where steam technology…well lets just say it goes way beyond powering ships and trains.
One family, appropriately named Steam, have made a breakthrough in steam power, a breakthrough that has divided father and son and that rift threatens to start a war between two nations. James Ray Steam, the youngest scientific mind in the Steam clan, finds himself caught between his father and his grandfather over how the power should be used. Can the young “Steamboy” stop a war starting between Britain and American?
Packed with great characters and huge action sequences (you’ll see the Crystal Palace destroyed!), Ôtomo’s film is a true anime epic. A visual feast that still finds time to ask moralistic questions such as: what responsibility does a scientist have in how his invention is used? It’s impossible not to see the massive steam tower at the films climax as anything but an allegory for the atomic bomb.
The film isn’t bogged down by such weighty issues though; it’s a fun ride that never lets up, with even the few quieter moments full of such delicious eye candy that you’re never bored. It’s also pretty darn unique; I mean what other anime can you think of where the hero comes from Manchester and rubs shoulders with the likes of Robert Stephenson and Scarlet Ohara? Not to mention referencing Coronation Street.
Steamboy is a masterpiece and deserves a place in any anime fans collection, but it will also appeal to those whose taste doesn’t normally stretch to Japanese animation.