While I wasn’t a huge, huge fan of Memories, if you’ll recall, I was still really interested in seeing this in theatres despite it’s short length. And while I found the entirety to be underwhelming when everything was said and done, I was still glad that I did.
Some scenes present such big scenes such as the fire in Combustion or the trash lion in Possessions and seeing those actually bigger than yourself gave the movie a really cool effect. Would I have found it as visually stunning, in that case, watching on my laptop or my tv? Probably not.
My favourite was definitely Possessions/Tsukumo. It was the most lighthearted of the three with a protagonist who said little and only had but a few minutes to win us over and boy did he. The use of CG was wonderful and I’m still having a very hard time comparing it to anything else I’ve seen or know about. It was fluid and blended so nicely with the occasional drawn backgrounds.
Combustible started off really cool visually. And the story seemed really interesting, especially because there was so much focus on Waka and I hadn’t expected that. However it definitely felt too short to me. The scene where Waka decides to turn back, to wait and the reflection of the fire in her eyes, the draw of it. The “if I wait he’ll come for me and if he doesn’t I can escape the life I don’t want” decision she made that would have such a catastrophic result. However, despite that she still attempts to flee and ultimately dies. We don’t really hear what her reason for doing what she did was and both die really unceremoniously.
It really, really reminded me of the last part of Memories where it just ends on a kind of “did they die?” note. I had wondered the same thing for this one but it seems impossible that they didn’t die from such an explosion. I guess I respect the “you may be the hero of your own story but that doesn’t guarantee you a happy ending” nature of both Combustion and Cannon Fodder but it’s still rather unsatisfying. Especially for such short movies.
Gambo was pretty intense. While I loved the first movie and had mixed feelings about the second, the third was just too much for me. It was violent and surprisingly scary. Mostly in a gross way, I’ll admit. The whole pregnant slave thing made me really uncomfortable and after that there was no way for me to really get excited about the movie after that. I didn’t find the animation as smooth as the first one but it still grew on me, I guess. I do respect the feral and vicious nature of the movie though. They may not be my type of thing but it was entertaining? Squick aside, anyways.
And lastly, a Farewell to Arms. Easily the weakest of the four if only because unlike the similar Magnetic Rose, it lacked emotion and oomph. Things just kind of happened. And sure seeing the Gonk constantly surviving and chasing them was kind of thrilling, it ultimately went nowhere. The result after all that action and death is just a cheap laugh at the end. Which I guess is kind of a message and appropriate reaction in its own? For something to be so serious and go so badly and just end on an awkward laugh?
So I was glad I could experience the first two movies on a big screen. The first was lovely and the second being a bit longer would have done it some real favours but was still decent enough, I guess? Three wasn’t my cup of tea and made me really uncomfortable at times. And four seemed longer than it needed to be without any real purpose.
Despite that, it was still an experience to have and while I can’t see myself rewatching any but the first any time soon, I’m still glad I saw them. But with this I think we can finally be sure that Otomo’s stuff is wasted on a pleb like me.