Festival of single disk anime, part 9: Cleopatra DC and Catnapped!
The second sub-only title in the festival--and in fact, this title is actually hardsubbed. (This was a bit of a surprise to me, as I thought I would have remembered an outcry about it... but then again, did anybody besides me actually buy this disk?)
It's a globe-trotting adventure of crime and intrigue, involving young Cleopatra Corns, scion of the ultra rich Corns Group. I would have to guess that the carefree, very curvy main character was inspired by Lupin III's Fujiko Mine.
The way the characters moved reminded me of the Area 88 OVA, and I was not totally surprised to discover that the original manga creator of Area 88, Kaoru Shintani, also created Cleopatra DC: both series have a very strong international flavor.
There is a big difference in quality, however: Area 88 is an all-time great series, grandiose in conception, but centered on very real human emotions, while Cleopatra DC is a mish-mash about criminals putting women in danger. It's frequently comedic, without often being funny. The best part of the series are the attractive character designs. Better to junk the pale imitation and watch unadulterated Lupin III instead.
This one is rather unusual for anime licensed to North America--it's an anime feature film clearly aimed at a children's audience. But unlike, say, the charming My Neighbor Totoro, this movie tries way too hard.
Toriyasu and his sister Meeko are abducted by cats to the world of Banipal Witt where they must turn a giant slavering monster back into their dog before the sun rises and they turn into monsters themselves, whilst avoiding the princess Buburina, whose touch turns creatures into anthropomorphic balloons.
Banipal Witt is a gaudily colorful world, where creatures bounce around like pinballs. It's a frenetic viewing experience.
I was not surprised to see the name "Chiaki J. Konaka" in the credits as co-writer of the movie: it's just twisted enough to it in the Konaka oeuvre.
I wonder if the movie was actually mean to appeal to young children, as it seems a bit too dark and garish for that--I would think that children would instictively fear it, just as they instinctively fear clowns.
Amusingly, the director of the film is touted as animation director of Akira. Yes, just the kind of movie you'd want to reference when trying to convince parents to buy a children's movie.