Memories is an anime anthology film comprised of three separate segments. I know of a couple other animated movies that did this, though this is the only ones I’ve seen. The majority of the film is made up of the first segment, Magnetic Rose, which most consider the best part of Memories. I completely agree with them. In fact, I’m not really a fan of the other two.
The second segment, Stink Bomb, is what I personally consider the low point of the movie. It’s about a scientist who takes an experimental pill that turns him into a living bio-weapon. He begins to release a lethal gas that kills everyone around him. I’ve heard it’s based on a real case that was also the inspiration of an X-Files episode. It seems to be a black comedy, which I’m certainly not against, but I found the protagonist way too unlikable to even be able to stand the segment.
As someone who’s seen his share of B movies with illogical, if not mentally regressive protagonists, watching this guy’s antics was torture. It’s almost hard to believe that the same guy who wrote Magnetic Rose was responsible for this one. He’s just so poorly written, I’m unable to just have a “don’t take it too seriously” attitude. Seriously, how is he a scientist? Homer Simpson worked at a nuclear power plant, but the whole joke was that he was an unqualified worker put in a position requiring a lot of responsibility, where he constantly screwed up and slacked off. This is just a scientist who proceeds to do a lot of dumb things, in the process killing off hundreds if not thousands of people.
I think most of the humor comes from him doing stupid things and getting more people killed. But I already kind of ranted enough about what I thought of that. There’s a lot of action in the movie, with tanks and fighter jets and explosions, if that’s what you’re looking for. I don’t know, maybe I’m just being unfair to this segment because I can’t find a guy who’s unwittingly committing death on a genocidal scale likeable.
The third segment, Cannon Fodder, seemed like it was setting up something incredible, then immediately ended after what felt like a few minutes. The story is about a society at war with an enemy that ultimately may not even exist. And they use cannons. So there’s the title. It does have a message, as anti-war satire that seems to hint at the ability to use war to control the masses.
Still, that doesn’t change the fact that nothing really happens. I watched the 1970s remake of Nosferatu and loved it, so I don’t have such a terrible attention span that I can’t enjoy a movie where I’m waiting a while for something to eventually occur. It’s entertaining on a visual level, but Cannon Fodder just feels like a setup to a story that never started. Maybe it worked better as a short story.
I figured I’d talk last about the main segment, Magnetic Rose, which is clearly the the best. In fact, I consider it great enough on its own to warrant buying the movie, even if you dislike the other two parts. It’s about a space crew that comes across an abandoned station that has sent out a distress signal, where they find an opera singer who has hidden in seclusion since the death of her loved one.
The story is amazing, and far more mature than what people would typically see from an animated film, even one from Japan. It has a message about focusing on accepting loss, rather than choosing to live in the past. It’s interesting in how the segment blends elements of space adventure, drama, and the paranormal. Though I feel I need to note that what might be the first case of literal space opera wouldn’t fit within that genre.
Fortunately, Magnetic Rose is by far the longest segment, probably making up around half the movie. For this reason alone, Memories is worth seeing. But regardless of my personal opinions on the whole package, Memories is interesting because of how widely different each segment with the tone, style, and animation.