Reviews of “Silent Möbius” (1991) and related work

“Silent Möbius” (1991Moving picture, 50 minutes)

Seen in 2017.

The first half of the back story of a reluctant member of the Attacked Mystification Police, a high-powered anti-occult unit in a future Tokyo, beneath which a particle accelerator broke open an alien realm years before.

Schlock SF-fantasy. This first film opens on “Kiddy”, a powerful cyborg who, in her brusque and quiet manner as well as in her silly name, resembles Kusanagi in The Ghost in the Shell (1989). She’s in a doomed super-skyscraper circled by flying cars à la Blade Runner (1982), on an artificial island in the middle of Tokyo Bay as in Mobile Police Patlabor: The Movie (1989), but it’s down hill from there.

Kiddy is not the most ridiculous name in the tiny, all-female AMP. One of her partners is named レビア, tastefully subtitled “Lebia” in the official release but it reads like “Labia”, last name “Maverick”. The unit leader is “Rally Cheyenne”. There’s a Hawaiian “Liqueur” family, and a “Yamigumo” (literally “dark cloud”, idiomatically implying uncontrollable behaviour) family etc. Like the name Kusanagi, the nomenclature implies a hackneyed glamour, and in this case it’s true. Yamigumo Nami is characterized on AniDB as a 16-year-old shintō priestess, comma, police officer.

The short is overloaded on titillation, including the use of amorphous demons for sexually tinged menace. Regrettably, there is little else to the story, not even a hint of H. P. Lovecraft. The destruction of the super-skyscraper, in particular, is treated with absurd lightness. The film is little more than a promo for the then-ongoing comic. In addition to the crazy Engrish name of the unit, there is also a BASIC program scrolling by on a greebled PDA in an early scene, standing in for a case file.

References here: Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory (1991), Ghost in the Shell (1995), Outlaw Star (1998).

moving picture animation Japanese production fiction cyberpunk

“Silent Möbius 2” (1992Moving picture, 58 minutes)

Seen in 2017.

The second half of Katsumi Liqueur’s back story.

A slightly more solid effort. In particular, the opening shot of dawn on the artificial island is beautiful, but the plotting remains sketchy. The flying cars see more action, and are indeed reminiscent of Syd Mead’s work on Blade Runner. This one also has an orbital beam weapon à la Akira (1988), more defined demons, and more consequential violence. The sequel is thankfully less sexual, hence about as credible as “Sol Bianca” (1990) in its portrayal of an exclusively female team. Again, as demanded by tradition, English-language text on screen is suitably irrelevant. An airport clerk, oddly male, has references to Nirvana and Yngwie Malmsteen on his digital display.

moving picture sequel animation Japanese production fiction cyberpunk