Katsuhiro Otomo brings you Memories. Born in 1954, he began the eight-year manga series for Akira in 1982. He did the opening and ending animation for Robot Carnival and directed the movie for Akira. He was the creator, mecha designer, and script writer for Roujin Z, which is similar in look to Stink Bomb, the second part of Memories. Otomo decided he wanted to make Memories with a crew from the younger generation of people in anime. It took three years to complete and was released (in Japan) in 1995. Otomo chose the order of the three parts of Memories because he wanted the first piece to give the audience a feeling of visual grandeur and the last to leave a hungering or shocked emotion.
The first episode is Magnetic Rose, which stars Miguel and Heintz, two space junk collectors who, following an SOS signal, find a space station-like object filled with some very old, very high class stuff. Fighting to discern reality from fantasy, they hunt for the source of the signal.
Stink Bomb is the second piece, in which a biological researcher accidentally takes an experimental drug. Mixing with his body chemistry, it releases a pleasant smell that kills everyone around him. He steadily moves toward Tokyo carrying the bottle of pills and spreading a lethal cloud. The Japanese armed forces throw everything they have at him from guided missiles to a plea from his grandmother. The gas cloud grows so large that it starts collecting internal electric disturbances and disrupts electronic equipment nearby. Everyone fears all of Japan will perish, until three American troops wearing sealed and insulated power armor corner him in a tunnel.
The last piece was directed by Otomo and depicts a day in the life of a family in a WWII-reminiscent city. This city has a turret on every building and several immense cannons in which the father loads shells much bigger than he is. The details are elusive, but I gathered that they're assaulting a mobile "enemy" city. I got a very 1984 feeling from this in part because it seemed like the enemy wasn't real and the people were just firing off shells because they were told to. At first, the art seems worse because it is rougher and the characters aren't shiny and pretty as we might expect from popular anime. Don't let this fool you; it is very well-animated, and the scene transitions are exquisitely planned; it's just less flashy. Here, all the weight is in the setting, and what seems to be very little action tells much more when you've had some time to think about it. I wonder if the child smirks in the lunchroom because the "music helmet" has gotten someone else in trouble. The technical undertaking for Cannon Fodder was immense. To do some of the panning scenes, they used ten-meter paintings, and this is the only of the three pieces that uses computer animation. Upon first watching it, I found Cannon Fodder neither interesting nor entertaining. The more I let it roll around in my mind, the more I wanted to see it again. The texture and the image of life during war I found to be frightening and touching at the same time.