Sunday, December 22, 2013

Twenty Days of Anime Movies

The Laser Disc Cover Art



For better or for worse is one of the first anime movies , and one that had a powerful influence on how I have seen the medium ever since.




Eternal Story is a product of its times, and the passing of those times has left it more than a little dated.



THE SET UP



Two races, the Solnoids and the Paranoidsare locked in a seemingly endless war. The Solnoids are an all-female race, and the Paranoids are much more alien. The Paranoids are reminiscent of the Invid from the earlier



One Solnoid cruiser, the Star Leaf, is isolated from the fleet and becomes the target of a secret plan by both races to create a third, neutral, race that can negotiate peace in the galaxy.



It doesn't end well.



THE



Released in 1986, Eternal Story is very much a product of the Cold War, and a later episode explicitly references as the rationale for the Species Unification Plan. Certainly Eternal Story outright states that both sides have weapons capable of destroying solar systems in a single shot.



I also believe that the echoes of Hiroshima and Nagasaki can be felt in the Gall Force series, and that this is true of many anime of the 1980s.



However it IS a product of its times, and I wonder if these aspects will resonate the same way for viewers that didn't live through the Cold War.



THE HAMMER



There are probably two aspects of Gall Force: Eternal Story that hit me like a hammer when I first saw it. One is the fact that, apart from a ray of hope at the end, EVERYONE DIES.



This may have been the first time I'd seen such a story line on film, and it was certainly the first time I'd seen it with a female cast.



Granted that there's a lot of gratuitous in the form of , but this was still a revelation for me and something that has shaped me as anime fan ever since.



Despite that ray of hope there is a bleakness to this series that struck the much younger me as strong story telling. I'm much less likely to be attracted to such now, but it was powerful then and may still be so for some.



The attraction to strong and/or interesting female characters never went away though, and I'm pleased to report that it isn't ever likely to.



THE PROBLEMS



Eternal Story does have a couple of problems that need to be mentioned.



Eternal Story is a short movie that attempts to establish sympathy for a lot of characters just before killing them off. For the number of characters involved, 87 minutes really isn't a lot of time. This is especially true for Lufy, and to a lesser extent Eluza.



I've already mentioned the gratuitous fan service, this is accompanied by gratuitously bad anime science to make the plot work. Don't examine it too closely, and let that roll over you.



THE VERDICT



Gall Force: Eternal Story was one of the first films to make its way to the nascent anime fandom of the late 80s / early 90s. Despite the flaws, Eternal Story remains watchable and tells a strong story.



Weaker than it once was, Gall Force: Eternal Story is still a film that students of the genre should be aware of. If you haven't seen it at least once, you should. Day 1 -

Day 2 -

Day 3 -

Day 4 -

Day 5 -

Day 6 -

Day 7 -

Day 8 -

Day 9 -

Day 10 -

Day 11 -

Day 12 -

Day 13 -

Day 14 - (1995)

Day 15 -

Day 16 -

Day 17 -

Day 18 -

Day 19 - Gall Force: Eternal Story

Day 20 - (I actually know what this one will be, I'm just not saying yet)



[1] As designed by

[2] Three years prior to the fall of the , and production would have started earlier than that.

[3] The second instalment Destruction if I'm remembering it correctly. The name of the third instalment, Stardust War is a reference to the fact that there aren't any planets left to fight for.

[4] Superdimensional Fortress Macross and Genesis Climber Mospeada are two that spring to mind immediately. Not to mention that Kaiju films are often considered to be examples of this.

[5] It is traditional in Western Australian anime fandom to add "Oh the embarrassment" to "Everyone dies", particularly when talking about Gall Force. You know who you are, and you probably did it automatically.

[6] Two points here: a) some things never change and b) Kenichi Sonoda has form for this.
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