Hello there. This is review number twenty and I am now 2% in my progress to reach a thousand anime. Yeah, it’s not that impressive but who knows how long I can do this. As promised, every time I land in a number divisible by 10, I would do a movie review.
I was actually planning on picking up a movie released in Winter 2012. There was only two worth watching. The first one is Magic Tree House. It went under the radar as I can’t find a fansub of it. The novels are actually more available so it was a downer. The movie looks nice.
The other movie is K-on the movie. Yeah, I won’t watch that. I haven’t seen season two and you need to strap me in a chair, glue my eye lids open and force me to watch it before I pick up that movie. I’m not a fan. I just don’t like it. So screw it. I decided to review another old anime. 1991’s Roujin Z. It’s a sci fi movie about nursing care and terrorism. Let’s read on.
The Ministry of Public Welfare in Japan created a revolutionary device that helps the ever growing problem of elderly care. It’s a machine that is designed to replace nurse care givers and provide sufficient care to help the elderly population. The machine is powered by a super computer and it is now in the beta testing phase. The first ever elderly person to enjoy its care is Kijuro Takazawa, a bedridden old man being taken care of by a volunteer nurse student, Haruko Mihashi.
Something has gone terribly wrong though as the machine begins to take a mind of its own. It is supposed to be a super computer aiding the elderly suddenly turns into a weapon that destroys and is holding Mr. Takazawa as its hostage.
Taking the Pants Off
Nothing beats old school. I personally love hand drawn anime to anything CG. Sure CG is better in more ways than one but it is a fact that without the old school style of animation, there wouldn’t be a CG style. Roujin Z is old. It’s made in 1991 and the look of it is very un-“anime”. It is still heavily influenced by western animation and had a heavy metal punk theme that was rampant in the 80s. I would say that Roujin Z is very outdated. The only reason I personally picked up the anime is because it had Katsuhiro Otomo in charge of the mechanics and overall design. Who is he? He’s the director of Akira.
Perhaps Akira is the best anime of the 80s that proudly represents the old school. Akira was a revolutionary anime that even people of today, who are exposed to much better animation, would still appreciate. Akira is timeless and it shares some characteristics with Roujin Z.
Akira had a complex plot that was just a smidge of the plot in the manga. Roujin Z has a simpler story and someone like me who enjoy plot over anything else can appreciate. This movie is about a nursing care bed that is designed to be the future of nursing care would gain a mind of its own and starts evolving into a huge mechanical nightmare. It uses a bio-computer that supposedly adapts and evolves. This super computer would take the form of Mr. Takazawa’s dead wife. The computer would grant his husband’s wish of visiting the beach. It doesn’t care about anything else including the safety of people around it. This nursing bed would suddenly walk, merge with other mechanical things, destroy buildings and cause panic. Now the government is out to stop this nursing bed before it destroys even more things.
It’s a simple plot but despite its simplicity, the anime is still interesting and would keep you glued to the screen. The true attraction of this anime is the mechanical action and heavy metal animation that made Akira famous. It is fun seeing the damage the nursing bed done. There are some many destroyed buildings, some beaten up cars and even an amazing light rail sequence.
The characters are all one dimensional since there really couldn’t be much done in an hour. They serve a specific purpose and a precise role. It’s an anime movie so the characters are done just right and the interaction between the computer and the humans gives the anime some extra fun moments. There are some bad guys here, a comic relief, some super smart old hackers and a bunch on meddling kids.
The anime has a nice social commentary about the treatment of old people. Some people would just shove their parents in an elderly home and would do anything just so they don’t have to take care of them. The same thing happened to Mr.Takazawa who is now old and senile. He can no longer function without the aid of others. The anime gives to light the passion and dedication of care givers whose job is to take care of the elderly. Haruko deeply cares for Mr. Takazawa as if he was her dad and it’s strong dedication like that that makes a nurse care giver not to be taken light of.
Sight and Sound
Hand drawn animation is something I truly adore. The details in the background and the impressive depiction of an urban area make the anime special. The anime has some cramp settings including the home of Mr. Takazawa and to have a detailed animation in such a small environment is amazing.
The design of the evolving nursing bed is also amazing. It’s Mr. Katsuhiro at his finest. There is great detail, both mechanical and whimsical, that really elevates the anime. The final scenes are the best part and a personal favorite of mine.
There’s not much to note in terms of sound. There was no theme song to this anime and the ending song is just your generic Japanese song. It sounds Jpop but I was too busy admiring the animation and the plot to notice.
7/10 “A simple plot that was nicely paced paired with an incredible animation sequence.”
It’s an old one but definitely a classic anime movie. It’s not as popular as Akira but it does share some similarities Akira fans can appreciate. It’s an enjoyable movie through and through. A movie any anime fan can actually enjoy. I recommend it.
This is a great review – Roujin Z is classic! You should check out “Wrinkles” if you haven’t already seen it. It’s an animated film following elderly people in a care home. You can read more about it here. I think you’d like it if you enjoyed Roujin Z!
I’m glad someone knows about Roujin Z and Wrinkles. Both movies are worth watching even though the latter is obviously more realistic. Haha!