Memories (film)


Memories DVD cover
Directed by Kōji Morimoto
Tensai Okamura
Katsuhiro Otomo
Produced by Shigeru Watanabe
Katsuhiro Otomo
Written by Satoshi Kon (script)
Katsuhiro Otomo (story, script)
Music by Yoko Kanno
Jun Miyake
Hiroyuki Nagashima
Takkyū Ishino
Editing by Takeshi Seyama
Distributed by Toho (Japan)
Summit Entertainment (U.S.) (Censored Edition DVD)
Release date(s) December 23, 1995 (Japan)
Running time 113 min
Country Japan
Language Japanese

Memories (also Otomo Katsuhiro's Memories) is an anime produced in 1995 by artist/director Katsuhiro Otomo which were based on three of his manga short stories. The film is composed of three episodes: "Magnetic Rose" (彼女の想いで Kanojo no Omoide?), "Stink Bomb" (最臭兵器 Saishū-heiki?) and "Cannon Fodder" (大砲の街 Taihō no Machi?). The latter story was directed by Otomo himself.



Magnetic Rose

The Corona, a deep space salvage freighter, while out on a salvage mission encounters a distress signal and decides to follow it. They soon come upon a spaceship graveyard orbiting a giant space station. The crew's two engineers, Heintz and Miguel, enter it to get a closer look.

Once they are inside, they discover an opulent European interior and several furnished rooms (in varying degrees of decay), but find no signs of life. They discover that the station belongs to a once famous opera diva named Eva Friedal who disappeared after the murder of her fiancée, Carlo Rambaldi, a fellow singer. Continuing the search for the source of the signal, the engineers split up, with each experiencing paranormal encounters, including strange noises and visions of Eva. Miguel enters the dilapidated underbelly of the station, and in a cavernous chamber he finds a broken piano playing the distress signal. He begins to hallucinate and Eva suddenly runs up to kiss him.

Heintz finds a theater stage and sees Eva, who stabs him when he approaches. Suddenly paralyzed, Heintz relives a memory of his family, particularly with his daughter Emily. The illusion disappears when Eva takes his wife's form and tells him that he "will never leave". Heintz rushes to save Miguel, only to find that he had been seduced by Eva into thinking he is Carlo. Eva reveals to Heintz that she murdered the real Carlo for refusing to marry her and has forced others to look like him. She makes Heintz relive his daughter's death and nearly convinces him to join her, but he manages to resist and shoots the massive computer embedded in the ceiling, the source of the AI creating the illusions and distress signals causing Eva, apparently a hologram, to malfunction.

The Corona has been struggling against a powerful magnetic field coming from the station, pulling the ship towards it. In desperation, they fire a powerful energy cannon, gouging the structure deep enough to reach the cavern. Heintz is ejected into space (along with Eva's past victims), as Eva hauntingly sings to a conjured audience. The Corona is crushed together to form a rose-like shape around the station. The episode ends with the robot "Eva" talking romantically with a hypnotized Miguel. Heintz is last seen drifting in space, still alive.

Directed by Kōji Morimoto. Script by noted anime director Satoshi Kon, based on a story by Katsuhiro Otomo. Music by Yoko Kanno.

This episode featured Maria Callas' performance of Un bel dì, vedremo.

Stink Bomb

The comical "Stink Bomb" is about a lab technician, Nobuo Tanaka, battling the flu. He mistakes some experimental pills for cold pills and swallows them. The pills are part of a biological weapon program, reacting to the flu shot already in his body. Tanaka soon develops a deadly body odor and becomes a walking weapon of mass destruction. While taking a nap, the odor he emits kills everyone in the Lab. Horrified, he reports the incident to headquarters, as they instruct him to deliver the experimental drug to Tokyo. Meanwhile, the odor he emits grows stronger to where it affects several miles of the surrounding area, killing every living thing that smells his odor, except flowers and plants. His odor kills everything in the Yamanashi Prefecture, including all 200,000 inhabitants of Kōfu city. Nobuo continues on to Tokyo unaware of the death his smell is causing, but the rest of the country is in a complete panic. The head of the research company and the Japanese military deduce that Tanaka is causing the poisonous gas and order him to be killed. The Japanese Military tries in vain to stop Nobuo, causing immense collateral damage to the Japanese countryside, but to no avail.

The U.S. military, who have been observing the situation to that point, utilizes Japanese policy to take over the operation, and calls in a NASA unit with space suits to try capture Nobuo alive. Unaware of this operation, the Japanese army collapses part of the bridge to prevent Nobuo from escaping, trapping him in a tunnel. They turn on wind generators loaded with Liquid Nitrogen in an attempt to freeze him. Tanaka becomes scared, disabling the machines while leaving the three astronauts unscathed. The soldiers force Tanaka into an exosuit and bring him back to military headquarters in Tokyo. Tanaka makes his way through the headquarters building, unaware that he is the source of the biological contamination. He then opens his exosuit, killing everyone.

It is mentioned the interview featurette that the story for "Stink Bomb" is based on an actual event. This may be referring to the toxic death of Gloria Ramirez.

Directed by Tensai Okamura. Script by Katsuhiro Otomo. Music by Jun Miyake.

Cannon Fodder

In a walled city perpetually at war, everyone's livelihood depends upon maintaining and firing the enormous cannons that make up most of the city. Nearly every building in the city is equipped with a cannon of varying size, able to fire huge artillery shells over the city walls. The story is centered around a young boy and his father, who works as a lowly cannon-loader.

The city is surrounded by clouds of smoke and dust. The mobile "enemy city" is never shown despite continuous reports of great success. Is there really is an enemy at all, or is the city simply firing into the clouds to perpetuate a war that has become its entire means of economy?

In the end the boy comes home from school and hears a television news reporter talking about the near-destruction of the enemy city. The boy hops into his bed, saying that someday he wants to be the exalted officer who fires the cannons, and not be a simple worker like his father. As he sleeps, a blue light sweeps across the window. Is it from the enemy or the city?

Through unusual animation techniques the illusion is created that the film consists of one continuous shot or long take.

Written and directed by Katsuhiro Otomo. Music by Hiroyuki Nagashima.

Production details


The original Japanese soundtrack of the three films is a 3 CD set, each CD corresponding to one of the three parts. The US version of the soundtrack however is spread over 2 CDs.

  • The soundtrack of Magnetic Rose, composed by Yoko Kanno and largely influenced by Giacomo Puccini's Madame Butterfly, is primarily operatic and highly involved, reflecting the serious, intense nature the film takes on as it progresses.
  • The soundtrack of Stink Bomb uses jazz and funk as its main influence, adding to the film's chaotic, comedic nature.
  • The soundtrack of Cannon Fodder is difficult to categorise; blending brass band, orchestral and avant-garde compositional techniques.


In 2001, Animage magazine ranked Memories 68th in their list of the 100 greatest anime productions.[1] The film was met with positive reviews, although reception for each of the three stories varied. "Magnetic Rose" has generally been deemed the best episode,[2][3][4] with critics at Anime Meta-Review and T.H.E.M Anime saying it alone made the film worth watching.[5][6] Anime Academy thought it was "a pure symphonic treat from start to finish” and “running only forty-five minutes, it can still be compared with the greatest anime productions in every single aspect from animation to storyline."[3] John Wallis of DVD Talk called it "a great opener, a strong, moving story of love, loss, haunting heartbreak, and horror chills."[7] “Magnetic Rose” was also regarded as "a science fiction marvel" by Homemademech’s Mark McPherson, who praised its dialogue and realistic presentation of outer space physics.[8] Chris Beveridge from, however, felt that the story had "some feel of being done before to some degree."[9]

Comments on "Stink Bomb" and "Cannon Fodder" were less favorable. T.H.E.M Anime reviewer Carlos Ross stated that "the other two entries don't quite equal the sheer excellence of ‘Magnetic Rose’".[6] McPherson referred to "Stink Bomb" by saying "compared to the other episodes of Memories, it's the weakest and less creative of the bunch",[8] while Anime Jump’s Chad Clayton thought "Cannon Fodder" did not "match the complexity of the preceding two films."[4] "Stink Bomb" was nonetheless praised for its humour and high quality visuals.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9] "Cannon Fodder" was viewed as "the strongest work in terms of its allegorical message" by DVD Talk,[7] and visually "inventive" by both Anime Jump and Anime Academy.[3][4] Tasha Robinson at described the animation of every episode as "stellar", claiming the film as a whole went "well beyond memorable".[2]

See also


  1. ^ "Animage Top-100 Anime Listing". Anime News Network. 2001-01-15. Retrieved 2009-03-15. 
  2. ^ a b Robinson, Tasha. "Memories". Retrieved 2009-03-15. [dead link]
  3. ^ a b c d Kain; Kjeldoran. "Memories". Anime Academy. Retrieved 2009-03-15. 
  4. ^ a b c d Clayton, Chad (2005-08-06). "Memories". Anime Jump. Retrieved 2009-03-15. [dead link]
  5. ^ a b Shelton, Andrew (2006-08-20). "AMR: Memories". Anime Meta-Review. Retrieved 2009-03-15. [dead link]
  6. ^ a b c Ross, Carlos. "Memories". T.H.E.M Anime Reviews. Retrieved 2009-03-15. 
  7. ^ a b c Wallis, John (2004-02-18). "Memories". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2009-03-15. 
  8. ^ a b c McPherson, Mark (2004-05-20). "Memories Anime Review". Homemademech. Retrieved 2009-03-15. 
  9. ^ a b Beveridge, Chris (2005-02-22). "Memories". Retrieved 2009-03-15. 

External links

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