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Memories DVD cover
Directed by Kōji Morimoto
Tensai Okamura
Katsuhiro Otomo
Written by Satoshi Kon (script)
Katsuhiro Otomo (story, script)
Music by Yoko Kanno
Jun Miyake
Hiroyuki Nagashima
Takkyū Ishino
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 ?).



Magnetic Rose

"Magnetic Rose" is about what happens when a deep space corporate freighter is called upon to investigate a distress signal from what ought to be a derelict space station. The space station is run by the deranged AI imprint of a lovelorn, jaded opera diva, who controls the station's functions, including its life support systems and (to more dramatic effect) its VR holography and supporting nanotechnical systems.

Two of the men from the Corona (the freighter) disembark from the ship to investigate the derelict. Later on, one of the men was rendered unconscious, thinking a holographic woman was real and hugging her. The other man tries to pull him back, but a wave of debris hits the Corona and derelict, causing massive damage to both. The crew of the Corona decides to fire a cannon at the derelict, destroying it and one of the men inside. The other man wakes up a few minutes after the blast, seeing nothing but debris and space junk around him.

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

This episode features Maria Callas' performance of Un bel di, vedremo.

Stink Bomb

More comical in tone than "Magnetic Rose", "Stink Bomb" concerns a young man who shows up to work at a bioresearch facility whilst flu-ridden. At a colleague's insistence, he takes some pills. These turn out to be part of a biological weapon program—the young man soon acquires a (literally) deadly body odor and becomes a walking weapon of mass destruction. He finds everyone in the facility dead, though at first he thinks they are just unconscious. He reports the incident to headquarters in Tokyo and they give him a task to deliver some papers and the toxin, believing it is related to the incident. The people later realize that somehow the young man survived the incident, and after researching papers that they transmitted from the facility, they find out the truth of what happened. The self-defense forces futilely attempt to keep him from delivering the toxins to Tokyo.

The film relies on black comedy associated with the ridiculously lethal nature of the main character and the total ineptitude portrayed on the part of the Japanese Military; calling out tanks, heavy artillery and even bombers, the military fails to kill or even hinder the main character's progress towards Tokyo on a green Honda Super Cub. Among other things, this film is perhaps noteworthy for its portrayal of a Japanese SDF war room (a scene common in kaiju films) as under the heavy influence of the American military.

Eventually, the Americans decide to call on an aeronautic elite military squadron of three men in foolproof space suits to counter this new threat. Unaware of this operation, the Japanese army collapses part of the bridge to prevent Tanaki from escaping and turns on wind repulsion devices. while the devices were operational, a mysterious white helicopter lands, unloading the three troops and sending them to deal with Tanaki. Tanaki becomes scared, disabling the machines while leaving the three aeronautic soldiers unscathed. The soldiers force Tanaki into an exosuit. Tanaki makes his way through the Tokyo office building, unaware that he is the source of the biological contamination. He ejects his exosuit, killing all the men inside the building.

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

Cannon Fodder

In a walled city perpetually at war, everyone's lives and livelihood depend upon maintaining and firing the cannons: millions of cannons, ranging from cannons the size of the Seagram Tower to cannons the size of a beer bottle. The entire city is cannons: they take the place of smokestacks, of satellite dishes and TV antennae. The action directly concerns a young boy and his cannon-loader father, but is really about the faceless masses who slave to fuel and maintain this parody of the twentieth century war machine.

During the course of the film, the city is surrounded in fog and the mobile "enemy city" is never shown despite continuous reports of great success, leading the viewer to speculate if there really is an enemy at all, or if the walled city is simply firing into the clouds to perpetuate a war that has become its entire means of economy. This theme is similar to that of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four albeit with a surrealistic tone.

Towards the end of the movie, the boy comes home, and the news reporter reports near-destruction of the enemy city. The boy hops onto his bed, saying that he wants to fire the cannon, not become a worker like his dad.

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 Ross Carlos 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.  
  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.  
  5. ^ a b Shelton, Andrew (2006-08-20). "AMR: Memories". Anime Meta-Review. Retrieved 2009-03-15.  
  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.  

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