Roujin Z REVIEW
Beats a mobility scooter.
Release Date: 11 June 2012
1991 | 15 | 80 minutes | £19.99 (DVD)/£24.99 (Blu-ray)
Distributor: Manga Entertainment
Director: Hiroyuki Kitakubo
Cast: Shinji Ogawa, Chie Satou, Chisa Yokoyama
Considering the powerhouse of legendary anime talent behind this movie – writer Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira), director Hiroyuki Kitakubo (Blood: The Last Vampire) and art director Satoshi Kon (later the director on Paprika and Paranoia Agent) – you’re probably wondering why you’ve never heard of it. The suspicion may be that too many cooks have spoiled the broth; it’s an overambitious, overindulgent flop, right?
Far from it. It’s a little gem.
Its problem, rather, is that it’s a comedy. Not what you’d expect from that bunch. Oh sure, it’s action-packed and features a mecha-suit (of sorts) but essentially it’s a satire, teen comedy and Confessions Of A Randy Pensioner all rolled into one (one scene has a student nurse desperately trying to get a pensioner to put his John Thomas back in his jimjams). Bizarrely, it works.
To deal with a growing elderly and infirm population, the Ministry Of Public Welfare develops a computerised superbed which relieves old people’s families from actually having to take care of them. But an experimental test bed hooked up to an incontinent widower becomes convinced it’s the reincarnation of his wife and decides to take him on a trip to the beach… creating havoc and destruction on the way. Only the guy’s student nurse carer, her mates and some geriatric hackers can save the day.
Roujin Z is utterly bonkers, but also very, very sweet, and it even has something to say about how society regards the elderly. Sometimes comedy in anime doesn’t translate well, but here it transcends the cultural divide with oodles of charm.
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