Saturday, 4 December 2010

Chii & Kira Anime Watching Club - December 2010 - A.LI.CE

Something important I have learned whilst watching bad anime - share the pain, and it can be quite an enjoyable experience. As a monthly featurette, I have enlisted the kind help of Chii from OshiiAnime to go through a random title once a month so we can produce two (usually very different) views for one show. With a taste to indulge in something sci-fi, the first pick fell to me and so the scientific method of "close the eyes and point" selected the little known movie, A.LI.CE.
Marvel at the realistic snow effects!

The "plot" revolves around a young girl Alice who, after the space shuttle she was on crashed, finds herself catapulted 30 years into the future. Luckily, the obnoxious Yuan and easily excitable Maria are on hand to help the intrepid time-traveller return home. Of course, throw in some cliché bad guys, a bad dose of space-time paradoxes and bin the script part way through, and what could have been a promising tale is turned into an out of control train wreck.

More than a little reminiscent of Dr Who's Cybermen

One of the good things about watching a show together with a friend is that when you lose track of the plot, and with A.LI.CE you inevitably will, is that your buddy can help explain things. Unfortunately, my partners shared puzzlement at gaping plot holes meant it was not my short attention span to blame, but the convoluted story that tries too hard to craft an epic tale. Younger viewers will probably love the over-the-top action that is somewhat reminiscent of Tron in places, and the poor translation that features classic lines such as "totally bitchin'", but the overall show will fall short of mature viewers' expectations.

Taking a plunging neckline to the extreme in that weather?
However! All is not lost as the writers attempt to inject fan-service into A.LI.CE. Sadly, it is the most bizarre, misplaced and ugly use of cleavage I have ever had the misfortune to observe. Also surviving the shuttle crash is a cyber-waitress Maria, later to affectionately become known as sexbot for the gratuitous rack shots and a vocal performer suffering from perpetual orgasm. Female viewers are lucky enough to be treated to cardboard-haired bishie, Nero, who is afforded a whole two-minutes of screen-time. Thank god it wasn't longer.

Who said romance is dead?
The crude CG used throughout is typical of the turn of the century, and looks extremely dated. Reminiscent of Malice@Doll, the facial features are extremely creepy, especially the eyes and teeth whilst hair styles have been created by a ham-fisted toddler. The backgrounds used are quite pretty, but the foreground characters simply don't blend especially with their comical movements. Fluidity has been completely overlooked, as have the laws of physics; one scene sees boulders bouncing in the background like giant hyper balls.

Alice earned the name "creepy-eyes" at school for a good reason
Another low point of A.LI.CE is the somewhat misplaced used of drum and bass that rattles out of the speakers during the snow buggy chase scenes. Completely killing the mood, the crappy music became a point of hilarity that continues throughout the entire movie. Although the Japanese seiyuu are all passable, another comical highlight is the terribad dubbing; sexbot transforms into a mistress from the deep south, Yuan is no longer a spunky teenager and Alice picks up a generic American accent.

Don't ask...
Overall, I found even a degree in Physics couldn't help me keep up with the legitimacy of the time travelling and the butterfly effects claimed for the future. With too much crammed into too little time, the mediocre graphics are certainly nothing to write home about. Although an initial glimmer of promise gave me hope of a sleeper hit, a hidden gem was not to be found in what amounts to a messy collection of scrapbook ideas that have been slapped together haphazardly.

To get Chii's view on the same show, click here!

1 comment:

  1. That kiss scene... More like head bonking near miss... So bad