Monday, March 7, 2011
While hunting down articles, I came across this bit of classic Steampunk anime from Mr. Katsuhiro Otomo, the legendary anime director of Robot Carnival, Akira, and the ground-breaking Steampunk favorite, Steamboy. “Cannon Fodder” is one of his earlier works, and one can see the impact that this early work had on his Steamboy.
I do realize that the above clip is in Japanese (translated into Spanish), but a visit to Wikipedia provided a synopsis of the work….
“In a walled city perpetually at war, everyone’s lives and livelihood depend 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. Though the story is centered around a young boy and his father, who works as a lowly cannon-loader, the film is dedicated to the lives of the anonymous citizens of the city 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 clouds of smoke and dust 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 Orwells Nineteen Eighty-Fouralbeit with a surrealistic tone.
At the end of the movie, the boy comes home from school, with a news reporter on the television 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 become a worker like his father.”
Though it wasn’t as well received as his other works, one can see the artistic influence of Cannon Fodder on his later Steampunk works. To learn more about Mr. Otomo, please do consider a visit to his Wiki, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katsuhiro_Otomo!