RogerBW's Blog

Tenkū no Shiro Rapyuta 24 September 2018

1986 dieselpunk fantasy: AniDB, vt "Laputa: Castle in the Sky" and "Castle in the Sky". Pazu the engineer's apprentice catches a girl falling from the sky; bad people are after her, and all is not what it seems as various factions hunt for the legendary floating city Laputa.

The backgrounds are gorgeous, as in everything where Miyazaki has had control, so it's rather a shame that the lead character designs are so crude: very much in the tradition of mid-1980s anime, sure, but they're clearly optimised for fast drawing in manga rather than for detail or subtlety. The further you get away from the leads, the more variation is allowed: "Mama" Dola, leader of the pirate gang chasing the girl Sheeta, and some of her crew are much more interestingly designed (though a few could have dropped straight out of Lupin III), and while the lead government agent is reminiscent of many other untrustworthy-neat-guy characters the soldiers do a better job of looking like distinct people.

The thing that impresses me most about the animation is the way the movements work: an engineer, fixing the guts of an airship power plant in a confined space, moves in the way one does when one's near, but used to, fast-moving dangerous things. And yes, there are the requisite implausible flying ships, both peaceful and warlike: some are relatively conventional airships, but others are bulbous solid shapes bedizened with propellers and rotors and rudders and turrets. Aerodynamics clearly works differently here, and that's just fine.

As for the plot, it has a pleasing sophistication in how it makes (some) enemies into allies rather than just writing them off as Bad People; perhaps that's why the eventual resolution strikes me as a little on the trite and simplistic side.

A continuity of influence stretches back to the Future Boy Conan series (also directed by Miyazaki) and forward, at least as far as visual tropes go, into Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, No Game No Life, and the Final Fantasy games, among many others. That's why a great deal about this film looks familiar to the experienced anime viewer, much as The Lord of the Rings is full of tired old fantasy tropes; but it still stands well on its own.

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action advent of code aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech aviation base commerce battletech beer boardgaming book of the week bookmonth chain of command children chris chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup covid-19 crime cthulhu eternal cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics en garde espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 essen 2019 essen 2022 essen 2023 existential risk falklands war fandom fanfic fantasy feminism film firefly first world war flash point flight simulation food garmin drive gazebo genesys geocaching geodata gin gkp gurps gurps 101 gus harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo 2020 hugo 2022 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life javascript julian simpson julie enfield kickstarter kotlin learn to play leaving earth linux liquor lovecraftiana lua mecha men with beards mpd museum music mystery naval noir non-fiction one for the brow opera parody paul temple perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics postscript powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha python quantum rail raku ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs ruby rust scala science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance the weekly challenge thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel type 26 type 31 type 45 vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1