By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
Available to purchase on Amazon USA
Not everyone will recall Hayao Miyazaki worked on various animated television shows before transitioning to making feature-length films. He provided key animation to films like Puss in Boots and Animal Treasure Island. Those haven’t received a Blu-ray upgrade yet, but with the release of Future Boy Conan, it’s safe to assume they will one day come. In the meantime, this product is a must to give to any collector of this filmmaker’s works. Christmas is coming.
GKIDS & Shout! Factory’s release of this whimsical post-apocalyptic style adventure can see how this first-time director whetted his feet as an up-and-coming director. Although he changed a lot of the story–it was supposed to be an adaptation of The Incredible Tide by Alexander Key–the problems that later arose meant that for a time, no North American release was possible despite having having an English dub stuck in storage for decades (it was redone for this release).
Key was presented with the product and he disliked the changes. Miyazaki defended his decisions, and the two studios (estates) would be at odds for decades. Key told his family that it should never be released in North America. He had no problems with Disney adapting Escape to Witch Mountain because he set his tale in a different era when cold war fears were prevalent, and this studio wanted a tale set in the present (70s).
Dealing with NHK isn’t tough, but just needed Key’s estate to consider what’s best as time went by.
This blu-ray release is gorgeous. Unlike those old television upgrades to DVD, the colour restoration to this higher fidelity format is very vivid and sharp. The character designs are very 70s and the story holds up. Older fans will appreciate this release more. Plus, the set offers a 16-page pamphlet for those wanting a glimpse at the reference material used during production. In this booklet and the early episodes, shades of what would later become Laputa: Castle in the Sky are noticeable.
Although this anime is set in a future torn asunder by humanity’s quest for the ultimate weapon, the world looks like it’s about to experience a rebirth. Twenty years may not seem enough in realistic standards, but for Conan, a young boy raised by scientists, he doesn’t know beyond what’s around him on a tiny island. He lives the jungle life and is very much a Tarzan boy. But when a mysterious girl washes up on a beach and he rescues her, trouble is coming! Lana comes from the mysterious land of Industria, and he wants to know more. But when soldiers arrive to take her away, he can’t save her. He’ll have to make allies and this series is a hilarious romp at showing who’ll join him.
Having others by his side is important. Apparently, she holds the key to this world’s future….