Robot Carnival Coming to DVD This Year

On February 3, Discotek Media announced that they have acquired the rights to the cult-classic 1987 anime anthology movie, Robot Carnival, and release the DVD sometime this year. This film consists of eight short segments, each by a different director, sandwiched in between opening and closing sequences directed by the great Katsuhiro Otomo and Atsuko Fukushima. Other directors include Koji Morimoto, Yasumomi Umetsu, and Takeshi Nakamura.

The music in Robot Carnival was created by none other than Joe Hisaishi, who we all know and love for his Studio Ghibli scores. This score fits more closely with his 1980s music, most notably Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind and Castle of the Sky. Expect stylish synth music instead of classical orchestras, in other words.

Robot Carnival is my kind of anime film: Stylish, kinetic, futuristic, a bit surreal and alien, a bit funny, a bit dangerous. Much of the animation work reminds me of Akira; either this is because many of the animator-directors on this movie worked on Otomo's 1988 masterpiece, or it's because I really don't know jack about anime. I know, I'm an "old person" now. But for my fellow Generation X'ers, Akira was a ten-megaton bomb on the popular culture. It was as big as Star Wars to us; Star Wars, of course, being The Biggest Thing Ever.

In any case, fans of 1980s anime should keep their eyes open for Robot Carnival. It has remained a cult favorite for many years, and this upcoming DVD will hopefully meet a new generation of fans (for whom anime is defined by cupie-doll soap operas...see that age thing creeping in again?)

The Discotek release will include the Japanese language soundtrack (with English subtitles), and the Streamline Pictures US dub. The Streamline is noteworthy for shuffling the order of Robot Carnival's ten segments, as well as making changes to the ending segment. Will this version be included on DVD? Only time will tell, but I would have to guess "yes."

Presented above is the Streamline Pictures trailer for Robot Carnival's theatrical release. No release date on the Discotek DVD has yet been announced, but expect it to arrive this year. I'm really looking forward to this one.


echoBlaster said...

Cool! I remember seeing this a couple of years ago. Didn't blow me away, but it was very interesting and felt quite ambitious. I think my favorite segments were the opening and closing, and the short called Cloud, by Mao Lamdo.

I think I like Manie Manie: Labyrinth Tales, or Neo-Tokyo, a bit more than Robot Carnival, though, only because it feels tighter (with only three shorts instead of ten). I hope Discotek picks up that one as well.

Christopher Sobieniak said...

Neo-Tokyo, as well as the later "Memories" do follow the same idea of relying on a trio of stories wrapped around a similar theme. Robot Carnival I suppose reaches a little further with bringing in more ideas to compile a theme of robots with.

I still like to think of Robot Carnival as a primer for anime itself, the way I first saw it before much anything else (though I did see Manie Manie's "The Running Man" earlier).

Natalie Belton said...

Man, Discoteck truly is after my own heart. They quickly seem to be becoming my favorite anime distribution company! In a dream world they would release something like Macross: Do You Remember Love? (which was the first major big budget anime alongside Nausicaa)…But because of Robotech I doubt that it will happen anytime in the near future. Oh well, I am pretty hopeful that they will continue to release the classic Toei Doga films at least.

More Ghibli Blog Posts To Discover