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.