Future Boy Conan Memorial Box (LaserDisc)

Future Boy Conan Memorial Box (LaserDisc)

Future Boy Conan Memorial Box (LaserDisc)

Future Boy Conan Memorial Box (LaserDisc)

Future Boy Conan Memorial Box (LaserDisc)

Future Boy Conan is the 1978 television anime series created and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Spanning 26 half-hour episodes, it tells the tale of a group of young heroes and their adventures in a post-apocalyptic world. It perfectly balanced the cliffhanger serial style of Miyazaki's younger years with the social commentary of his later works such as Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind. If you're a fan of Castle in the Sky, then you'll love Conan, which is definitely cut from the same cloth.

This LaserDisc box set was released in Japan some years ago, and like most classic anime series for the format, it is now a prized collector's item. You can find copies on Ebay easily, but expect to spend a lot of money. Even if you don't have access to a LaserDisc player, you can enjoy the packaging, as well as the complimentary art book, which goes into detail on the series, including a number of production art stills and screenshots.

Everything is in Japanese, and there are no English subtitles on any of the discs (the only English subtitled version of Conan at present is an online fansub copy). This will be a barrier to many Western fans, and we are reminded once again that so many of Miyazaki's pre-Ghibli works remain beyond our reach.

Why is Future Boy Conan not available on our shores? I suspected licensing (read: money) is the cause, as Nippon Animation owns the rights and do not appear willing to deal with anyone. Then again, we don't know if anyone has made any formal offers. The challenge in importing an anime series from four decades ago is quite high, as a new dub soundtrack would have to be produced, and the fanbase is far too small to cover the costs. Anime fans are typically teenagers and college students, and they have more than enough on their plate from the present; they don't have much time or patience for the "old" stuff. That's okay. You and I were the same when we were their age.

At some point, somebody will have to bite the bullet and bring this great series to our shores. Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli have a solid cult following today, and that fan community is only growing over time. Sooner or later, they're going to discover that there's life beyond Totoro and Spirited Away, and movies that were made before Castle of Cagliostro and Nausicaa. I'll bet that if you sit down any Miyazaki fan and have them watch an episode, they'll become diehard fans of Conan just like you and me.

This reminds me, I really need to finish that Future Boy Conan blogathon that I began way back in 2011. By the time I reached the eighth episode, I was hit by writer's block, and couldn't find anything further to say. I need to finish that one up, certainly for the Ghibli book project and for posterity.


Christopher Sobieniak said...

Take your time!

Daniel Thomas MacInnes said...

Whoops, I just realized that I already wrote a blog post about this box set. Oh, well. It deserves a second look because it's super cool. Right?

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