(Koichi Mashimo, Japan, 1986)
It took me quite a time to decide if this was an utter mess or if it was really something worthy of my concentration. After much application of cranial faculties I decided that it was indeed a very clever and intelligent piece of Japanese animation, but that based upon a single viewing, an insightful interpretation by your humble reviewer is still beyond him. Never have I wanted to be on LSD more - in the vain hope that this, then, might be more straightforward! For behind the deceptively simple sleeve design and notes (that do not even hint at the scope of this work) lies what can most simply be described as 'The X-Men on acid'.
One the face of it, Love City shares a plot that has close connections to Akira - escapees with psychic powers from a research laboratory fight their pursuers. Like the anime equivalent of a fractal pattern, upon closer scrutiny, Love City begins to look ever more complex.
I believe the opening images are a clue to where this story is truly coming from. Animated sparks, simulating chemical activity, travel along neural networks. The non-stop flow of bright, simple colours woven within complex patterns and much talk of genes and DNA and the evolution of mankind, all point to a bigger picture than is being presented at face value. Time has little meaning within the non-linear plot and is further twisted by flashes to other events. There are visually surreal horrors that add to the cryptic and psychedelic presentation but which often also add clues to the big scheme of things.
what is that 'big scheme'? Okay here's my personal take on Love City: The
characters and their battles are a metaphor for the process of thought. There
are no good guys, there are no bad guys - just electrical impulses. But then maybe,
just maybe, it is about super-human beings fighting an evil dude who looks like
a Marvel character as if drawn by Jack Kirby. Hea-vy man! 6/10
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