As London prepares for the first World Expo, the young Ray Steam receives a package containing the Steam Ball, a small and incredibly powerful engine containing hyper-pressurized steam. Developed by Ray’s father and grandfather in America under the supervision of (and funded by) the O’Hara Foundation, the Steam Ball could prove to be an asset to civilization or a great danger. But after Ray finds out that the Steam Ball must not fall into the O’Hara Foundation’s hands, he sets forth on a mission to keep the item safe and away from those who would use it to fuel a brutal war...
It is pretty much a shock to find out that this is not, in fact, an adaptation, but deliberate animated project. It feels as if 20 volumes of manga development were compressed to fit in one feature length movie. It's hard to believe the most expensive Japanese project that took over 10 years to make could have such a lousy and boring plot. Non the less it does.Gorgeous animation couldn't make up for completely mediocre story, bland characters with no development and disappointing resolution. If that is what studio was going after, it surely failed. Steam Boy feels as if it was a movie version of a TV series, where the basic story is told in a condensed manor. Maybe it should be.
An above average steam-punk adventure anime that takes a little bit of time to pick up steam (pun intended). The overall plot is average- but still better than most movie-length animes out there. It is also very well animated for its time. I liked how this anime examined some of the ideals about the dangers of the progression of science and the balance of the overall morality of the people/government. What will the government use scientific advancements for? Social development, medical advancements, weapons for war, transport vessels, etc.etc. It was surprisingly thought provoking and didn’t need heavy explanations to express the philosophies and ideas of the different characters. The action and adventure are well-choreographed but very unrealistic. The characters were ok. I can’t really complain too much about the character development since it was just one action-packed movie. You can only do so much. My gripes: The beginning was a little slower than what I’m used to Some of the inventions are beyond even modern science. They also don’t follow the natural laws of physics. Just know that there are a ton of holes in the fantasy sci-fi “logic.” Sometimes the MC would grab a new invention and instantly know exactly how to use it without ever interacting with it before. And it wasn't just how it works, the hand-eye coordination and everything were instantly mastered. There are really only two notable female characters in the entire movie to help balance the energies; and one of those is a bratty bossy female love interest for the MC. There are many dumb decisions made by influential characters, like not properly testing out the “steam soldiers” before attacking the royal guards and not having very micro-level controls over inventions and the persons involved in making them. Anyway, these gripes didn’t spoil the overall anime. It was still pretty good and one that I would recommend to sci-fi and steampunk fans. Overall a 7/10.
I love all things steampunk, so I borrowed Steamboy from the public library recently. Story: The plot had all the elements of a good plot: multiple characters whose actions collided in an exciting and suspenseful way, excellent pacing wherein no scene felt unnecessary or unnecessarily long, and the situation kept getting worse and worse until the climax, which was, admittedly, rather vague. Furthermore, the plot managed to incorporate complex themes, framed through the characters and their struggles with each other because of their beliefs about science and society. And managed to do so without long philosophical lectures. Animation: Steamboy is one of the most expensive anime films ever produced, and it really shows in the art. The backgrounds were unbelievably gorgeous, textured, detailed, dimensional, and had a great sense of depth and perspective. Gears and valves and steam were plentiful. The explosions and things being smashed and broken looked cool. The character design was a little plain, but worked. Sound: Nothing overly groundbreaking. The soundtrack fit comfortably, and the steam and gear noises were fun. Characters: Although most of them fit one trope or another, I liked that their personalities were revealed through the actions they took and through their conversations with one another--instead of through narration or monologue or flashback (which, in my opinion, are much less effective ways to develop characters). [Inner Feminist objected to the lack of female scientists, and the lack of sensible females in general. Sure, you can argue that it makes the film's atmosphere more "historically accurate," (because obviously women never were nor are sensible) but the fact of the matter is that we are in 2012 and rehashing stereotypes in the name of "historical accuracy"--especially considering the license taken with the bounds of scientific reality in this film--gets us nowhere.] Overall: Great Gears of Steam and Fire! This film is completely worth 2 hours of your time.
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