Future Boy Conan


I have just finished watching this series on fansubs after an epic two week struggle to download the lot and find time to watch them.

For those who don't know, this was the first Tv series Hayao Miyazaki solo directed (well most of it) back in 1978, making it a daunting 28 years old.

I had heard a great deal of good stuff about this series, mostly comparisons to 'Castle in the Sky' though with hindsight i think comparisons to Nausicaa are rather more correct.

Anyway, i was fully enthused with the expectation of watching 13 hours of Miyazaki, almost expecting a massive epic. was i disapointed?

Well yes and no.

Firstly the animation, for a 1978 tv series, is superb. Especially notable is the fact that scenes were not reused very often, and generally when they were, it was in a different episode or at least far appart in each episode, which wouldn't be apparent to most, and as such it manages to escape the 'tacky' nature of many old tv shows. The actual animation is very good as well, far in excess of what i expected. The colours are slightly 'drab' compared to modern series, though the quality is far in excess of stuff like 'battle of the planets' and it even looks better than the 6 years younger Macross.

Now to the nitty gritty - the story. Well the actual background - post apocyliptic always appeals to me, it is probably my favorite type of sci fi in all, and the water world like idea is very good (unlike most i actually liked waterworld :p) and it does manage to avoid too much travelling between islands. The basic story is classic miyazaki - two strong willed young children fight to save their peaceful homes against technology and dictators.

The characters are very notable. The series also has a somewhat surprising degree of humour for miyazaki - i mean slapstick type. Those who have seen Castle of Cagliostro will know what i mean - this bares very close resemblance to that film in many parts. Though the fact that a kid gets beaten to a pulp visibly and has another kid smoking definately show this was a 70s show! The cast are likable, though the usual miyazaki 'redemption' type stories are perhaps overdone in this - Almost everyone you meet seems to start bad and ends up good, save two notable cases. It works in one case Dyce but it jarred a little in the other Mosley

Finally to the thoughts and specifics. Well the first two episodes and the last 5 or so rank, in my eyes at least, amongst the best miyazaki has ever done. The first two episodes really wanted me watching more, and are classic post apocylitpica. The last five are epic, and i'm sure the animation budget went slightly overboard for episodes 24 and 25!

However i did have problems with the series. I never thought i'd complain about miyazaki repeating himself but the middle of the series really does slump to me. There seems to be a constant Capture > Escape > Capture dynamic going on which begins to get really boring around mid season. Also, i know Miyazaki likes 'redemption' of 'bad' characters, but some of the 'bad' are just absolutely stupid and badly characterised i'm talking about Orla and his sister which is very un miyazaki. Perhaps those character could have been chopped, and an 18 episode series would have been close to perfect, but we'll never know.

All in all though, despite my views of parts of it, for Miyazaki's first series at the helm, it is a triumph in many ways. It always has his classic charm even when the story doesn't quite match up, but when it works, oh boy it really works! i do recomend seeing it if you are into fansubbing - this was my first fansubbed series, and for the most part, i was very impressed!

(All IMO of course)
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Laughing Manji

School Idol
Well I watched it a good while back, and what a gripping yarn it was too. I agree with you that the nausicaa comparison is more appropriate, the Laputa comparison comes in with the two protagonists: Pazu & Sheeta are simply reincarnations of Conan & Lana in everything but name (even down to Lana/Sheeta being the key for the technology that everyone lusts after).

Thoroughly enjoyable and highly recommended. memory is getting a bit fuzzy about the parts you were most critical of. The fact that they didn't leave a strong enough impression may mean that my experience tallys with yours there too.