Negadon: The Monsters from Mars is a short Japanese animated film which you can watch in it’s entirety legally on Manga Entertainment’s YouTube feed. It is a 28 minutes computer graphics animated film with a realistic animation style. Think more Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within and less Pixar film.
The animation style is beautifully done and fits with a nostalgic motif meant to bring to mind special effects from films made during the 1950s and 1960s. It works. The film feels like a movie out of a different era stylistically with the music, technology, and monster to match.
Surrounding our main character, we see it’s the year 2025 and mankind has led manned expeditions to Mars. They are bringing back some subsurface formation they found on Mars in a spacecraft when the ship catches fire and it crashes into downtown Tokyo. Inside the rock formation is a monster which begins to wreak havoc on the city. That’s where our protagonist Ryûichi Narasaki comes into the picture.
Ryûichi Narasaki is a robotics engineer who has been out of the game for a number of years after a tragic incident involving his daughter and a manned robot he had built. A former student of his is trying to convince him to return back into the field, but to no avail. The plot follows as Narasaki continues to struggle with the pain from the incident, dealing with the world around him catching fire, and a sense of responsibility he has knowing he needs to do the right thing for the people of Tokyo. Much like a bottle episode of a television show, much of the most interesting parts of the episode come from the Narasaki alone dealing with his emotions. His emotions are conflicted and complex, and he’s suffering internally for them. The emotion that Narasaki feels isn’t lost in the dubbed version.
I enjoyed the film and would recommend it to others. It’s a darker picture and can be scary for younger viewers, so I wouldn’t recommend it for kids. As mentioned above, you can watch it in its entirety at Manga Entertainment’s YouTube feed. Or below:
P.S. For more check out the piece I wrote about Negadon over at Beneath the Tangles here.