Genre: Adventure, Steampunk
Manchester, 1866. Young Ray is obsessed with machinery and invention, like his father and grandfather who are in America working on something big. When his grandfather sends him an invention of his, some powerful men try to take it. Ray must try to keep the device safe and find out who the good guys are.
This film is beautifully animated, with 2d people and 3d machinery fitting well together. A lot of care has gone into the design of advanced steam-powered machinery and the way it looks and moves. It even has a well-acted English dub, featuring Patrick Stewart and other ‘real’ actors, who mostly manage to get accents within 200 miles of where they’re supposed to be. All of which just makes the actual plot even more disappointing.
Everything in this film has been done before, only better. Parts of it felt literally lifted from other places: Nausicaa, Read or Die, and virtually anything steampunk spring to mind. Not a single one of the characters is likeable enough to care about. The fact that the good guys aren’t much better than the bad guys is both obvious and overplayed. And like so many films it has to go for the huge climactic big scenes of win, while completely missing out on the subtlety of character that a series has time to develop.
People who’ve never seen anime before and need a gentle introduction that won’t tax their brain cells may find this suitable. Everybody else should steer clear.