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Twilight Q

Twilight Q est une série de 2 OVA de 30 min sorties en 1987.

  1. Time Knot: Reflection, réalisé par Tomomi Mochizuki sur un scénario de Ito Kazunori.
  2. Mystery Case (Meikyu Bukken) - File 538, scénario et réalisation de Mamoru Oshii.

Meikyu Bukken File 538  :

Original Story, Screenplay, Director: Mamoru Oshii
Producer: Shin Unosawa, Makoto Kubo
Character Design: Katsuya Kondō
Animation Director: Shinji Ōtsuka
Art Director: Hiromasa Ogura
Camera Director: Seiichi Morishita
Audio Director: Shigeharu Shiba
Music: Kenji Kawai

BURIED TREASURE by Justin Sevakis
source : AnimeNewsNetwork
traduction en cours

Written and directed by Mamoru Oshii, File 538 is a strange little OAV that will surely test a lot of people's patience. It's a slow experimental piece, heavy on dialogue and voice over and punctuated with pieces of visual absurdity.

The story is a strange one. One terribly hot summer in Tokyo, airplanes have been disappearing from the sky. According to eye-witnesses, they appear to be turning into large carp, but no actual evidence of gigantic carp in the sky has yet been recorded. Needless to say, the news media and the government are in total confusion over this (the public is strangely apathetic). But there's no mistake, as we see it ourselves in the first scene of the OVA. One minute the pilots are talking to air traffic control. The next minute, the hull is bursting into scales, the tail becomes the grand, semi-transparent tail of a carp, and a giant jet-sized fish is swimming across the sky.

But never mind that. The main character of the story is a private detective, down on his luck to the point of nearly starving. He finally gets a job, observing a strange man and a snotty-nosed pants-less little girl, no older than two and wearing an oversize metal helmet. Their last place of residence is a small apartment in a slum neighborhood on the outskirts of town. The building looks abandoned and derelict, and one day the detective is driven to enter the apartment. He finds no man, but only the girl asleep on a futon, as well as a carp gasping for air and flapping about on the futon next to her, and a word processor. The detective hits "Print", and a document starts printing: "This story has been prepared for you, my successor, who should be visiting this room in due time."

And so he reads the man's chronicle of his descent in this world of slow agony. In the roasting summer, the narrator (who was once an impoverished detective himself) took the same job. It seemed, at times, like there had never been any work for him, as he'd been without a client for so long. And then he got one: a strange, aimless request to take surveillance of a man and a small child living in a dilapidated old apartment building. Yes, the same one. He's unable to get any identification or records for either the man or the little girl, and the two apparently did nothing but eat, sleep and defecate from the window. He has a feeling they aren't really father and daughter.

The little girl loves fish, and when she sees a plane fly overhead, she shouts, "FISH!" and -- sure enough -- the plane turns into a giant carp. The apartment itself turns into a ruin when its inhabitants are away. As the days and weeks pile on, the narrator has an identity crisis, and enters the apartment himself. He finds, soon enough, that he has taken the man's place. And then the cycle starts again. What's become of the original adult? Well... there's fish for dinner.

File 538 is clearly an important work in Oshii's catalog; a reflection of the short time he spent truly down on his luck after Urusei Yatsura ended, as well as an ode to his father - himself a down-and-out private detective. (For Oshii fans, Detective Matsui of Patlabor is essentially the same character.) There's a claustrophobic sense of baking to death in the small apartment, and as the man sweats in the dark shadow of the place, his eyes roll into the back of his head. For Oshii, these insufferable, surreal days of summer are when the mind starts playing tricks on oneself, and the desperation of being down on one's luck starts to take its psychological toll.

The scenario with the girl (and what, it's revealed eventually, she is exactly) is no doubt a dream, one caused by heat, hunger and depressed desperation. In that case it's hard to say whether dreaming is an escape exactly, or rather the clouded perception of reality by a brain that doesn't want to function under these conditions. For Oshii, the difference between those dreams and reality scarcely matters. In Brian Ruh's book The Stray Dog of Anime, Oshii says, "for me, personally, whether it's a dream or reality isn't that important. You can't rely on memory, so the way you see yourself at any given moment is 'you,' and how you see the world around you makes up your reality."

File 538 is challenging viewing, and its experimental tone and minimalist production nearly require the film to be viewed more as modern art rather as "anime" as the world and most fans perceive it. The animation is scant, and often unmoving, like looking through surrealist photographs. The look of it is a foreign, strange landscape; a lifeless and bombed out city, constructed out of stills in an eerie, documentary sort of way. (This, no doubt, is inspired by Chris Marker's 1962 French sci-fi film La Jetée, of which Oshii is a fan.) Art director Shichiro Kobayashi (Utena, Loveless, TO-Y) further refines the blend of film noir and surrealist techniques he began in Angel's Egg. Just when it seems like the story pulls a deus ex machina, we see that it's not; but rather attempting another trick on our perception.

Twilight Q is a strange set of OAV's. Though Oshii, Ito and Takada didn't work together directly, it is this project from which the collaboration of HEADGEAR and the genesis of Patlabor would be born. The work (particularly the first part) may be flawed, but its place in anime history is an important one, and the second part is doubtless one of the great experimental works that will likely be closely examined by university types for years to come. How much you get out of it will depend entirely on your ability to interpret art.

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