Venus Wars

Tagged: Film

Japanese animated film (1989). Original title Vinasu Senki. Based on the Manga by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko. Kugatsusha. Directed by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko. Written by Yūichi Sasamoto and Yoshikazu Yasuhiko. Voice cast includes Eriko Hara, Yuko Sasaki, Kaneto Shiozawa and Katsuhida Uekusa. 103 minutes. Colour.

In 2003 Venus was hit by an ice Comet, losing its atmosphere but gaining moisture, which Earth uses as the basis to first Terraform and then colonize the planet (see Colonization of Other Worlds). By 2089 the two continental states, Ishtar and Aphrodia, are at War. Earth journalist Susan Sommers (Hara) arrives in Aphrodia's capital just as it is occupied by the Ishtar forces (see Invasion), with a treaty signed and a curfew imposed. The Killer Commandos, who race one-wheeled motorbikes competitively (see Games and Sports) find their lives changed, reacting in different ways, some complacently, others angrily: one of the latter is Hiro Seno (Uekusa). Finding their manager is an arms smuggler, Miranda (Sasaki) persuades the others to take out an Ishtar tank patrolling their now ruined race track: they messily succeed but need to be rescued by the Aphrodian resistance and find themselves dragooned as members, though eventually all but Hiro are allowed to leave. The Resistance has advanced militarized monobikes, which Hiro becomes adept at using. In a confrontation between the Ishtarian army and the Resistance, Hiro manages to destroy the tank of the Ishtar general, Gerhard Donner (Shiozawa). His death throws the Ishtarian forces into disarray and Aphrodia is liberated.

Save for Susan, who gets some development – shallow until one of the Commandos she likes is killed, she then tries to assassinate Donner (but forgets to take off the safety catch), ending up a better person – the characters are otherwise one-note and largely unremarkable. Hiro is near-permanently angst-ridden and tough Miranda is underused. There is also an unpleasant piece of homophobia, with a cynical coward in the Resistance being gay. The plot is rushed, particularly the latter half, and unconvincing, with one man's death destabilizing an entire army. The Anime's appeal is in the action scenes and the animation: the former are suitably exciting, the latter – particularly the scenery, which sometimes uses heavily treated live-action shots – is very watchable. [SP]

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