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Ai City

Entry updated 3 May 2021. Tagged: Film.

Japanese Original Video Animation (OVA) (1986; vt Love City). Based on the Manga by Shuho Itahashi, aka SYUFO. Ashi Productions. Directed by Kōichi Mashimo. Written by Hideki Sonoda. Voice cast includes Kiyoshi Kobayashi, Mami Koyama, Ichirō Nagai, Nachi Nozawa, Hirotaka Suzuoki, Yuki Ueda and Takeshi Watabe. 86 minutes. Colour.

The film opens in medias res with a car chase across a City: in the car are two men, K (Suzuoki) and a private investigator, Reiden (Nozawa); a girl, Ai (Ueda), and an intelligent cat: they are pursued by a levitating woman, K2 (Koyama), and her motorcycle gang. A battle of Psi Powers between K and K2 follows, with K the victor: aside from tearing off K2's clothes (see Fan Service), his powers also tear a hole in the fabric of the city, exposing another Dimension. The damage is repaired by Fraud, an organization led by the Cyborged Mr Lee (Kobayashi). Though an agent of Fraud, K2 now allies herself with the four: seeking clothes, she dresses as a bunny-girl.

Giant heads then emerge from the street – created by Lai Lo Ching (Nagai), a tiny man who dwells in the glass head of an Android and a former associate of Mr Lee; he destroys most of the city and kidnaps Ai. Everyone ends up at Fraud HQ, a glowing skyscraper hundreds of stories high: combat ensues. A monstrous creature issues from Lai: Genetic Alloy (Watabe), a DNA-devouring monster.

We cut to the past, where four Scientists – including Lee, (a normal sized) Lai and K (who has brought a cat into the laboratory) – have been experimenting with genes. They accidentally create Biopollution: "artificial Evolution of, by and for the genes themselves". A side effect has people acquiring Telekinesis and other powers. The scientists managed to encode humanity's original biodata into Ai's cells "to act as a trigger to reactivate the human biodata memory cells: a living anti-biopollution programme!". Ai is a young Clone of K's dead girlfriend, whom he rescued and now treats as his daughter: Fraud wanted to recapture her because she can also amplify other people's psi powers.

Genetic Alloy is the personification of Biopollution, and announces the end of humanity with "an ideal world is being born, a world of only genes": this is the world glimpsed in the earlier battle between K and K2. But Ai's love for K boosts his power to infinity and he forces Genetic Alloy to consume itself: "self-cannibalization ... the ultimate form of evolution?!". The five celebrate their victory, but then disappear one by one. We then suddenly cut to the film's opening car chase; the end credits roll, to finish with an eye opening and closing in the sky.

The plot is only loosely based on the source manga: it moves things forward but does not bear close examination. The Time Loop ending is something of a non-sequitur, there to surprise rather than as a logical outcome of previous events. That said, Ai City is an entertaining Anime, with a touch of surrealism and interesting visuals: the characterization is modest, but better than is often the case with action anime of this era, though the cat and Reiden are mainly there for comic relief and exposition. [SP]


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