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Twilight Q

Entry updated 5 July 2021. Tagged: TV.

Japanese Original Video Animation (OVA) (1987). 60 minutes. Colour. Originally conceived as an Anime anthology series (see Television Anthology Series) with the title evoking The Twilight Zones; only one volume was issued, containing two story segments:

1. Time Knot: Reflection (original title Toki no Musubime Rifurekushon). Ajia-do Animation Works. Directed by Tomomi Mochizuki. Written by Kazunori Itō. Voice cast includes Mako Hyōdō. 30 minutes. Colour.

In August 1987, Mayumi (Hyōdō) finds an old camera whilst snorkelling; she has the film developed and finds it contains a picture of her with an unfamiliar young man. The puzzled manufacturer says the camera is a new model not due for release until mid-1988 (see Time Paradoxes): it now disappears, leaving a glass table cracked. In 1993 Mayumi returns to the island, tagging along with a scientific team investigating ocean Pollution: a convoluted tree now grows on the beach, Mayumi touches it and fades away. She is temporarily unstuck in time: appearing in 2039 where she sees her grave, but with a different surname; then 1936, in the midst of the February 26 Incident, an attempted military coup she'd been taught at school, remarking, "It's not the same as what I learned". Finally, 1987, where she is found unconscious in the school laboratory. Later, in August 1988, she meets the man from the photograph on a liner, his surname the same as on her grave. A child takes their photograph, and Mayumi knows the right pose to adopt. Shortly after the camera falls into the sea.

This is an enigmatic but likable tale of Time Travel and possible Alternate History.

2. Mystery Article File 538 (original title Meikyū Bukken Fairu Go San Hachi). Studio Deen. Directed and written by Mamoru Oshii. Voice cast includes Mako Hyōdō and Tetsuya Kaji. 30 minutes. Colour.

An airliner turns into a giant Koi carp, but remains airborne, swimming through the sky: a news report mentions the 17th disappeared plane this month.

A Private Investigator walks into an apartment containing a Koi carp flopping on a bed and a very young child (Hyōdō) wearing a military helmet, who calls aeroplanes "fish". He reads a message left by the previous occupant: he too was a PI, also employed to monitor the child and man in this apartment; the latter too being a PI. The author had lost all sense of Identity and time, believing the world was created for the child, a Goddess (see Gods and Demons), and that these events have been repeating for hundreds, maybe thousands of years. It appears he is now the carp on the bed and is to be eaten by his replacement.

But this is only a story written by the room's adult occupant (Kaji), who tells it to his agent over the phone: but they want a "more normal" tale. Angrily he prepares dinner and guts the carp: staring out the window the child watches an airliner's belly slit open and passengers fall out.

Save for the unfortunate aeroplanes, the film is very static, often using tinted photographs as scenery. Though accusations of pretentiousness would not be unfounded, this is a fascinating, surrealist (see Absurdist SF) and atmospheric work. [SP]


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