|Oh dear... That's not very good.|
Memories (also known as Otomo Katsuhiro's Memories) is an anime produced in 1995 by artist/director Katsuhiro Otomo which were based on three of his manga short stories. The film is composed of three episodes: "Magnetic Rose" (彼女の想いで, Kanojo no Omoide?), "Stink Bomb" (最臭兵器, Saishū-heiki?) and "Cannon Fodder" (大砲の街, Taihō no Machi?).
The Corona, a deep space salvage freighter, while out on a salvage mission encounters a distress signal coming from deep space and decides to follow it. They soon come upon a spaceship graveyard orbiting a large jagged mass at its center - a giant space station. The crew's two main engineers, Heintz and Miguel, decide to enter it to get a closer look.
Once they gain entry, they discover an opulent European interior, and several furnished rooms with numerous belongings (some in varying degrees of decay), but they find no other signs of life. Further exploration reveals that the station belongs to a once famous opera diva named Eva Friedal, who one day passed her prime, and then disappeared after the murder of her fiancée, Carlo Rambaldi, who was also a fellow singer. Continuing the search for the diva and the source of the signal, the two engineers split up, each experiencing strange paranormal encounters along the way, including strange noises and visions of Eva herself. Miguel slowly enters the increasingly dilapidated underbelly of the station, and in a cavernous, slime-ridden chamber he finds a broken piano playing the distress signal. He soon becomes enveloped in a hallucination and Eva suddenly runs up to him, kissing him.
Heintz meanwhile finds himself on a theater stage and sees Eva with her back turned, who stabs him when he approaches her. Suddenly paralyzed, Heintz relives a memory of life with his family, particularly with his daughter, Emily. The illusion becomes dashed, however, when Eva takes over his wife's form and eerily informs him that he "will never leave". He wakes up to find the scene turned into a white organic resin, which was what made the memory tangibly real. Heintz rushes to save Miguel, only to find too late, that he had been fully seduced by Eva into thinking he is Carlo. Eva confronts Heintz directly for interfering, as she reveals that she had murdered the real Carlo for refusing to marry her, forcing others over the years to perpetuate his image as she saw fit. She then makes Heintz relive the memory of his daughter's death, and nearly convinces him to join her by "reuniting" him with a clone of her, but he manages to resist and shoot the massive supercomputer embedded in the ceiling, the source of the AI creating the illusions and distress signals causing Eva, apparently a hologram projected over a robot, to malfunction.
The crew still on the Corona have since been struggling against an increasingly-powerful magnetic field emanating from the station, pulling the ship and other bits of wreckage towards it. In their desperation, they fire off a powerful energy cannon (usually used to destroy unusable salvage), gouging the structure deep enough to reach the cavern. Heintz is violently sucked out into space (along with the remains of Eva's past victims), as Eva hauntingly sings to a conjured audience, as the Corona along with pieces of wreckage are crushed together to form a rose-like shape around the station. The episode ends with a glimpse of the remains of the real Eva, while the robot "Eva" converses romantically with a hypnotized Miguel. Heintz is last seen drifting alone in space, still alive.
More comical in tone than "Magnetic Rose", "Stink Bomb" is about a young lab technician, Nobuo Tanaka, who is battling the flu. He mistakes some experimental pills found on the facility director's desk for cold pills and swallows them. The pills turn out to be part of a biological weapon program, reacting to the chemicals in the flu shot inside his body. Tanaka soon acquires a literally, deadly body odor and becomes a walking weapon of mass destruction. While taking a nap, the odor he emits kills everyone in the Lab. Horrified, he reports the incident to headquarters, as they instruct him to deliver the experimental drug and sensitive documents about it to Tokyo. Meanwhile, the odor he emits grows stronger to where it seems to affect the surrounding area for several miles on the ground and into the atmosphere, killing virtually every living thing that smells his odor, except for flowers and plants, which strangely grow into full bloom in the dead of winter. His odor evidently kills everything in the Yamanashi Prefecture, including nearly all 200,000 inhabitants of Kōfu city that did not escape in time. Nobuo continues on to Tokyo unaware of the death and destruction his smell is inadvertently causing, but has caught the attention of the rest of the country, horrifying it and putting it in complete panic. The head of the research company and the Japanese military deduce that Tanaka is causing the poisonous gas and order him to be killed. The Japanese Military tries in vain to stop Nobuo, causing immense collateral damage to the Japanese countryside, but to no avail.
The U.S. military, who have been observing the situation to that point, utilizes Japanese policy to take over the operation, and calls in an NASA unit of three men in super-powered space suits to try capture Nobuo, who they want alive. Unaware of this operation, the Japanese army collapses part of the bridge to prevent Nobuo from escaping, trapping him in a tunnel while they turn on wind repulsion devices loaded with Liquid Nitrogen in an attempt to freeze him. Tanaka becomes scared, disabling the machines while leaving the three aeronautic soldiers unscathed. The soldiers force Tanaka into an exosuit and bring him back to the military headquarters in Tokyo. Tanaka makes his way through the headquarters building, unaware that he is the source of the biological contamination. He then opens his exosuit, killing everyone in the building.
The film relies on black comedy associated with the ridiculously lethal nature of the main character and the total ineptitude portrayed on the part of the Japanese Military; calling out tanks, heavy artillery and even bombers, the military fails to kill or even hinder the main character's progress towards Tokyo on a scooter. Among other things, this film is perhaps noteworthy for its portrayal of a war room (a scene common in kaiju films) as under the heavy influence of the American military.
It is mentioned in the interview featurette that the story for "Stink Bomb" is based on an actual event. This may be referring to the toxic death of Gloria Ramirez.
In a walled city at war, everyone's lives and livelihood depend upon maintaining and firing the enormous cannons that make up most of the city. Nearly every building in the city is equipped with a cannon of varying size, able to fire huge artillery shells over the city walls. Though the story is centered around a young boy and his father, who works as a lowly cannon-loader, the film is dedicated to the lives of the anonymous citizens of the city who slave to fuel and maintain this parody of the twentieth century war machine.
During the course of the film, the city is surrounded in clouds of smoke and dust and the mobile "enemy city" is never shown, despite continuous reports of great success, leading the viewers to speculate if there really is an enemy at all, or if the walled city is simply firing into the clouds to perpetuate a war that has become its entire means of economy. This theme is similar to that of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, albeit with a surrealistic tone.
At the end of the movie, the boy comes home from school, with a news reporter on the television talking about the near-destruction of the enemy city. The boy hops into his bed, saying that someday he wants to be the exalted officer who fires the cannons, and not become a worker like his father.
Through unusual animation techniques, the illusion is created that the film consists of one continuous shot or a long take.