© 1991 Kia Asamiyu / Kadokawa Publishing Co. Ltd.
Silent Möbius: The Motion Picture
Silent Möbius: The Motion Picture is a early 90's title based on the manga by Kia Asamiyu. Released by Streamline (before they went out of business), the story takes place in in Tokyo in the near future, when demons and other nasties seem to be a bit of a problem. A special task force called the AMP (Abnormal Mystery Police) has been formed solely for the purpose of investigating and eliminating these other-worldly threats.
Silent Möbius opens with a tense sequence involving the lead character, Katsumi Liqueur, and the rest of the AMP as they attempt to chase down and apprehend a villain known only as Lucifer Hawk. It seems that Lucifer Hawk is a long-time enemy of the AMP. The group is unable to apprehend him, until Katsumi makes her appearance wielding some sort of living sword.
When Katsumi eventually meets up with Lucifer Hawk, things suddenly switch to a flashback. It is during the flashback that we meet Katsumi's mother, Miyuka, who has been hospitalized for reasons unknown. It is revealed that Lucifer Hawk is the nemesis of Miyuka, for Miyuka is one of the few who possesses enough power to defeat him. During this time, Katsumi is ignorant of all of this, until she accidentally gets involved with the AMP during a chance encounter in an alleyway. After the lengthy flashback, things fast-forward back to the present for a final showdown with Lucifer Hawk.
While Silent Möbius's running time is only a scant 50 minutes (and thus, doesn't really qualify it as a "motion picture"), it seems to run on a bit longer than that, primarily due to the excellent pacing. Katsumi's flashback makes up a bulk of the movie and serves as a very good look into her character, how she met up with the AMP, and the motivations for both her and Lucifer Hawk. Fortunately, this movie does not try to develop any of the supporting cast, besides Katsumi's mother, and in doing so, allows most of the focus to remain on Katsumi. I was quite impressed with the balance between action and plot, neither of which override the other. The only real issue I have is with the transition from the present to Katsumi's flashback. Unless you pay attention to the dates flashed on the screen, it's not immediately obvious what has happened.
The artwork is just gorgeous. Rich colors and a heavy use of shading makes for a very solid visual style. The animation was pretty good as well, on par with most anime, and the music was quite atmospheric. I wish I could say the same for the English voice acting, but I can't. A lot of the actors sounded too much like they were just reading their scripts, rather than acting them. Admittedly, it is an older Streamline dub, but it was still rather weak.
Silent Möbius is a very solid anime worth checking out (especially if you're a Kia Asamiyu fan). It's too bad a subtitled release isn't available, but here's hoping another company will license it for a re-release.
The Verdict: * * * 1/2 (above average)
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