Twilight Q

Mamoru Oshii has become one of the most famous anime directors of recent memory. With Ghost in the Shell, Angel's Egg, Jin-Roh, and the two Patlabor movies, his name has become synonymous in the anime community with thought-provoking, slow-moving, intelligent features. One of his programs that has disappeared into obscurity, however, is the second episode of Twilight Q. Originally, Twilight Q was supposed to be an OVA anthology series of different twisted stories, but only two episodes were ever released. Oshii's episode, titled "Labyrinth Article File 538," is possibly one of the weirdest, unexplainable shows I've ever seen. Though many will find it interesting to watch to see Oshii developing the styles that he would eventually use in his motion pictures, it's really for his fans only.

Though the plot is a little bizarre to explain, the best thing I can describe is this: airplanes are turning into carp. Yes, carp. But nobody really understands the whole thing, and nobody has yet proven that airplanes do indeed turn into carp. A detective who lives with a half-dressed little girl (assumedly his daughter, but nothing's too certain) finally gets a case to investigate these two folks that might be behind the missing airplanes, and through tons of dialogue, we learn about this detective and what he finds out. That's pretty much it.

I am a pretty patient man most of the time. Films that others find longwinded I find fascinating. It takes a lot for me to get bored. And, unfortunately, Twilight Q is just that. For the most part, Twilight Q is a radio drama, not an anime. Though there are pictures of barren cityscapes and some shots of the detective and his daughter, and there's a little bit of animation surrounding those two, this is animation at its most minimalistic. There's lots of dialogue, but it doesn't really take us anywhere.

Even though I also found Oshii's Ghost in the Shell dull, at least I could relate to the discussion. Here, I didn't find even that worthwhile. From my plot description, you should get the idea that there's not much way to know what's really going on. If I could even enjoy it as a mindtrip, I would, but I couldn't. Where the ending of Akira enthralls me and bizarre flights like Lain and Boogiepop Phantom intrigue me, this was not a ride worth taking. I didn't care a thing for the characters, the animation, or the method of storytelling.

Though Mamoru Oshii has a great reputation now, and it's rightfully deserved, Twilight Q is easily one of his worst efforts to date. Only recommended for extreme fans.

Twilight Q: Labyrinth Article File 538 -- nothing objectionable, but very strange -- D