by Gristle McThornbody
I’ve watched Dead Leaves 4.67 times, and you know what, I still don’t know what the hell’s going on. Allegedly, the plot revolves around the main characters, Pandy, who has a large red panda-like marking over right eye, and Retro who has a CRT television for a head, whose quest in the 52 minutes of this in-yo-face wild ride of an animu is to find out who they are after mysteriously waking up naked in the outskirts of the city. In order to do this, they have to explode quite a lot of things, get arrested and then find the answers to their questions on their moon prison.
You think I’m doing drugs? While that’s not wholly untrue (my boy Charlie from SoCal’s got the hookups, man), that’s the plot as far as I could interpolate it out. I think. Basic storyline aside, it should not go without pointing out the more absurd aspects of DL out. Did you know that inside this moon prison are inmates who turn out to be failed genetic experiments, and thus have all kinds of odd maladies, quirks, or “appendages”.
Of all the things I can go on and on and on about with this movie I can’t help but love the pacing. There is not a time where something is not happening. Hell, even the times that one could guess is just filler, such as the prison sex scene, somehow leads to a plot point. This one point can be amongst the top reasons of why this is such an over the top, out-there-where-the-buses-aren’t-running-but-still-entertaining, thing, to watch. It’s just insane how much Production I.G. manages to cram into this movie.
So, if you want walk around for days in a daze trying to process what has just transpired in front of you, find a way to get your grubby hands on this. It’s a 52 minute animated hallucination with a great soundtrack that will for sure have you scratching your head and scrounging your money around for the next hit. Have a nice day and, as always, (in the words of Retro) “Since I’m the head badass, that means you’re all my bitches”.On the subject of cramming, besides the sex, one thing you have to appreciate is the crazy ass animation in this. Stating the obvious, it is a driving force as to why Dead Leaves is so out there, and the crazy amount of colours and their combinations really do make you wonder at times if you are watching an anime or joining Jimi Hendrix on his latest acid trip from the other side of the ether. The use of shading helps to set the tone, aided by crisply drawn characters and scenery. So, after my glowing review of how it looks, you may be surprised that as it turns out after the first few minutes (which includes the police chase, as well as the requisite explosions) the budget ran out for animating the rest of the movie. Not too shabby, eh?
Fuck Yeah, Look it up!
Dead Leaves original video animation
Concept by Imai Toonz, Directed by Hiroyuki Imaishi
Produced by Production I.G., Licenced by Manga Entertainment