No Enemy But Time
No Enemy But Time is perhaps the only American-produced animation project to truly capture the mood of anime. Even if it's as cheaply produced as... well... Everyday is Sunday with an overabundance of still frames, the 11-minute fan-produced OAV still manages to achieve the feel of a segment of Robot Carnival.
Two childhood-best-friends-turned-lovebirds are forced to separate when the space pilot boyfriend is assigned to a mission that will age him forty years. Unable to tear herself away from him, she stows away on his ship, cryogenically freezing herself, but is not quite prepared for the distance fourty years in age can bring. The story is told entirely without dialogue (which, given the production values, is probably a good thing), and despite that obsticle, the story is short, beautiful, and touching.
The music is an obsticle in and of itself. Easily the least impressive part of the anime, it ranges from corny to downright annoying, and has the artistic qualities of a recording made by smuggling a tape recorder into K-mart's electronics section. No matter; it is hardly necessary for the story. Perhaps some well-chosen new age music (or the Robot Carnival soundtrack) would be a suitable replacement.
No Enemy But Time may look cheap, the shading may be marginal, the character design may vary from scene to scene, but that's not important here. Here is a group of otaku so dedicated that they actually tried it themselves. They built an anime from the ground up and succeeded, and on a shoe-string budget, no less.
To see how they did it, a bonus making-of segment is included, which is just as entertaining as the anime itself (maybe moreso, since it doesn't have that awful music). Although the mixing is sometimes not up to par (some people simply can't be heard at all), the mini-documentary is very informative and well-presented.
Far less impressive is the last offering on the tape (obviously added to fill time, since it's roughly 23 minutes of the tapes' 41 minute running time), "Otaku's World", an absolutely nightmare-inducing parody of the Wayne's World Saturday Night Live sketch/movies. (I have yet to see a good imitation of this, come to think of it.) The two Wayne and Garth clones guide the viewer through the various anime and manga outlets of Southern California (of which there are many... too many for this video to cover). The two seem to know nothing about anime, and seem to be familiar with nothing besides Maison Ikkoku and Vampire Hunter D. (I know this was 1994, but come on!)
No Enemy But Time is available online from ChannelMakers.com for $9.95 plus shipping and handling. For that price, I recommend it. The video makes for a very unique addition to any anime collection.
Overall : B+
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