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Memories is a set of three anime episodes adapted from three of Katsuhiro Otomo's manga short stories. Katsuhiro Otomo produced the film, but each of the episodes was directed, scripted, and had music composed by a different team, giving each episode a different style. It was released in Japan on December 23, 1995.
The three episodes are:
Magnetic Rose, directed by Koji Morimoto, scripted by Satoshi Kon, with music by Yoko Kanno. It's set in space, where a presumably abandoned space station gives out a distress signal. Two men from a spaceship go to investigate, and find much more than they bargained for. It doesn't end well.
Stink Bomb, directed by Tensai Okamura, scripted by Katsuhiro Otomo, with music by Jun Miyake. A Black Comedy featuring a worker from a bioresearch facility, a weapon of mass destruction, and a lot of chaos.
Cannon Fodder, directed and scripted by Katsuhiro Otomo, with music by Hiroyuki Nagashima. Uses a unique animation style to give the illusion of being filmed in one long take. The story centers on the residents of a city of cannons that is forever at war.
Memories contains examples of:
- America Saves the Day: In Stink Bomb. Or so they try to.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Heinz in Magnetic Rose.
- Determinator: Nobuo was given one task, and one task alone: deliver the documents and experimental drug to his superiors in Tokyo. Nothing, not even carpet bombing, heavily armed barricades, collapsing tunnels, or his own grandmother's pleas, will deter him from this mission. Naturally, this make it a twisted subversion of the trope's usual heroic overtones.
- Distress Call: Starts off Magnetic Rose. Turns out that Eva's ghost continues to call men to their death... but it's because the computer thinks it's her!.
- Downer Ending: Arguably, Magnetic Rose and Stink Bomb.
- Fertile Feet: A side effect of the chemical in Stink Bomb is that every plant Nobuo comes near bursts into bloom regardless of the season even as every animal drops dead.
- Forever War: The basis of Cannon Fodder. The population is devoted to maintaining the eternal war machine of their city, receiving daily propaganda to boost their patriotic fervor. Why are they fighting? No one knows. Turns out, there is no enemy. Every shot fired lands in the desert landscape beyond the city.
- Hero-Tracking Failure: Stink Bomb. Justified in that the chemical agent damages electronics (such as aiming devices,) even at long distance, the same way it kills animals... but it doesn't explain why bombs keep missing him too.
- More Dakka: The entire city in Cannon Fodder is dedicated to heavy artillery, with nary a building lacking a giant cannon on its roof.
- Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: Nobuo. Hee hee.
- Mind Screw: And how!
- The Oner: Cannon Fodder is animated to give the illusion of this.
- Lotus Eater Machine: The ship in Magnetic Rose is haunted by the former owner, Eva, who tricks rescuers by bringing their fondest dream to life... or tricking them into living hers.
- Poisonous Person: Nobuo.
- Power Incontinence: Again, Nobuo. He never even realizes he has become highly toxic.
- Steampunk: Cannon Fodder.
- Superpower Meltdown: The more agitated or distraught Nobuo gets, the higher concentration of lethal biochemicals he exudes.
- Tear Jerker: Magnetic Rose, when Heinz flashbacks to his daughter's death.
- Too Dumb to Live: While one could argue Nobuo is delusional from suffering a nervous breakdown, it's kind of ridiculous he doesn't put together that he is the reason everyone keeps dropping dead, especially when it happens multiple times right in front of him. Also, the Head Researcher: kept dangerous biochemicals unsecured in his personal office, didn't inform people of the danger, turned off the bio-contamination warning system. Yeah, you deserve to die.
- Typhoid Mary: In Stink Bomb.
- Walking Wasteland: Again, Nobuo from Stink Bomb.
- White Dwarf Starlet: Eva, an opera singer in Magnetic Rose.
- Why Am I Ticking?: A variant occurs in Stink Bomb.