Suchîmubôi (2004, JAP) C-126m. *** D: Katsuhiro Otômo. Starring (the voices of) Anne Suzuki, Masane Tsukayama, Katsuo Nakamura, Manami Konishi, Kiyoshi Kodama. Amazing science-fiction anime does not take place in the future but in 1860s England, which is brimming with new inventions at the start of the Industrial Revolution. Young Jimmy Ray Steam's father and grandfather have developed an extremely powerful steam-driven device by capturing a geysir in Iceland, and now everyone seems to be after it, in order to present it at the world EXPO in London. With his father corrupted by the machine's power, the boy is at a loss who to trust and to believe when he comes in possession of the device. Spectacular, riveting anime maintains a fever pitch and is stunningly animated, with incredibly detailed depictions of Victorian buildings and life. Excellent score by Steve Jablonsky. From the director of AKIRA (1991), who spent no less than 8 years on this. Beware 106m. version. English title: STEAMBOY.

© Ron Altman