A young man aims to do something more exciting than farming. His homeland is destroyed by an evil Galactic enemy and he is given super-human powers by which to save the galaxy. His comrades are a sarcastic, hairy alien and a beautiful female in white with a braided bun on the side of her head. Do you recognize any similarities here to an American pop culture icon?
This mid 80′s film has aged pretty well, excepting the CGI which was laughable (though not as laughable as Golgo 13.) I had fun just watching and picking up stolen Star Wars references with a Japanese twist (tentacles!) If
you aren’t a Star Wars fan, enjoy a decent sci-fi story and the miners’ disco.
1984 brought many sci-fi oriented stories. One of which was Lensman, directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri (Memories, X) and Shinya Ohira (Gundam sequels, Akira), so there is some strength here. Unfortunately, the script is weak, the music is pretty much absent, and the voice acting (Japanese and English dub) is sub-par at best.
The story is about a farm boy named Kimball whom dreams of life bigger than is country lifestyle. Well, it just so happens that an intergalactic war is going on simply between good and evil. During some battle somewhere, Kimball comes across a runaway spaceship, finds an important guy, and gets this
glass-thing called a “lens” transferred onto him. The backstory of the lens is weird and does not seem to make much sense. All that’s important is the lens contains important information on it, and must be taken to the good side. Don’t let the dark side have it, as the dark side will aim to kill you.
Just at first glance watching this, the amount of Star Wars references is astounding. It gets to the point where it might as well be an animated spin-off of it. There is even some incredibly lame CG just thrown in places really just distracting from the above average art style. Whether or not the CG was amazing at the time, in post 2000’s, the CG should not even be there in the first place.
In the end, Lensman has one decent chase scene in a rail car, of sorts, at just past the mid-point in the movie. Unless you are pining for a sub-par anime that is a desperate attempt to hit at the Star Wars hype, Lensman is hardly worth anyone’s time watching.
First, some education. Even though this was made in 1984, the source material was published in 1939. For those that can do simple maths, you should also be able to tell this is 38 years before Star Wars. So whom borrowed from whom? Unfortunately, the movie is only loosely based on the source material, and the author, E. E. Smith, completely distanced himself from this movie and the 25 episode series.
Also, there are technically THREE versions of Lensman. There is the original Harmony Gold dub from 1988 that was edited, the Streamline dub from 1990 that was unedited (about 18
minutes longer), AND a completely different version called The Secret of the Lens. The Secret of the Lens is technically the first four episodes from the series sort of mashed together. The Streamline dub is has the superior voice acting, but many favor the Harmony Gold dub for its electronica.
This movie is one of the jewels left to us before Streamline dissolved along side Robot Carnival, Wicked City, and Lily CAT to name a few. The animation is slick and crisp, the audio is on point, music is placed exactly where it needs to be, and the story is about a kid who gets some powers and kicks an intergalactic despot's ass. What's not to like?