The Deep Sleep Capsules, technology that has allowed man to reach out to the stars. These chambers slow the aging process by 95%. A 20-year trip passes, and the traveler has only aged 1 year. It definitely has its advantages, but after you've been on a few trips, it sure gets very lonely.
Right now, however, that's not the big issue. The year is 2264. The Syncam Corporation has sent the Saldes and its crew of 13 (and 1 cat) out into deep space to explore the potential of a newfound planet 20 years away. Soon after they awaken from their stasis, however, things are happening one after another. First, the crew learns that two of the crew are not who they claim to be. Then, one by one, crewmembers die suddenly. Then, the ship begins to turn against them. And as if it couldn't get any worse, they find another mess on their hands and it is ugly.
What was supposed to be a simple exploratory mission has become a struggle for survival in the depths of space. 20 years from home, they're all alone and no one can hear them scream.
It's Alien in anime form, but it tries to set itself apart by having more character backstories and a weak moral theme in the second half. It's nothing special, and not nearly as intriguing as it could have been. It's also really predictable, as the title and early sequences essentially strip away part of the mystery.
When it comes to story telling, we don't even get five minutes into the film before it's telling us things out right through forced dialogue. A real shame.
The Captain was the only interesting character and the rest are potential canon fodder for the alien creature to munch on, which we
never see. We also don't see very much of it either because we're constantly shown boring sub-plots that don't matter because we're expecting everyone to die anyway, so it's not even a good horror film where we get to watch the creature kill things. That is not to say horror films should just be glorified snuff, but if a movie fails to have any compelling characters or themes, then it sure as hell be fun to watch - which this wasn't.
Audio and Soundtrack:
I enjoy an orchestrated soundtrack in horror films. It was neat to hear piano, and an absolutely beautiful and compelling track during the opening credits. What I don't like is different genres jumping around on me. Orchestration to some electronic to rock and roll. It's overbearing and pulls you out of the immersion. Songs are cut short at awkward moments as well, which pulls you out again.
The audio is nothing special. It works. It's got a retro feel to it.
Not very good. There are better animated films that were released in the 80's. None of the perspective shots are scary, and most of the time I wondered why I was being shown hallway after hallway with a different color pallet. I understand it's on a ship, but a ship has different locals. Maybe a hall with windows? Perhaps the sleeping quarters, kitchen, entertainment room, bathroom??
The creatures animation was pretty neat. I wish more scenes were shown with it. If so, the film would have been much more enjoyable.
I said I'd watch it last October but forgot. That's the only reason I picked this up. From what I've come to learn, most horror anime aren't very interesting and fail to be scary. I don't think I can even say that I enjoyed myself while watching this. I've kicked the habit of looking at my phone when watching films/shows, but this one had me pull it out once or twice because I was so bored.
However, the film isn't offensively bad, it's just boring. I can't say I'd go so far as to NOT recommend it to people, but I won't say anyone should watch it, either.
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Lily C.A.T. is a pretty cool slice of classic sci fi/horror from the 80's, and not just in anime, but directors that want to dabble in the horror genre can learn some small, yet vital points from this; the less your audience can understand from your monster, the scarier the creature is. And by that I mean, this blood-thirsty creature can't be reasoned with. It's out to kill you, and that's final. This is one of the essences of true horror.
Granted, there are better offers in this genre in terms of quality and production value like Wicked City and Demon City Shinjuku, Lily CATs
appeal is that it's closer to a desperate struggle of survival from civilians as opposed to battling the supernatural on questionably equal grounds. It's like an anime incarnation of John Carpenter's The Thing right down to the monster's method of stalking prey. All it was missing was Kurt Russell pooring beer into a computer game and calling it a "cheatin bitch".
The set up for all of this makes it a hybrid of Alien and the aforementioned film; a select group of humans have been incubated for 20 years (with a halted metabolism) while the ships computer indicates a rouge bacteria has made it's way in. This sets up for the slow build towards the monsters apperance.
The cast of characters is pretty darn good, even if some of them are certified monster chow, and even if they come off a little under-utilized, I don't think it matters much as far as the conflict goes. They're pretty likable and work when neccesary and personalities aren't forced down your throat. In fact, I was rooting for as many as possible to make it out of there.
Now, back to the monster: If there is one thing that the mid to late 80's era of anime can do well, I mean REALLY well, is monsters, aliens, and demons. The indeterminate mass of the beast kept in the shadows, the tenticles, the rows of sharp, serated teeth, those 80's creepy crawling sound effects. The anime monsters of the 80's were some of the most horrifying, vicious, freakish hellspawns I've ever seen with nothing but rows of teeth and a bad attitude, and this monster didn't disappoint.
IN CLOSING: Lily CAT is actually pretty good and holds it's own well against some of the big budget heavy hitters of it's time. It was released in a time when sci fi and horror were at their zenith, and if you're a fan of classic anime or survival horror, this won't disappoint. Don't let it's age or obscurity fool you; Lily CAT is a buried treasure that any fan could appreciate.
OVERALL SCORE: 7 out of 10
PROS: Very well written, Visuals are pretty great, decent cast
CONS: English voices are kinda cheesy, deus ex machina near the end there
Lovers of all things anime will appreciate everything the art form has to offer and will not only rejoice when a series is absolutely stunning, but will also prepare themselves to derail and destroy the series that are absolutely dreadful. Of course, I'm being subjective, because whether you've seen every anime ever or maybe one type of anime, you are an anime lover. If you've seen this anime, you are a disappointed anime lover...
*SIGH* Enough brooding. One of the worst anime original home videos that exists in my opinion is Lily C.A.T.
Lily C.A.T. is a science fiction/horror anime OVA from the ripe age of
horrible anime like this one. The film follows the spaceship on a 40-year mission. Under the instructions of an unknown force (that remains unknown and is never address again throughput the entire anime) the ship's A.I. computer system accidentally introduces an alien bacterium into the ship while its human crew is in cryostasis. Naturally, both the ship and the unknown force want to eradicate the bacterium from the ship but also to cover up for this blunder. And that's what sets the plot into disarray.
You have a misfit crew that doesn't get along at all and only wants to look out for their own selfish goals and they are attacked by man-killing bacteria that took over a cat. You can already see it coming. The story is typical horror; the mysterious, scary, evil pursuer picks off the crew one by one. The alien wants the humans dead. But that's not too bad, it's mundane, but typical horror, but so can still keep watching.
But when you look at the characters, things start to get much, much worse. My main gripe with the characters is that not one of them, except the obvious couple, Hiro and Nancy, get along. Not one of these idiots. It's as if the writers made them forget that a dangerous, life-erasing bacterium is gunning for them, and they need to work together to survive. Then there's Hamilton, who defines the meaning of determination so hard, it has to be seen to be believed. It's very... BAD! None of the characters were in their right mind. In my eyes, characters as simple-minded as the ones in Lily C.A.T. deserve to be food for bacteria. Hamilton chases Hiro for pride, Hiro comes out of the blue as a murderer without any evidence that he was beforehand, and a complete lack of any backstory to boot, Nancy acts like a schoolgirl for almost the entire anime, Hiro comes off as a bad stereotypical stoic, Carolyn is awful, and for one member of the crew, it's so obvious he's not gonna make it, you consider him dead meat right after his first speaking line. It's all pathetic. One more thing, Guy is the only black male in this crew. His position like other characters that weren’t the cop, the heroine or the lead males Hamilton and Hiro was debatable, and that says enough on its own.
The sound is of a typical, outdated film type. The 80's muddled, low sound effects, the cheesy 80's music, even the characters wear clothes from the 80's IN A STORY SET 40 YEARS IN THE 23RD CENTURY. Damn. The dub is awful as well.
If it isn't a secret by now, Lily C.A.T. delivers a crushing, gut-wrenching, horrible experience for the viewer. It contains your fan service-like but action girl and the blood and guts that defined those ovas of the time, complete with a sub-par, but passable plot that is ruined by unsettled characters and holes that pop up in pivotal scenes (Pay attention to the background check interviews and Hamilton himself-- Believe me). To top it off, in order to screw with the viewer more there are two things from an actually good horror movie, Alien, that Lily C.A.T. adapts. Not going to spoil it or the "ending" as some might call it, but these elements that Lily C.A.T. graciously and proudly copies only complicate the story even more. It's almost a guaranteed re-watch to understand what is what and which is which, but this anime is not even worth the first time you see it-- it's a mediocre, gory, bloody, confusing mess. Its enjoyment factor is destroyed by its horridness and I'm dead serious. When Lily C.A.T. isn’t boring me in the opening, or disgusting me through the “jump scares” (they suck, really), it’s killing me throughout because it’s a painful, confusing and pointless mess. The characters even lampshade how pointless it is in the anime. I apologize for this drawn out review, but it’s better than wasting an hour watching the anime itself. Friends of mine have praised this series and call it a great horror anime. Some even claim it is an obscure buried treasure. The only place I want Lily C.A.T. buried is in the bottom of my crappy anime basket pile, never to see the light of day again.
Story: The beef of my review; The story is typical and even disoriented and confusing (3)
Art: Nothing bad, nothing to get an eye-gasm over. Gore-galore. (6)
Sound: Bad, but it was the late 1980's. This is the one area I can't rip Lily C.A.T. because it's not its fault. The English dub is god-awful and poorly acted. (6)
Characters: Gosh... (4)
Enjoyment: I shake my head when I try to think of enjoyment an d Lily C.A.T. going together. (2)
OVERALL: 4- Bad. I grace Lily C.A.T. with a blissful “4” rating. I recommend you stay away from this anime. If you really liked "Alien", give it a 6. Otherwise, don't bother.