To escape the explosion of their ship caused by a terrorist attack, the parents of a young baby put him inside an escape pod and send him out before dying. The pod ends up on a planet inhabited by beings able to transform themselves into animals by using a special ring. The young baby is rescued by the royal family, and grows up to become the prince.
When the planet is attacked by pirates, he will be brought by force to Earth and discover everything about his own origins, and forgotten brother.
This is one of many examples that prove that Osamu Tezuka may have been the godfather of manga and one of the most influential forces in anime, but he was still one really strange guy.
It starts with a Superman origin riff, and then jumps immediately into a planet suitable for a pulp-style adventure worthy of Howard or Burroughs, full of strange acid-trip-inspired creatures. And I'm thinking, okay, I think I can roll with this.
But then we are swiftly informed that anything associated with Earth is Evil and Bad. Oh, and suddenly Dr. Black Jack
(one of Tezuka's most well known creations) appears. Aaaaaand, from here, the story goes way off the rails.
We are quickly tripping across the universe with West World, Star Wars cantina, Dracula's castle, some sort of Moebius-type plant world, a space chase, H.G. Wells time travel and more. The story just gets more ridiculous and convoluted, and semblance of plot is thrown out the window, and it seems to jump from one objective to another with serendipitous discoveries and Tezuka characters from other unrelated stories making key appearances. Towards the end it just becomes a big wash of noise and motion and you have to turn off your brain to keep going.
Bander Book is one of Tezuka's "minor works" for a reason. It's a mess.
100-man-nen Chikyuu no Tabi: Bander Book is somewhat convoluted in nature having to deal with time travel in the second half completely messes with the flowing narrative of the story but as such that's the only real problem I had with this film. Just because a film can be convoluted in it's own logic sometimes doesn't mean it's bad. I actually found myself enjoying it a pretty good amount. It by no means deserves to be called a masterpiece and is one of Osamu Tezuka's lesser works but it's also simply a product of the time and still makes for good entertainment as a landmark
Art: The Art design is very good for 1978. You can expect a lot of color variety and very distinct designs overall. If I had to describe Tezuka's character designs in one word it would have to be Iconic.
Sound: The sound does what it needs to do and nothing more. The soundtrack for the film is simply mediocre when listened to on it's own but when put at the perfect moment in the movie it works well in providing the mood but nothing else.
Character: The Characters are where the movie shines. Bander may seem like your typical save the day hero and well that's because he is, but you can also relate to his struggle of never feeling like he belongs. All he wants to know his past and his origin but he refuses achieve that by bending his morality. Then there's Mimuru what can I say other than she is probably the most compelling character in the whole movie as you really sense her care for Bander and her willingness to do anything to make sure he okay, and finally there's Black Jack he's just your typical cool guy antagonist with a twist at the end. He serves his purpose and serves it well.