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Saturday, 4 February 2017

Retro Review: Lily C.A.T (1987) #Anime

Lily C.A.T
Genre: Sci-Fi Horror Anime 

Plot: The crew of an interplanetary starship fights for survival after an alien force takes control of their craft 

'More Like Leviathan Than Aliens, The End Result Is One of Pure Mounting Frustration & Disappointment'

A somewhat competent Alien imitator at best, this straight-to-DVD production rightly warranted that moniker with a narrative that needed more work and of which wasn't very engrossing. & this is a real pity given that this had the potential to be as good as, if not better than the legendary Akira

The basic premise is that something went disastrously wrong and the ship became infected by a disease and the cat becomes infected and with that, people are killed off, one by one. It reminds me of Leviathan, moreso than Aliens; sadly,  there is really nothing much to it and as a result, this is a rush job where in which more thought, attention and time was needed and to expand upon some of its ideas that it had touched. It seems as though the creators took Aliens and instead of developing it and taking it to the next level by adding in new ideas, they just didn't do much to it, whatsoever. & for that, Lily C.A.T, for all of its intentions, the end product is not even satisfactory enough for me. 

The first 15 to 20 mins did nothing for me; it was pretty bland and the story didn't grab me immediately. In fact, I was sort of frustrated that the narrative could have been and ought to have been so much more intriguing and interesting, but instead, I ended up not caring for it at all. 

The animation and art style quality, on the other hand, is superb and it does contain brief nudity and gore in some parts. That '80s Anime style is well done and it is thus, a shame these days that most Anime doesn't look anywhere near this level. Visually, I liked it a lot, especially the creature design itself, and the film does a great job in recreating that atmospheric, eerie and at times haunting feel. Unfortunately, the story itself should have been a lot more gripping and engrossing and the characters lack identity and personality. They are not very well defined or developed to the point where I wanted to care. There is nothing much to them to draw you in and wanting you to find out more about each of them. 

I realise these types of films in Aliens and Leviathan move at a slow pace just to build up tension, but I also feel that sometimes that in itself is a bad thing, because the longer it drags on, the more bored one becomes of it; the running time of 67 mins means this film isn't too long and that events build up very quickly; the problem, however, is that the way these events are told are not very intriguing or interesting enough and that character developed is further stilted. 

The other thing that frustrated me was that it had these various ideas - and yet the film doesn't attempt to build on them further. It's like they are there once, but are never picked up again. Yes, there are 3 or 4 twists thrown in with people getting killed off, but other than that nothing else in the story had me quaking in my boots. You'd think for a film that has a story and premise that is reminiscent of Aliens that the creators would at least, go one step further with it. I actually wasn't too annoyed or bothered that the plot was strikingly similar to/identical to Aliens - or for comparison's sake, more in line with Leviathan; rather it wasn't as explosive or engrossing as I'd wanted it to be. 

Lily C.A.T sadly is an 80s by-product where it is not that this is terrible Anime just for the sake of being terrible, but rather it is not so good when it had the potential hallmarks to be good; it had everything almost right - but for the lack of development in the story, characters, intrigue and the film's duration, which isn't long enough. 

Luckily enough, the animation quality is what prevents me from awarding this Anime an even lower rating. 

Final Verdict:

The one thing that saves this film, and is probably the only reason to sit through Lily C.A.T, is the '80s nostalgia factor and the Anime style of that time, which I still enjoy seeing a lot of today. It's distinctive, it's different and it's not like any other Anime that I've seen anyway.

But besides all that, this is nowhere as good as Aliens; if you are going to make an Aliens-based film - Anime or not- at least make a proper effort. This isn't it, however. 

Yet it's a shame that for an interesting and good premise, the creators just didn't take full advantage and do more with it; thus, the execution of Lily C.A.T is far less desirable. 


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