April 18, 2012

Anime Review: Steamboy

Set in alternate history where steam is the main source of energy, Steamboy is all about the steampunk universe  and how a boy manages to aquire a "Steam Ball" which contains many mysteries. hence, the adventure is set and the story is told.

Ray is a young inventor living in the U.K. in the middle of the 19th century. Shortly before the first ever Great Exhibition, a marvelous invention called the "Steam Ball," behind which a menacing power is hidden, arrives at his door from his grandfather Lloid in the U.S. Meanwhile the nefarious O'Hara Foundation has sent men to aquire the Steam Ball so that they can use its power towards their own illicit ends.

Steamboy is set in a steampunk world where everything pretty much runs on steam. Ray Steam is an avid young inventor who works at a textile mill in Manchester as a maintenance boy, often working on a personal steam-powered monowheel at home. Ray's life is suddenly disrupted by the arrival of a package from his grandfather Lloyd; the metallic ball seen earlier, along with its schematics and a letter instructing him to guard it. Hence a chain of events happens and Ray is tasked to protect the "Steam Ball" from the evil corporations. Along the way he meets Scarlet and they slowly fall in love with each other. The story is no means original but you do get a sense of awe from the whole 'steampunk' environment. 

The art is decent with some nice touches to the steam machinery that is pretty much evident everywhere. While the animation was really top notch in most cases, I did not care for the character designs. Particularly that of Scarlet as she looked more like a cross dressing boy than a girl. As I mentioned the animation for the various steam machines and action was amazing. The level of detail and fantastic designs were definitely a highlight. The music and acting was all very good though. The background music did a lot to build the grand scale of the movie.

The voice acting was decent enough to make it sound realistic but then again, dubs aren't so good at all. Maybe I'm placing too much stress on the lead character, though - he (Anna Paquin) was the most noticably awkward, the others were quite well-voiced. I also noticed the lip-syncing was a bit blocky, but the soundtrack was good enough to keep you going to the end.

Pretty unique characters are presented in the anime and I don't think any other anime would have similar sets of features that these characters have. It's original and different than the rest.

Steamboy is overall though just an average adventure story. I certainly didn’t dislike this movie at all, I've just seen a lot better. Still I don’t think anyone would dislike this so if you enjoy fantasy and adventure stories, Steamboy will be well worth your time.

Pretty generic storyline to be honest and a bit predictable at times.

ART: 7
Not stunningly amazing but the nice detail on steam machinery is just cool.

I watched this in English and I was disappointed. Some voices needed some work.

Unique characters that can't be found elsewhere.

I enjoyed the adventure of it all.

Good is some way, bad in others. It really is up to your taste of anime.