This movies has a rather important historical position, it's source is the first OAV tapes released in the Japanese market, the heralds of a new and promising domain. However this particular title probably can't claim responsibility for the success of this form of material, because it's `dull as' dishwater.
The story takes place on the relatively newly colonized moon. Although being incapable of supporting life it's still a tough and dangerous place to live. The older generation, those born on earth, remember times when it was even more so, when a mistake could kill entire communities. The newer generation, those born on the moon, are a bit more secure than their ancestors, as well as more numerous. They're also a lot less strongly tied to earth, never having been there. And since earth seems to consider the moon nothing more than a valuable mining colony, which must be rigidly controlled, they're even less positive towards those who claim command of the moon on behalf of earth.
This has led to a fledgeling rebel movement which fights the autocratic earth-born commanders. Naturally this has also led to even more vicious security and control of the lunar population. Included in this are large numbers of police, cyber-enhanced attack dogs and the `marking' of each citizen. The potential for violent collision between these two forces constantly growing. We get to watch this through the eyes of a young lunar male, as yet undedecided on how he feels about the issues. On the other side we meet a young earth girl who arrives on the moon to find the commander becoming increasingly hostile to the moons population.
And sitting in the background is Dallos itself. Thought to be constructed by earlier human colonists it is filled with strange and potent technology. The function, history, and even the reason behind the construction of this immense artifact being long since lost. The older moon colonists regard it as a god, while the earthers and modern lunar citizens consider it simply a strange old relic. However it becomes clear that, in addition to being a powerful symbol, dallos is only sleeping and may yet awake to carry out whatever its purpose was.
First things first. While I normally mention production last I have to say that this anime is undoubtably damaged by the cruel attacks inflicted on it. To start with two OAV episodes have been edited to make a single movie, with the potential for loss implicit in any editing. But more seriously it's got a truly awful dub, a true reminder of how bad anime dubs can be. The voice actors are fairly bad, the accents worse, but the sound mixing and direction is downright diabolical. Voices stand out way too much, are oddly out of sequence with one another and are broken in a poor attempt to lip-synch. And then occassionally they vanish under the background music. It would have to be an excellent anime that can survive this awful production.
And this anime isn't that good. To start with it looks like the OAV tradition of unfinished series began with the very first release. It feels like we are being introduced to the first stage in a longer conflict, and the first stirrings of dallos, but it ultimately comes to nothing. Meanwhile the action we get to watch is strangely disconnected, the links between scenes and the meaning behind actions and speech's being somewhat mysterious. Combined with the relatively unsympathethic characters and long action scenes it all seems a bit jumbled and quite unexciting. Mind you, it is possible that the terrible production and some script editing is at least partly responsible.
On the positive side it's nice to see another sci-fi title, and it does have some scenes which are quite impressive. In addition there's a fairly strong sense of style, although not always a sense of logic, behind some of the technology and scenes. Things like Dallos in action, the combat scenes and details like the flow of spent shells, and especially the enhanced hounds, are actually quite memorable. But there's ultimately far too many irritations and slow scenes, without the meaning to validate them, for this to be something I could recommend.
The animation itself is interesting. It's quite dated in style and design, often looking quite strange. Likewise the appearance of characters, while quite realistic and expressive, looks strange today. However the motion animation is quite detailed and smooth, meaning it is not too hard to watch. There's also some impressive graduated coloring on equipment and in scenes, although this means that there's a temptation to use `sliding' cells and repeated sequences to avoid having to animate it. The combat scenes are impressive in scale but strangely lifeless, possibly as a result. As mentioned the voice acting is evil, and the music is overly synthy thematic stuff of no great value.