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Time Stranger


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Title Info

  • type: movie
  • grade: flawed
  • source: fansub
  • form: sub
  • dur: 90
  • made: unknown
  • Review created: Fri Jun 1 20:25:29 EST 2001
  • mod: none

Okay, so I mainly watched this to confirm that `Time Stranger' and `Time Estranger' are two seperate movies, which they are. Still, even with this fairly ambiguous approach to the film, what I found was rather difficult to classify.


For that matter it's not going to be that easy to describe without coming very close to spoiler-ville. Let's start with imagining a high tech future. It's a generally happy place, although there's strong overtones of an authoritarian big-brother making everyone stays properly happy. But one young individual steals a vehicle and makes a daring escape attempt. The difference is that in his society the best way to try and escape is by stealing a time travel module. Naturally enough the society also has forces and individuals to control this sort of thing, and especially the urge to `tinker' with history a little bit.

The story gets more interesting when he is forced to steal a vehicle in our time. It seems that the time-travel module is mobile, but needs a vehicle in which to work. He picks a nice looking bus, but is in such a hurry he's got no time to explain to the people currently in it. Thus a small handful of normal people get dragged along on an escape trip through time. With the added thrill that the time machine only goes backwards, and that their may be other travellers in the time periods they visit.


Well, the good thing is that it's movie length and quite attractive (albeit old style) animation with some money behind it. The main disadvantage is that it's got a very strange feel for pace and story. The more specific problems that it never builds up too much pace and the story doesn't quite hang tohether.

For example take the ordinary people who get `hijacked' by this time stranger. There's an older adult, a young `nerd' type, an attractive young girl and a beefy, rugby playing, jock type who has a crush on the female. They're a little bit familiar but their interesting enough. Thus it's strange that they don't complain that much when someone rushes into the car, starts making modifications, and the pushes the button. They don't even seem terribly upset that they're on a one way trip through Japanese history.

What's more they don't randomly move through history. That is to say they move through time as if a history teacher was planning their trip. On each step they manage to come down in the middle of some sort of conflict. At times it feels more like a documentary than an actual form of entertainment. And once there they react with a notable lack of, well, interest. Sure, the female gets rescued or entranced by some man of the time, the jock has a poor try at swordplay and the nerd messes around with machinery and gives a Japanese warlord a cigarette lighter. But it never answers the question of why these people are important to the story. It simply doesn't make too much sense or acheive momentum and pace.

Sure, they end up in an interesting time in Japanese history, and we get to watch some of it, but they've largely go minimal roles in the story itself. And as a result they quickly fade in interest. Towards the end there is a revelation as to a `hidden agenda' and a bit of conflict. However even this is fairly predictable and never really manages to get any energy or excitement going. It seems like they sold an idea before they completed a story, and the result is curiously lifeless (or dreamlike for the very generous).

As mentioned the animation itself is quite nice. The design is old and it's got the dark and complex coloring of the period but at times it looks quite good. It's also interesting seeing their idea of a young anime beauty. There's also some nice atmosphere and scenic effects to add richness. It doesn't actually move that well, the action is a bit rough and the framecount not that high. And it's ability to do tech and `energy' is fairly forgettable. The voices are quite good, which helps some of the historical characters develop a suprising amount of personality in very little time. The music was minimal.

Other Reviews

  • Anime Review review A short (very) review from the Anime Review. He find it moderately amusing but nothing special, adding that you don't care a "squat" for these characters. Which I think relates to my feeling that they're largely disconnected from the (limited) plot (3/5).


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:26 WST 2009