Anime Meta-Review


Tobiro o Akete


By Date




Title Info

  • alias: Open the Door
  • type: movie
  • grade: watchable
  • made: unknown
  • Review created: Fri Jan 26 15:20:17 EST 2001
  • mod: none

This movie, featuring teens with powers, alternative worlds and a couple of nice twists actually annoyed me when I first saw it. I'm still not entirely sure why it does, but since i've re-watched it I think I can extend the review and come closer.

The movie begins with the first of a series of twists. We get to meet a young female student called `neko' (made up from her initials). She's an interesting contradiction, being capable and confident yet seemingly isolating herself from close contact with those around her. The reason, it turns out, is that she possesses psychic powers which have made her perceive life, and herself, somewhat differently. The only one she truely feels comfortable with is another guy, a playful playboy, who also possesses powers, albeit of a different kind. They're trying to extend their circle of acquaintances, with another guy they suspect of holding power, when they are `borrowed' by someone and sucked into another reality.

And this new reality definitely isn't Tokyo. Indeed it's the full on fantasy medieavil world. Although not a high fantasy world, while there's strange beasts it seems that magic is not too common and mankind dominates the world. Unfortunately, as our heroine is informed, not her side of mankind. It seems that she fits the model of the legendary queeen. As such she's given a sword and inherits an immense and powerful enemy that has crushed the people of this land into abject submission. Clearly there are many paths that are possible, but the right path to the proper outcome is less than certain. In addition it seems that there may be other forces, both on her side and against it, who seek their own results from the sudden awakening of the legendary queen. And, then again, is she the legendary queen? and if she is then which world is actually hers? in any case, her `spiritual' ancestor ended up being beheaded, so making the wrong choice could be potentially fatal.

In the end it turns out there is a relatively nice twist to the whole story. While a touch unbelievable it does an excellent job of closing the story in a satisfying manner. It also ties the characters, and their own doubts and concerns, into the conclusion in quite a neat way. And along the way there's some magic, lots of battles scenes and some excellent supporting characters. Indeed the rather overtly physical `ogre princess' comes very close to stealing the show from the female lead. There's also some nice bits of anachronistic strangeness, like an inflatable toy or the reborn queen taking a break for a cigarette, or even the `tokyo-boy' bemoaning the lack of coffee.

So why do I dislike it? Well, I think the main problem for me is that the writing is a bit fast and loose. The story flows by very quickly and a lot of scenes don't have the impact they should. Things like battle scenes, the `children' scenes, `playing' with the ogre princess and even the scene where she was hurt by being protected by her own powers simply don't have the weight or impact they should. This also shows up in the conclusion. Then again the pace for this film is so fast. The battles are hugely abstracted, and indeed largely only mentioned in passing, which can be somewhat unsatisfying. At the same time some other scenes go on a bit too long, giving it a feel of a rather uneven pace. Still, there's a very real possibility that i'm being overly critical here...and the film is certainly not too difficult to watch so that you can make up your own mind.

The animation quality is reasonable. It's got an older style, relatively simple appearance and certain occasions of really brutal coloring. The character designs are okay for the leads, but quickly become amorphous for the huge cast of lesser people. Likewise motion is somewhat restricted, with some rough movement and short-cuts. This is really bad in the case of armies and battles, where the animators clearly don't have the time or budget to do real battle scenes. The `magic' and special effects are also much less impressive than you might expect for a fantasy anime. The voices themselves are quite good, though many have limited dialogue. The music is less impressive, plastic and synthy and often providing an unpleasant distraction to what is happening on screen.


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