Starring Hideyuki Tanaka, Kouji Tsujitani, Isshin Chiba, Yumi Touma
Directed by Issei Kume & Toshifumi Takizawa
Big Wars starts out with a really big wall of text scrolling across the screen. This might have had the benefit of providing an epic feel like Star Wars, except it is much longer and races by much faster, so you can’t read it unless you pause the film. That’s OK though, you don’t really want to read it anyway. It’s pretty drab stuff, and it won’t give you any special insight into the film, so it’s best to just ignore it. Besides, who needs a history lesson when we’ve got flying saucers to shoot down? The opening dogfight is fantastic enough to make you forget all about boring text on the screen.
The war in question is an alien invasion. Humans have colonized Mars, and it looks like some aliens didn’t care too much for that. They shoot lightning bolts and they can brainwash people to be their slaves. But despite the title, Big Wars takes a small-scale look at the war. It focuses on Captain Akuh and his assignment to the super-secret new warship the Aoba. It’s a big mission that could change the course of the war, but we don’t get to see much of the war as a whole. Instead, we’re treated to a lot of spy drama with Akuh’s sexy, and excessively horny, girlfriend in the intelligence department. After all, it’s a pain in the butt to track down those brainwashed terrorists.
The aliens call themselves gods. When you combine this with the Martian setting filled with location names taken from mythology, it creates a strange mixture of spirituality and science fiction. These aliens claim to have created humanity, and intended for humans to remain on Earth. The humans have violated a divine order and moved beyond their place, so the aliens are here to put us back where we belong. I love the reasoning here. It’s a weird take on the whole “conquering the world” deal, and carries some very creepy implications. I do wish the film delved into those implications rather than just using them to add flavor to the story, but it’s still cool either way.
None of those light elements are really flaws, though. Nor is my slight disappointment in the animation. It’s actually animated perfectly fine. Certainly well above average. It’s just that the opening dogfight is the best animated scene of the film, which gave me some false expectations of how good the rest of it would be.
Big Wars gave me a few disappointments, but taking it as a whole, I have to say it’s a solid movie that anyone who likes alien invasion scenarios will enjoy. Its main downside is that it doesn’t go quite far enough with its great ideas. But those ideas are still there and they go a long way to elevating this above the level of just another action flick, even though that’s really at the core of the film. But it’s an action flick that has enough individuality and creativity to make it stand out from the crowd.