ANIME REVIEW: Lily C.A.T. (1987)
I stopped by my local used book store in Miami, called Paperback Book X-Change. It was a subdued affair, picking up books to read on my trip to work, and I decided to get some VHS tapes to transfer to DVD. I picked up two VHS tapes: Sword and the Dragon, and an anime I had always seen advertisements for but never actually watched, Lily C.A.T. For some reason, it didn’t look as interesting as Clash of the Bionoids (AKA Macross: Do You Remember Love?), Ninja Scroll (AKA Jūbē Ninpūchō/Jubei the Wind Ninja), or AKIRA. So I skipped it, until a few days ago. I gave it a chance and I understand why I might have avoided it for so long.
Lily C.A.T. is the story of a bunch of astronauts aboard the deep space vessel Saldes on the way to planet LA-003 on orders from the Syncam Company. Luckily, the daughter of the president, the very blonde Nancy, is on the trip with her cat Lily. A motley crew of redshirts are also on hand to do their jobs for the company, but they are in cryo-sleep for most of the trip. Over the 20 years in cryo-sleep, an incident takes place and allows an extraterrestrial pathogen into the ship’s air supply. When the crew wakes up…uh, this is usually where I say “hijinks ensue”, but I can’t bring myself to do so in a positive way…because this anime sucks in a bad way.
Lily C.A.T.: the story of a girl and her pussy…OR IS IT?
This anime has all the elements of an homage to Ridley Scott’s ALIEN and the ALIEN franchise, as well as to John Carpenter’s The Thing. The problem is that it’s NOT an homage of those films, just a ripoff. From the duct taped weapons to the almost rotoscoped hallways of the Saldes, Lily C.A.T. is not worthy of being called a homage. It does, however, create a suspenseful atmosphere and present some of the most screwed up images anime had yet to present to an audience. Yoshitaka Amano (of Final Fantasy fame) was responsible for character designs (evident in the female costumes and character hairstyles) and monster design. If only the entire anime was based on his style of art, then this would be a better anime not only for the art in general, but for the sheer messed-upness of the monster design.
The alien monster in Lily C.A.T. is a consummate hunter, waltzing up on its prey and absorbing it into its form. It does not have much to do except have its kills be cut away from. If it was actually allowed to kill the humans onboard the Saldes, then it would be wholly like the ALIEN franchise. There’s another element to this anime that put me on edge: if the alien’s not killing everyone, who else is killing the crew? While the anime makes a big hullabaloo about stowaways called “time-jumpers” — criminals who fake credentials to stow away on long-haul space trips to escape the statute of limitations on their crimes — and who they are, the real mystery is in who is trying to kill the crew. Other than the alien, of course. If you wish to find out, I’m sorry to suggest that you’ll have to watch Lily C.A.T. for yourself.
Originally published at http://gedren56.blogspot.com.