Towa no Quon – 01 Review
“On the surface this appears to be just a box playing a tune but it actually expresses my whole character and just listening to the generic tune it makes will enable you to know me better than I know myself.”
Towa no Quon is a new movie-series done by BONES and the presence of a good production-staff behind it got my hopes up for this one. But in the end I wouldn’t have thought it all came down to a fight between X-Men and Robocop(s)…
Running Time: 48 minutes
Synopsis: In a futuristic Tokyo, humans who have awakened distinct powers are being hunted by a secret organization named Kestos. Denominated as Attracters, these exceptional individuals are joining forces to defend themselves. They are led by an idealist named Quon who is determined to save all Attracters he can.
All the story you need to know about this movie: There’s a pretty girl that’s too stupid to help herself and needs to be rescued. In short: The typical damsel-in-distress-plot.
Simplicity is not one of the strengths of this movie not because it has a lack of it but because it overflows with it. Seriously the plot of the first movie was so linear and tiring that there wasn’t much to be surprised about or to be liked.
So basically it’s a mix of X-Men and Robocop with Robots being bad and mutants good. Now think about this for a minute if you haven’t seen the movie. Try to conjure an image of what kind of movie this will conjure. If you have done so… congratulations, it’s very likely that you have thought up the entire plot of this movie within one minute!
On one side you have these nice mutants with their environment-tick who hide in secret as caretakers of a giant zoo/garden-kind-of-thing and are prepared 24/7 to drop their entertainment-business to save another mutant. On the other side you have these cyborgs who try to be as badass and detached as possible but fail at both. Although since they are evil, they naturally constantly try to fight the good guys and kill the innocents while the mutants want to save these new mutants.
But the dualism doesn’t end there, they also talk about how feelings or even life itself and the chaos it produces are totally fine but the bad dude thinks that’s not okay. The world needs order which includes killing mutants because they are even more chaotic and far too pro-Green-Peace for his tastes. This movie tries desperately to build up a dualistic tension here but it’s ridiculous what it’s talking about and what it’s basically showing in the movie. You don’t need to think about this in any meaningful way, one side is good and the other side is bad with a hope for redemption and also becoming good (since they’re basically also good, you know).
Acknowledging his one-dimensional character Quon’s mutant-form is one-eyed because he doesn’t have a “complete personality” (his own words).
A very simple message behind it but what about the actual story? Bad, I would say, it may seem solid at first but there are a few inconsistencies and that combined with unimaginative message makes it a very bad story. This movie ponders far too much on totally useless things. Just take the main-female. She has a tragic past naturally since all good guys have one in this movie apparently (at least every one who got a flashback had one) which means in her case that she got mute when she lost her parents (to lose one parent is bad luck but to lose both is simply carelessness on her part). So what’s the first thing you think of when you hear that someone’s mute? How the hell does she communicate with other people? In reality nobody would ask that question since there’s something like sign-talking but not here. In this case this mute girl doesn’t have to talk at all, people just drag her along or seem to read her mind just by looking at her face. Mute means simply that she doesn’t talk but everybody around her simply assumes what she wants to say – and is always spot-on with his or her assumption. It just gets worse when she begins to talk again, only one person of the entire cast is surprised by that development, everyone else (even the grandmother) just takes it as a normal predictable development. Well, it is considering the movie-clichés but the cast shouldn’t be so self-conscious as to assume we also read the poor script before watching the movie. And the girl cured death… which also doesn’t surprise her grandmother because she “had always known that her voice was magical”. You talked about her singing, goddamnit! She didn’t revive dead people with it, she simply sang! But seemingly her power is used at the cost of her life-force (like usual, to make her final sacrifice more tragic).
And Mr. Nice Guy is the usual hero who in this case doesn’t want to save the world but everyone. Wow, what an imaginative idea, really completely different from the usual stuff… He also has a tragic past (he lost his brother, that idiot, people die all the time in the distant past of this movie, it seems) and simply can’t be bothered to not play the hero for at least a moment and seems like a human with no emotions besides noble serenity. Like that he teaches the audience the usual moral message of how good it’s to be good but isn’t really a character to sympathize with because of his one-note-characterization. The rest is often likewise reduced to very one-dimensional types of characters, an impression also heightened by the bad humour the movie shows and each joke that the movie makes to get a laugh from the audience is just cringe-worthy.
The animation-design is interesting but nothing that one hasn’t seen before. Especially what the boy did with his mutations reminded me strongly of Xam’d: Lost Memories another BONES-series. The chara-desgins do also strongly reflect how the mutants favour nature by giving them brighter hair-colours and letting them seem like the type of people who see the sunlight from time to time while the “robocops” are pale and have a likewise hair-colour.
They tried, okay? But it’s obvious and laughably cheap as far as imagination is concerned.
With a message that’s easy to guess early on, a cast of characters that is one-dimensional and a story that moves along very predictable ways, Towa no Quon may have been a solid Mainstream-Shounen-Movie but a series of little nagging inconsistencies make it difficult to even judge the movie as mediocre, especially when it fails to do its one job as first movie of a series: to inspire curiosity.