My Cultural Diet

358 reviews of movies, TV shows, books, restaurants, etc. My own private Goodreads, Letterboxd, and Yelp all rolled into one (more info here). Ratings are 100% subjective, non-scientific, and subject to change. May contain affiliate links.

Dragon's Heaven
This is an interesting curiosity piece from 1988 that was brought to my attention by Instagram’s algorithm. Directed by Makoto Kobayashi — who wrote the original manga and helped create the mechanical designs — Dragon’s Heaven begins with a 5-minute prelude filled with live-action miniatures à la Masato Harada’s Gunhed and a sweeping orchestral score by Yasunori Iwasaki. It then transitions to the animated story, which is set in a post-apocalyptic future several thousand years from now. There, a young woman and an ancient robot must join forces to defend a desert city from invading forces led by the robot’s arch-nemesis. Story-wise, Dragon’s Heaven is pretty silly and threadbare, but it’s worth watching for the unique mecha designs and visual style, which eschews typical anime aesthetics for something more reminiscent of, say, Moebius. Following Dragon’s Heaven, Kobayashi would go on to work on numerous anime titles including Last Exile, Samurai 7, and Steamboy.

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