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The story takes place in the 21st century, 20 years after World War 3. The world as we know it has been destroyed, and 12 year old Conan lives on an island with his grandfather, believing they are the only two survivors of the war. But one day Conan discovers an unconscious girl on the beach. She is 11 year old Lana, and she's fleeing from the evil rulers of Industria, who want to kidnap her and use her as a bait to convince her grandfather (who has fled from Industria himself) to give up the lost secret of solar energy, which would allow Industria to rule over the world. After Lana is kidnapped from the island, Conan decides to rescue her and sets sail to Industria. Written by
How I wish I was a child seeing Conan, if not to enjoy without knowledge of Hayao Miyazaki, but to have been able to go to school and talk about it with all my friends. It would have been my favourite show. Instead I've made do watching older, it's excellent though.
To explain the plot, the world has been partially destroyed by man through use of nuclear weapons, tilting the world on its axis, thus sinking most of the land and destroying civilisation as we know it. 30 years later the few survivors are on living on a small island, Conan an 11 year old boy lives with his grandfather peacefully, until a girl washes up on the beach. It would be criminal to go much further since one of the best features of 'Conan' is its storytelling, and at 26 episodes it can take it's time.
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki with some help from Isao Takahata, Conan displays many of the traits of a Ghibli movie, best described and a cross between 'Laputa: Castle in the Sky' and 'Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind', both in plot and design. It could be said that these films improved and expanded on the ideas in Conan which could be taken that Conan isn't worthwhile, but it's more like Conan is an opportunity to see 13hrs of Miyazaki doing what he does so well.
Personally it's very difficult to review Conan, I know I love it, but there's so much to write. The plot is pretty complex, its twists and turns are genuinely surprising. The characters are great, since it's early Miyazaki there's a lot of slapstick, much in the vein of Miyazaki's Lupin III movie, the art direction is certainly of lower quality than his later offerings, but it was his directorial debut. Conan is dated in terms of animation, but again like in Lupin the characters are simplified, thus allowing animation to go smoothly, plus the backgrounds are beautiful, the ideas flowing, the design of the main boat is cleverly an upside down boat adapted to sail, at least I think it is! Its a few years before Joe Hisaishi is working with Miyazaki, so the music is less grand, but sweet and catchy.
Conan is a fantastic, while dated is as good a show a child or adult could watch today, plus another excellent Miyazaki project for the converted. I really can't praise Conan enough!
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