Dr. Lao, Conan, Jimsy, and Lana successfully escaped from Industria special thanks from Luke and the anti-Industrians. Captain Dyce and what's left of his crew are sailing on the Barracuda once more....
The short film's main character is a water spider who seems to have fallen in love with a water strider. Though she is scared of him at first, the water strider soon gets used to the presence of the spider.
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
Discotek needs to get their hands on this and put it on Blu-ray!
Though Hayao Miyazaki's work at Studio Ghibli is known the world over, few outside of Japan seem to know or care about the work he did before that in the 70s and early 80s. It's a real shame, because works such as Future Boy Conan (1978) still hold up well today despite the choppy television animation.
The plot is chock full of iconic Miyazaki themes and archetypes which look forward to his later films and manga. The post-apocalyptic setting, motif of flight, morally ambiguous characters, and environmentalist theme should all be familiar to hardcore Miyazaki fans. In fact, the whole thing feels like a dress rehearsal for the later Castle in the Sky (1986): the relationship between Lana and Conan mirrors the later bond between Pazu and Sheeta, the villain Lepka resembles Muska, and Captain Dyce and his crew bring to mind the Dola pirates.
Despite the similarities, though, Future Boy Conan stands well on its own. I would even go as far as to say it equals (or in some cases, even betters) Castle in the Sky. Being a 26-episode TV series, it has more time to let its characters develop and grow. One major difference between FBC and later Miyazaki is it's broad comedy. There's lots of goofy slapstick and silly moments that you don't see the like of in post-Nausicaa Miyazaki. Still, it's good comedy that never feels out of place.
I know most anime fans won't watch anything preceding Dragonball, but Ghibli fans and Miyazaki diehards will enjoy this series without a doubt. It helps show you where all those ideas, characters, and themes of his later films were first allowed to be fully expressed.
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