As Hybrid is re-united with GSXR and Ani, they need to think of a plan on how to escape from town and getting past through bounty hunters looking for Hybrid’s head…….Well, Ani, GSXR, & Hybrid put their heads together and thought of a plan. Two hours later, GSXR received a vehicle from one of her contacts while Ani is busy making an unrecognizable Hybrid with false teeth, a blue-grayish low-cut afro, and a facial mask to fool anyone who has the slightest suspicion. He looked at the mirror and said that he looked like if Marge Simpson had a long lost bi-racial brother but he was okay with the appearance as not even he recognizes himself. Now Ani specifically said to him, “Look, if anyone asks about you, I’ll tell them you’re a deaf mute, that way no one can recognize your voice.” And then GSXR interfered, “And if that happens, we can make you deaf.” Hybrid’s eyes widen as GSXR puts earphones with loud music blaring and he said, “Okay, okay, the deaf mute thing works.” Soon, they were ready, willing, and eager to go and during that time, a track enters the mind of these words: WELCOME TO THE SPACE SHOW.
For any American or anybody that isn’t Japanese that doesn’t always follow anime as much, there is no denying that Studio Ghibli is a part of that fraction that people who aren’t anime fans like their movies but recently, most anime movies have their Ghibli touch such as Summer Wars and The Girl Who Leapt through Time, both of which are from Madhouse and directed by Mamoru Hasoda but what if a movie that combines the magic of Ghibli and the works of Mamoru Hasoda? That is where this movie comes to mind.
The plot involves around five children who originally plan to spend their summer vacation at a self-run summer camp but things all change when they save the life of a dog-like alien while looking for their lost class pet and they are rewarded with a trip to an alien colony located on the moon. However, things take a turn for the worse when passages from the Moon to the Earth banned, poachers hunting for something one of the kids got (it’s wasabi), and to top it all off, finding a way home before their parents discover them to be missing.
While I got to say that story of the movie is really nothing new, being it’s a journey to a world that’s outside of our own and experiencing new entities beyond their eyes, is actually really refreshing to watch, but I believe there are some scenes (The passport scene, the ways of them earning money and losing it) that really didn’t need to be there or need to be cut short, considering its runtime is over 2 hours 16 minutes (136 minutes) and most anime movies don’t even try to be that long…or at least, the anime movies that I watch. There is also something about the title element, The Space Show, as in you’ll know nothing about it in the first part and only know a little bit about throughout the movie’s mid-section.
Characters are pretty decent with a minimal main group of characters like Natsuki, the newly added, energetic kid from town who is a space case some of the time but wants to prove to be stronger than she usually is, as in her being a heroine; Amane, the youngest member (and Natsuki’s cousin) who has the honest and gentle personality but isn’t as naïve as most people would think in a child and was annoyed with Natsuki in the first few minutes of the movie because of her letting the pet Pyon-Kichi escape. There’s Kiyoshi, who’s the oldest of the group and basically the leader because of his leadership skills, but to me, he had less to deal and honestly, he’s really not that interesting to follow through. Noriko, the timid fourth grader, might be the same as Kiyoshi in the story but her role is being the voice of reason. Then, there’s Koji, the bespectacled boy who is very curious about anything with UFOs, aliens, and the occult and yet he doesn’t seem like the person that would touch everything and messes it up for that person. He’s curious but he’s not an idiot and I like that in a character. Then there’s Pochi Rickman, the dog-like alien who has a very Peter Pan-ish personality minus the Lost Boys and felt more like a characters that adults can somewhat relate to in something that’s very kid-friendly but not in your face about it. There’s also the message of owning up to your responsibility, from Natsuki being arrogant and lazy to when her cousin is in danger or Pochi.
For animation, A-1 Pictures, the studio that brought you Blue Exorcist, Black Butler, and of course, Sword Art Online, are the ones responsible for this movie and this may sound redundant but the animation looks very vibrant, colorful and a visual masterpiece. In layman’s terms, it’s that damn good but at sometimes can get a little warped in the character movements, like it was Studio 4’C doing in-between animation but stil, it’s great animation to look at. The music score has that jazzy, bouncing edge to it, like you are a kid in an amusement park being surrounded by all these people and cartoon characters (mainly people in mascot outfits) and the ending song done by Susan Boyle (yes, that Susan Boyle. Has she done anything relevant in a while?) was really a great highlight in the music department.
The dub, surprisingly, is done by underutilized New York/Los Angeles (bicoastal) dubbing company NYAV Post and, as of now, is distributed by Manga Entertainment……that’s Manga UK meaning no US date has been made for this yet. Anyway, the dub really had strong points when casting child actors Michael Dean & Michael Jacob Wayne as Amane & Koji, respectively, as you believe that this is an actual kid voicing that role since most dubs and especially the original Japanese counterparts often ignore that. However, there are strong performances from veterans Michael Sinterniklaas (The Venture Bros. and founder of NYAV Post), Stephanie Sheh (in her better roles, IMO, and also co-direct and wrote the English version/ADR), Cassandra Lee & Marc Diraison (also co-directs with Sheh.)
FINAL VERDICT: This movie has got the touch of what Ghibli has been missing recently with a sense of adventure and fun thrown in with some glaring problems like forgetting the title element of the movie, it can run for too long, and some lessons can become overbearing but can be subtle about it. It’s an anime film that I would recommend to families if they can stand the 2 hour length of it.
Welcome to the Space Show blasts off to a
PLANET TYRO RATING: LOW Solid B. 7.5/10
Ani, GSXR & Hybrid are now on the road to find the rest of the crew and from the looks of it, it looks like to be a hell of a long trip as the first destination they’re heading to is Kris, or as he liked to be called now, “Pancho.” And as Hybrid knew about that, he said, “AAHH! No fucking way! Didn’t that guy want to kill me when he sees me?” Ani calmed him down saying, “You have a disguise. We’ll just tell him you are….my grandfather. I think he’ll believe that.” Then Hybrid interjected with, “How is he going to believe that I’m…….wait, I’m not sure if I’m younger or older than you.” Then GSXR came to an abrupt stop as a gaggle of police officers and bounty hunters are securing the exits and they are checking every vehicle for The Hybrid and other runaways. Soon they got to theirs and GSXR got off by saying, “Is there a problem, officer……and scary looking guy?” As she looks toward one of the hunters, the officer said, “Well, ma’am, we’re searching for a dangerous and nefarious man that’s considered a threat and danger to everyone in the state, including you two lovely ladies and……is that your grandfather or grandmother?” Hybrid looked displeased and Ani answered, “No. This is my hearing impaired cousin who really needs our help with communication so we speak for him.” The officer looked awfully suspicious of that but he checked them out……with one exception. They send in another officer and that officer was……….”You need my help, sir?”, and it was Pancho that answered and Ani, GSXR, and especially Hybrid were shocked.
And now, this story shall return in February with a review reserve for Valentine’s Day……
And until then, this is MAK2.0 aka The Hybrid, bringing all the elements in one format.
WELCOME TO THE SPACE SHOW – animation by A-1 Pictures / distributed by MANGA ENTERTAINMENT (UK), US distributed undetermined yet (that or GKIDS)
THE MIND OF THE HYBRID ONE – my Tumblr page.