Anime: Bagi, the Monster of Mighty Nature
A Science Fiction
anime film, written and directed by Osamu Tezuka
. It was a protest against gene recombination, that was being legalized in Japan during that time.
When he was a little boy, Ryo Ishigami received a present from his father: a pink kitten, whom he named Bagi. As the little cat grew, it started to show signs of intelligence beyond a normal animal. She tried to read, write and walk on hind legs. The boy's father was terrified that the kitten could be a mutant of some sort, and decided to get rid of Bagi, despite the Ryo's protests (he and the cat had become very good friends by that point). However, the father did not have to do anything, for Bagi had escaped.
Now, age 15, Ryo is a member of an up-to-no-good motorcycle gang, skipping school and getting into trouble with his new friends. For his misdemeanor he blames his father, who, busy with his detective work, is seldom seen at home, and his scientist mother, who completely devoted her life to her profession and does not even live with her family anymore.
One day the gang was riding about town, when its leader spotted a young woman, and decided to chase her, just for fun. When finally catching up with her, he discovers, to his horror, that the "lady" is, in fact, some sort of monster, who immediately starts to attack one gang member after another. When only Ryo is left, the monster-lady looks at him, but does not harm him, and runs away. After the rest of the gang comes back to their senses, the leader swears to find the monster-lady who attacked them, and take revenge.
They find an abandoned house, when they suspect she might live, and decide to wait for her inside. When darkness came, the leader sends Ryo for a lookout outside. Right then the monster returns, and attacks the gang once again. Ryo turns to the door, expecting to be attacked next. When the monster walks out, she turns out to be half-woman, half-cat
. She talks, and tells him that she is Bagi. Terrified of what he saw and hears, Ryo gets on his motorcycle, and rides home as fast as he can.
When he gets home, he finds the cat-woman to be waiting for him. From her he learns that she is indeed his old cat, only grown-up
into what she is now.
When Ryo asks her who she is: a cat or a human, she replies that she does not know herself; she has been looking for another of her kind for years, but with no success. As he thinks about Bagi's possible origin, he remembers that his father found her near the laboratory his mother works at. The two decide to go there, in search for answers.
And THAT... is only the premise.
Previously the film had only been released in Japan but as of 2013, it's officially available for viewing with subtitles
The film provides examples of:
- Art Shift: The president's explanation on how genetic engineering works.
- An Aesop: Two, actually: "all living beings deserve to live" and "don't mess with nature".
- Animation Bump: When Ryo and Bagi are running through the infared security system, and when Bagi leaps from wall to wall in a hallway.
- Badass Normal: Ryo slowly becomes this during the course of the film. Semmen Bond is implied to be one.
- Beehive Hairdo: Professor Ishigami.
- Cat Girl: Take a good guess.
- Disney Acid Sequence: There are several moments when the film does just this, with no foreshadowing and have no bearing on the plot whatsoever.
- Disney Death: Bagi.
- Framing Device: Ryo hunting down Bagi five years later, the latter apparently attacking and killing villagers. It turns out it was just normal animals who were menacing them.
- Hammerspace: When Ryo's mother feeds the animals the rice she created, a dog pulls out a bottle of water and adds drops to his share of rice.
- Humiliation Conga: Bagi gives one to the SuperLife Center president through Mind Control.
- High-Pressure Emotion: Ryo when Semmen Bond double crosses him.
- Interspecies Romance: Its quite obvious that Bagi loves Ryo very much. Ryo on the other hand, doesn't ever catch on.
- It's Personal: Ryo in the Framing Device has a personal vendetta against Bagi — she killed his mother when she promised not to. He didn't know she was set free, however.
- Mad Scientist: The one responsible for the creation of Bagi. A mild example though, since he is not that mad.
- Mood Whiplash: When Ryo's mother reveals that Bagi will soon be executed, Ryo briefly makes a highly over the top, cartoony Wild Take.
- No Export for You: A big scale Tezuka production, made in 1984, is yet to be released anywhere outside Japan (as of 2011). Be happy at least the fansub exists!
- Obviously Evil: All of the villains.
- Only Friend: Bagi tells Ryo this repeatedly, affirming how much she trusts him.
- Petting Zoo People: Obviously.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: Baby Bagi.
- Science Is Bad: Science will kill kittens, if not stopped.
- Can you guess which book provided the inspiration for the name "Bagi"?
- The scene between Bagi and Professor Ishigami is heavily inspired by Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Even the heart box shows up.
- Semmen Bond may be a Shoutout to James Bond, he even has a tune that has the familiar jingle in it when he is on screen.
- Sudden Downer Ending: Towards the end it is revealed Bagi had "matured yet again", resulting in the sudden loss of much of her intelligence. For all intents and purposes, she's reverted back to a wild feral animal. Whether this was a case of Writer's cop out, Executive Meddling, or Creator Breakdown, is unclear. Osamu definitely wanted to convey the message that man needs to learn that meddling with nature is morally wrong, a noble cause, but regrettably, poorly executed in the final arc of the story at the expense of a main character's development.