A.K.A. Mirai Shounen Konan
and Conan, The Boy In Future.
Not to be confused with Detective Conan
(though the commonality of names was played for laughs in an Affectionate Parody
mashup in the Full Metal Panic!
OAV), Conan O'Brien
or Conan the Barbarian
series airing on NHK during 1978, Future Boy Conan
features direction, storyboards and character designs by Hayao Miyazaki
. The story is based on The Incredible Tide
by Alexander Key
, also known for the Witch Mountain
In the far future time of July 2008, war breaks out between two great nations, using electromagnetic bombs even more powerful than nuclear weapons. This causes massive earthquakes, tidal waves, the Earth tilting off its axis, and the continents breaking apart and sinking. An attempt to escape to outer space fails, but one ship crashes on Remnant Island, which is still barely capable of sustaining life. Two of the survivors are able to have a child before they pass away.
The story proper opens with the child, Conan, now in early adolescence and living alone with his adoptive grandfather, the sole remaining survivor of the crash. They believe themselves to be the last humans on Earth. One day, a girl named Lana washes up on the shore. Conan is more befuzzled by the concept of "girl" than by her apparent ability to talk to birds. Lana is quickly followed by soldiers of Industria, one of the few remaining outposts of the old civilization.
It seems that Lana's grandfather, Dr. Lao, has disappeared, and the Industrians plan to use Lana to track him down and force Dr. Lao to return to work for them. In the ensuing fight, Conan's grandfather takes mortal injuries, and the Industrians escape with Lana. After burying his grandfather, Conan sets sail after them, despite having no idea where Industria might be.
Meanwhile, the Industrian soldier Monsley docks with the salvage ship Barracuda, and she clashes with the ship's captain Dyce before taking off to deliver her prisoner.
Conan arrives on a somewhat more populated island, and runs into another orphaned survivor, Jimsy. They soon become fast friends, and when the Barracuda docks at the island, they sneak aboard to head to Industria to rescue Lana.
Which does happen, but not before many more exciting adventures have happened.
Tropes seen in this series include:
- Adjective Noun Fred
- Adults Are Useless: Not completely true, but the younger characters are the ones who accomplish almost everything worthwhile.
- After the End
- Apocalypse How: Somewhere between Class 1 and Class 2.
- Apocalypse Wow: Shown before the title credits of every single show.
- Applied Phlebotinum: Electromagnetic bombs, made possible by the dangerous new technology, solar power.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Monsley and Captain Dyce.
- Beta Couple: Monsley and Captain Dyce.
- Broken Bird: Monsley, as we see her past
- Big Bad: Lepka.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: Conan's vigorous life on Remnant Island has made him superhumanly strong for his size and able to cling to surfaces with his toes.
- Cool Plane: Falco. Giganto is not so much "cool" as just freaking huge.
- Competence Zone: Set to age 11. Until they're older than about 60, the adults are less competent and in many cases physically weaker than the young heroes.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Actually, it's more like a Tie Means Friendship between Conan and Jimsy.
- Evil Tower of Ominousness: The Industria tower serves as this.
- Expressive Mustache: Dyce's.
- Future Food Is Artificial: Do Industrian citizens know their bread is made of recycled plastic?
- Gentle Giant: "Patch".
- Ghibli Hills: High Harbour, which could pass for a coastal Mediterranean town if not for the occasional bits of ruined highway still standing.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: "Patch" has a nasty scar vertically across his left eye (which wears the black patch he's nicknamed for) and back across his skull, which makes him look very scary. But he's actually very kind, being in fact the missing Dr. Lao.
- Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Jimsy seems to have a tobacco addiction.
- Heel-Face Turn: Monsley and Captain Dyce.
- Kid Hero: Conan, natch.
- No One Could Survive That: Lepka's damaged escape craft explodes—behind a nearby hill. Everyone assumes that's the end of him, but there's still three episodes to go.
- No Social Skills: Jimsy, and to an extent Conan as well, in High Harbor.
- Plucky Girl: Lana
- Psychic Powers: Lana has ESP, which allows her to talk to birds, have premonitions, and to a certain degree communicate directly with human minds.
- Puppy Love: Conan and Lana
- Reused Character Design: Several characters will look very familiar if you've seen other works of Miyazaki.
- Scavenger World: There's a plastic shortage, so the islanders dig through old trash heaps for the stuff.
- Vestigial Empire: It's mentioned that Industria was a major world power before the apocalypse. By the time the series takes place however, what's left of the country is just teetering on the brink.
- Unfortunate Names: Jimsy, when you're raising a pig, you're not supposed to call it "Tasty".
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Monsley once was a sweet little girl who lived with her parents and her dog. Then, shit hit the fan. She was completely trashed.
- Walk the Plank: Lana is forced to stand on the plank. For hours. She does NOT fall off.