Memories is a set of three anime episodes adapted from three of Katsuhiro Otomo's manga short stories. Katsuhiro Otomo produced the film, but each of the episodes was directed, scripted, and had music composed by a different team, giving each episode a different style. It was released in Japan on December 23, 1995.
The three episodes are:
Magnetic Rose, directed by Koji Morimoto from a screenplay by Satoshi Kon, with music by Yoko Kanno. It's set in space, where a presumably abandoned space station gives out a distress signal. Two men from a spaceship go to investigate, and find much more than they bargained for.
Stink Bomb, directed by Tensai Okamura from a screenplay by Katsuhiro Otomo, with music by Jun Miyake. A Black Comedy featuring a worker from a bioresearch facility, a weapon of mass destruction, and a lot of chaos.
Cannon Fodder, written and directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, with music by Hiroyuki Nagashima. Uses a unique animation style to give the illusion of being filmed in one long take. The story centers on the residents of a city of cannons that is forever at war.
Memories contains examples of:
- Adult Fear: In Magnetic Rose, Heinz remembers giving his daughter a space-suit, promising to take her up with him next time. In her eagerness to show it off, she climbs onto the roof after him while he's repairing a weathervane, and winds up losing her footing. He barely misses saving her. And because of the Lotus-Eater Machine, he has to watch this happen twice - once mirroring his own memory, and the second time while standing on the ground, still helpless to save his daughter.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The computer in Magnetic Rose carries out Eva's escapist fantasy long after Eva is dead, destroying other spaceships to assimilate them into itself.
- America Saves the Day: In Stink Bomb. Or so they try to.
- Art Shift: Used in the last sequence of "Cannon Fodder"
- Creepy Changing Painting: In Magnetic Rose, Miguel gets irrationally jealous when he sees a photo of Carlo kissing Eva during their search. As he and Heintz leave the room, the picture has swapped out Carlo for Miguel.
- Daddy's Girl: Emily from Magnetic Rose.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Heinz in Magnetic Rose.
- Determinator: Nobuo was given one task, and one task alone: deliver the documents and experimental drug to his superiors in Tokyo. Nothing, not even carpet bombing, heavily armed barricades, collapsing tunnels, Americans in huge spacesuits, or his own grandmother's pleas, will deter him from this mission. Naturally, this make it a twisted subversion of the trope's usual heroic overtones.
- Distress Call: Starts off Magnetic Rose. Turns out that Eva's ghost continues to call men to their death... but it's because the computer thinks it's her!
- Downer Ending: Arguably, Magnetic Rose and Stink Bomb.
- Dystopia: The city/state featured in Cannon Fodder is not a nice place to live.
- Eagleland: "Stink Bomb" has the evil variationnote , with the African-American officer who commissioned the bioweapon Nobuo ate, and who plans to capture the unwitting stinkbomb despite the risk to Japan.
- Fertile Feet: A side effect of the chemical in Stink Bomb is that every plant Nobuo comes near bursts into bloom regardless of the season even as every animal drops dead.
Bennett the Sage: The genius of this scene is that everything important to it has been well laid-out beforehand... Nothing came out of nowhere, everything was established using in-universe logic that is completely sound. It did everything to build up to this one climactic point, and it succeeded astoundingly.
- A wealth of it in "Magnetic Rose" regarding The Reveal that Heinz's daughter is Dead All Along - namely, the porcelain doll falling and breaking to the instances where he has visions of his daughter falling prior to the reveal itself.
- And the aforementioned Creepy Changing Painting hints at Miguel's fate.
- Forever War: The basis of Cannon Fodder. The population is devoted to maintaining the eternal war machine of their city, receiving daily propaganda to boost their patriotic fervor. Why are they fighting? No one knows. Turns out, there is no enemy. Every shot fired lands in the desert landscape beyond the city.
- Hero-Tracking Failure: Stink Bomb. Justified in that the chemical agent damages electronics (such as aiming devices,) even at long distance, the same way it kills animals... but it doesn't explain why bombs keep missing him too.
- Idiot Ball: Just about everyone involved in Stink Bomb is a devoted ballcarrier. Nobuo takes the cake, but his superiors and the army come a close second.
- Ladykiller in Love: Magnetic Rose has Miguel fall for Eva due to her being a Lotus-Eater Machine.
- Leit Motif: Magnetic Rose has "Un Bel Di" from "Madame Butterfly" as a recurring theme, right down to using the song as a distress signal. This also doubles as foreshadowing, as Carlo had left Eva just as Pinkerton had left Butterfly.
- Let's Split Up, Gang: Smart move, Heinz.
- Lotus-Eater Machine: The ship in Magnetic Rose is haunted by the former owner, Eva, who tricks rescuers by bringing their fondest dream to life... or tricking them into living hers.
- Macross Missile Massacre: Happens a few times in Stink Bomb when the entire military is trying to kill a single guy on a moped. Hilarity Ensues.
- Magical Realism: Magnetic Rose has shades of this at least until The Reveal. But even then, it could be questionable...
- More Dakka: The entire city in Cannon Fodder is dedicated to heavy artillery, with nary a building lacking a giant cannon on its roof.
- Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: Nobuo. Hee hee.
- Mind Screw: And how!
- Mugged for Disguise: Somehow, Nobuo manages to get himself into one of the NASA spacesuits when nobody's looking and makes it all the way to the executive he was delivering his MacGuffin to. And he still doesn't realize what's going on.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Aside from singing her rendition of "Un bel di vedremo", Eva◊ bears a striking resemblance to famous opera star Maria◊ Callas, right down to being referred to as "a Tigress" by the press.
- The Oner: Cannon Fodder is animated to give the illusion of this.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: The premise of Magnetic Rose
- Poisonous Person: Nobuo.
- Powered Armor: The NASA experimental spacesuits from "Stink Bomb" that the Eaglelanders use to try to capture Nobuo.
- Power Incontinence: Again, Nobuo. He never even realizes he has become highly toxic.
- Psycho Electro: What Nobuo ultimately (and unwittingly) becomes.
- Spoiler Cover: The back of the DVD case (pictured at the top of the page) shows Eva's desiccated corpse, which only appears during the climax of "Magnetic Rose".
- Steam Punk: Cannon Fodder.
- Superpower Meltdown: The more agitated or distraught Nobuo gets, the higher concentration of lethal biochemicals he exudes.
- Superpowered Robot Meter Maids: The little cherub statues in Magnetic Rose remind their mistress of her schedule... and also fly and shoot Eye Beams.
- Surprisingly Good English: The English in Magnetic Rose is fine except for a grammatical error on Heintz's card. It says "(...) the bearer has every rights secured by (...)".
- Too Dumb to Live: While one could argue Nobuo is delusional from suffering a nervous breakdown, it's kind of ridiculous he doesn't put together that he is the reason everyone keeps dropping dead, especially when it happens multiple times right in front of him. Also, the Head Researcher: kept dangerous biochemicals unsecured in his personal office, didn't inform people of the danger, turned off the bio-contamination warning system. Yeah, you deserve to die.
- Typhoid Mary: In Stink Bomb.
- Walking Wasteland: Again, Nobuo from Stink Bomb. Made all the more ironic considering he's also a case of Fertile Feet.
- Wham Line: From Magnetic Rose.Eva: I've made my Carlo eternal.
Heinz: You what?
Eva: In my memories, he will never change his mind.
- White-Dwarf Starlet: Eva, an opera singer in Magnetic Rose.
- Why Am I Ticking?: A variant occurs in Stink Bomb.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Eva from Magnetic Rose (or better said, the AI that took her Broken Bird personality)
- Yandere: Turns out that Eva wasn't willing to let Carlos leave her. Or any of the replacements she finds, for that matter.