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Anime / Twilight of the Cockroaches

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Twilight of the Cockroaches is a 1987 Hiroaki Yoshida directed film once licensed by Streamline Pictures.

A colony of cockroaches lives peacefully in lonely bachelor Seito's apartment, as he suffers depression and lets his apartment become a mess. The cockroaches worship Seito as a god, and the crumbs he leaves out are like manna from heaven for them. Naomi, a sweet 19 year old cockroach, is engaged to the nice but boring Ichiro. She'd rather have the exotic warrior hunter from another tribe, Hans. Naomi and the other cockroaches live affluently and like humans, eating crumbs out in the open in the lap of luxury while Seito sleeps and wastes away. The real threat comes when Seito brings home a girlfriend, who is disgusted by his messy apartment. She brings in pesticides and other poisons. Mass genocide of cockroaches is brought on by Seito's girlfriend's cleanliness. Crushings, charrings, and mutilations of the cockroaches occur. Death by spray can, rolled newspaper, vacuum cleaners, and a stomping boot are witnessed from the terrifying point of view of a cockroach. What the humans see as basic hygiene is a holocaust to the cockroaches, a point driven home by visual references to Hiroshima and Auschwitz. Naomi and the other cockroaches can't figure out why their god Seito has turned on them.

Not to be confused with Grave of the Fireflies.

Inspiration to the plot of the 1996 movie Joe's Apartment.

Tropes featured in the film:

  • All There in the Manual: Momoko, the name of Saito's girlfriend, is shown in the credits.
  • Babies Ever After: Oh boy, does she ever. It's what cockroaches do best.
  • Bamboo Technology: The roaches recycle human trash for buildings and furniture. The ones who live with Seito know how to use human electronics (though cannot manufacture them).
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Naomi seems bored with the roach paradise Seito provides and complains that Ichiro doesn't provide her life any excitement. She has a morbid fascination with the, "on the brink of extinction," stories told to her.
  • Betty and Veronica: Ichiro is the Betty while Hans is the Veronica.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Although her entire tribe is dead, as are both of her lovers, Naomi is able to survive and becomes the mother of a new generation of cockroaches.
  • Born Winner: The combination of Naomi's immunity to insecticide, Hans' physiology, and Ichiro's compassion will create a new breed of roach with all these traits.
  • The Chosen One: Naomi is immune to insecticide and will pass this trait to all her children.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The roaches are no absolutely no match for Seito and Momoko. Even when they try to attack a human's most vulnerable spot (the eyes), it does nothing but anger them more.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Eventually the roaches decide to launch an all out attack on humanity. They fail miserably with Naomi as the sole survivor.
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: Seito, without a wife or girlfriend, lets cockroaches infest his home as it provides a distraction for him.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Seito drinks himself to sleep every night, after his wife and children are gone. This also applies to Momoko, who spends her own free time drinking beer at home or in the clubs. Both sober up once they start dating.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: Naomi is immune to insecticide and she will pass this trait to her children.
  • Evil All Along: As an elder roach reveals, Seito has killed countless roaches in the past, and there are several moments when Seito smiles as he kills them.
  • Eye Scream: During their final attack on Saito and Momoko, one of Ichiro's friends intentionally rams himself into Saito's eye, hurting him momentarily.
  • Fantastic Racism: Momoko's roaches are led by an authoritarian leader who believes that roaches are the chosen species of God, who are genetically purer than humans, and superior because they can survive in locations and eat things that humans cannot.
  • Gatling Good: Seito has an air soft gun. Harmless to humans, but There Is No Kill Like Overkill to roaches. Ichiro dies this way.
  • Giant Foot of Stomping: The former from the roach's point of view.
  • Her Heart Will Go On: In an interesting twist, Naomi's children come from both Hans and Ichiro after both have died.
  • Hikikomori: Seito.
  • Hope Spot: When Ichiro learns how to fly, Seito shoots him down with an air soft gun.
  • Humans Are Cthulhu: From the roaches' point of view, Seito is a great and giving god who, for no reason they can understand, one day turns upon them without warning and begins to destroy them, his power too great for them to do anything about it. Later it is revealed that some roaches realize that humans are more along the lines of Sufficiently Advanced Alien, but the gap between them is too vast.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: The roaches would like nothing more than peaceful coexistence with humanity, but mankind neither cares or listens to their pleas. So they fight for the right to survive.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Saito is shown throwing darts and practicing with an air soft gun at different points. He uses the air gun to kill several roaches including a flying Ichiro, with practice could be possible. He uses a throwing dart to kill Sage, the tribe leader. What makes this improbable is Sage was hit on the bullseye of a dart board.
  • Love Triangle: A subplot, with Naomi between Ichiro and Hans.
  • Mouse World: The point of view is often from the roaches' height. At times, the perspective is supposed to be a roach moving through grass or pipes.
  • Naïve Everygirl: Poor Naomi...
  • Kaiju: What humans are to roaches without insecticide and technology. With the advances Humans Are Cthulhu.
  • Neat Freak: Momoko maintains such a clean home, the only time roaches can get food is when she's cooking or eating. They're forced to use diversionary tactics in luring her attention away during these moments, resulting in mass casualties to those being the bait.
  • Never Hurt an Innocent: The Hosino tribe pride themselves on not hurting any human, especially Saito. During their final attack on Saito and Momoko, one of Ichiro's friends intentionally rams himself into Saito's eye, hurting him momentarily.
  • Idle Rich: Ichiro. His father is among the wealthiest and most powerful roaches in the community.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Momoko (portrayed by actress and model Setsuko Karasuma) is shown in her underwear and nightclub outfits from time to time.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: During the final battle, Hans is squished by a falling book, leaving Ichiro to be with Naomi. Moments later, Ichiro is killed via air soft gun, leaving Naomi as the Sole Survivor.
  • Old Soldier: It's revealed that Han's leader was a subordinate of Naomi's grandfather, who manages to give Saito a "parting gift" before passing away in mid-air.
  • One-Word Vocabulary: When he first arrives at Saito's apartment, Hans' only replies saying "Ya." He is more vocal with his own tribe.
  • The Promised Land: The shed. It's not inhabited by humans, but close enough to raid human homes. A roach community could thrive there, so long as it remains hidden. Naomi gives birth to her children there.
  • The Prophecy: The roaches possess a tale when all their kind becomes immune to insecticide. Naomi becomes The Chosen One of the prophecy, having herself survived the insecticide and passing the trait on to her children.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: A rare Japanese example. The cockroaches are animated, and the humans are live action. It also takes the Osmosis Jones approach of having the nonhuman characters exist in an entirely animated world while the humans exist in a live-action world.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Ichiro and Hans, respectively. Naomi chooses Hans.
  • Stopped Caring: The reason Seito lets the roaches infest his home, is because his wife divorced him and took their children. He no longer cares about anything and drinks his life away. This quickly changes once he hooks up with Momoko.
  • Talking Poo: For a brief moment.
  • Take a Third Option: Seito's roaches attempt to coexist with humans peacefully. This becomes an illusion. Momoko's roaches attempt to destroy humans. This is impossible. Naomi's grandfather envisions a future where roaches survive without being near humans. This is the future Naomi's children will attempt.
  • Their First Time: Naomi and Hans. Naomi complains to her best friend that Ichiro has yet to impregnate her, while Hans never sought another's company.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: On the one hand, the cockroach characters are all heavily anthropomorphized, save their extra arms, to the point that they might as well be humans in cockroach costumes. On the other hand, they're still very obviously meant to be cockroaches.
  • Women Prefer Strong Men: Naomi complains Ichiro is out of shape and is immediately attracted to Hans.