A Lensman Website
I've attempted to piece together the history of the various Lensman animes together from the various contratictory sources available. What follows in the next paragraph may or may not be correct, but is the best I can do with the information available to me.
SF Shinseiki Lensman was released in Japan in 1984. Carl Macek's company, Streamline Pictures, dubbed the movie into English and released in America as Lensman in 1991. Lensman: Kozűmosu no daisens˘ , a TV series, followed it from 1987-1989. Another TV series, Lensman: Power of the Lens was produced in Japan and released in 2000. It seems to be based on David A. Kyle's novel The Dragon Lensman , since many of the character names listed in the cast list are from that novel (Vveryl, Deus O'sx, Lala Kallatra, and Tong). Episodes 1, 2, 3 and 7 were edited together into a movie for the UK video release Lensman - Power of the Lens .
Let me just get this right out in the open. I never would have read the Lensman novels if it hadn't been for the Lensman anime. I know. . . I know. . . I taped it off of the Sci-Fi channel back in the early nineties and watched it with my brother back when we were in junior high school or early high school. I watched it several times, and finally lost the tape somehow. But my interest was sufficiently sparked that I eventually bought the books and read them. Fortunately the Kimball Kinnison from the cover of Gray Lensman has completely supplanted the image of the anime Kim Kinnison in my mind, but I knew that in preperation for this website I would have the revisit my past. I would have to (gasp!) watch the anime again, and this time from the perspective of one who had read the novels multiple times, and loved them!
For a more detailed look than that presented here, check out the voluminous Space Shake, which details the anime and associated merchandise very thoroughly indeed.
Lensman is somewhat remarkable from a technical perspective, as it was the first movie to combine computer-generated animation with traditional cell animation. The movie is above-par from a technical perspective for an anime of the period , though others (Hayao Miyazaki) have done some much more (Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind ) with so much less. The music is rather weird, sort of a synthesized rock-jazz opera that is rather catchy in places, but totally inappropriate in other places.
The movie is very loosely based on Galactic Patrol , though it seems to have almost as much in common with Star Wars as it does Lensman. The character names remain intact, though the characters themselves are diluted beyond recognition. A few scenes, similarly washed-out, made the transition to the movie, and there are a few references to "the Arisians," "inertialess drive," "Boskone," and "Eddorian." I was masochistic enough to sit and take a pile o' screen captures to aid my comparisons, so without further ado, on with the slide-show!
The Brittania is pursued by
Boskonian ships at the beginning of the movie. I'm afraid so.
Kim Kinnison isn't the product
of a billions of years long eugenics program, but a farm boy who wants to
be a pilot. Admiral Haynes and his aide,
Thorndyke, need the information from the Lens. They have a big display
Tank. Kim goes up to a ship, the
Noshabkeming. "What a piece of junk!" Buskirk, inexplicably
half-bison, is the owner. He's a Valerian. He has a habit,
just like Wesley Willis, of head-butting people as a display of
affection. The Brittania
crash-lands. Kim is the recipient of a
second-hand droid, er, Lens, which contains information vital to Boskone's
defeat. He and Buskirk blast off to bring home the bacon.
They get boarded by Henderson,
captain of the Costigan . . . . . . and nurse Clarissa.
Helmuth has to keep killing his
subordinates when they fail, including Blakeslee (left).
Our Heroes land on Delgon and
Kim is rescued from the Catlets by Worsel, two-eyed, four-limbed, but
still pretty cool. He's a Lensman.
The Overlords of Delgon,
thionite addicts who can squirt Spiderman goop out of their mouths, have
Cris and Buskirk. Kim and Worsel to the rescue! The are almost caught by
Boskone battleships, but escape in homing torpedoes. They land on Radelix, where
Wild Bill, a character in his own right, runs a cheesy disco (I'm not
making this up). He takes in Kim and Cris. Cris has trouble keeping her
patient in bed. He's eager to find Buskirk and Worsel.
Kim has to go to the Eddorian
base to rescue Cris from Helmuth. Helmuth is huge, and has
massive mental powers. He shoots lightning from his eyes, and seems more
like an Eddorian than a Kalonian. He enjoys having the word "PLAY"
next to him. Kim transmits the coordinates
to the Devil Planet, and the Patrol fleet, lead by the flagship, the
Virgil Samms , attacks. Boskone battleships.
Helmuth is destroyed. . .
or is he???
I tried to watch this with an open mind, and found little of interest in this movie anymore. If the Lensman books are a three inch thick rare steak, the anime is watered-down milk, adulterated with something overdone. The CGI is pretty stylish, though.
Back to Supplementary Media.
Text copyright (C) 2004 Ethan Fleischer