“Think of ways to live!“
Practically beat-by-beat re-hashing of films like Alien and The Thing, the 1987 Anime Lily C.A.T. delivers a fairly formulaic science-fiction horror with a few twists here and there that keep it engaging enough to watch from start to finish.
A 23rd century crew of interstellar planet surveyors awaken from a 20 year hypersleep to discover they have a few problems. First, there are apparently two crew persons who aren’t who they say they are. Second, a mysterious bacteria is killing people, one-by-one. And third, an unknown crew member takes over the ship, locking them all into an uncertain fate. Mixed into this mess is a robotic cat that wanders around the ship and acts as the on-site embodiment of the Earth corporation in charge of the entire operation. The film feels every bit like two separate plot-lines, reminiscent of the Thing and Alien, interwoven together, but with a few lofty, if heavy-handed themes added to the story.
It’s an interesting enough watch, with some ruminations on what hypersleep might be like in the future and the rationale behind why people would choose to essentially maroon themselves on a distant planet. Unfortunately the characters are largely one note and they are little more than carbon-copy shadows of other, very familiar literary and cinematic figures, not just from the films ideological forebears of Alien and the Thing- for instance, there’s a Javert and Jean Valjean on board, adding to the anime’s tension that doesn’t exactly have much to say about crime and criminality that hasn’t already been said.
The film’s reverser monster, though an interesting concept, is very much a mishmash of other science-fiction and horror creatures as well- the Thing, the Blob and the Alien, all combined. Like the film itself, the monster is interesting enough to see on screen, but doesn’t deliver any unique punch – but does make for another addition to our horror movie monster menagerie. And, just like last week’s film, if you wanna check out Lily C.A.T. you’re in luck – the entire ad-free flick is on Youtube!
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Like music? Me too – a nice fit for any Anime, Deadlife has a bevy of choices that might work with Lily C.A.T. but maybe best in this case of disintegrating space travelers aboard a doomed ship is Strands Unravel.