Flying Phantom Ship: A Wild Ride Through Genres and Capitalism

A Continued Journey Through Older Anime

As of this sort, this is the oldest anime that I’ve watched so far. The first time I mentioned this, it was Lupin the Third: Part 1 which came out in 1971. This film came out in the middle of 1969 and it really does capture the older animation style, the older character styles, and so many other things.Which is saying something because the transition from 1969 to 1971 isn’t huge year wise, but there is such a distinct difference between the two in terms of character styles and animation styles and other implications too. This film is like a lot of short animation segments from Looney Tunes or Tom and Jerry, if they were attached together. 

The most interesting part of this for me is some of the staff members who worked on this hour long film too. The original creator behind this film is Shotaro Ishinomori. A man who shouldn’t need an introduction, but he created Cyborg 009, Kamen Rider, and who knows how many other things. Another surprise is that one of the Key animators was a young Hayao Miyazaki. A Miyazaki that hasn’t been pushed into the mysterious Lupin the Third yet, but you can tell through some character designs he is there. Hiroshi Ikeda, one of the people behind Nintendo, worked on this too. The introduction to all of this is already wild. 

A Wild Story and Structure

This film starts with such a wild sort of arc. A boy named Hayato, his dog Joe, his mom and his dad are enjoying a boat ride. Suddenly, they see an old man passed out on top of a hill there too. The mother stops, drops the three of them off who check on the old man, and then drives the boat somewhere else. A man who turns out to be Hayato’ dad’s boss Mr. Kurusio who owns the company Hayato’s dad is an engineer at.  Suddenly, they take the oldman to a haunted house to recover and the mysterious skull man makes an appearance after scary moments and bubble soda. Please learn to be afraid of that soda because it ruins lives through mind control. 

Yeah this show starts getting more and more wild all the time. Just when the show relaxes for a little bit with Hayato and his dad in a car, a giant robot shows out of nowhere and kills both of Hayato’s parents then gets destroyed by a flying ghost ship. . Then he gets adopted by Mr. Kurusio for some reason until a secret war factory is found underneath Kurusio’s house. Then that leads to Hayato rebelling against him and the entire complex with the Skullman and his ship for rebellion. It really is a fun film made out of “and then and then and then” sort of writing which creates a very fun yet chaotic sort of thing that will keep your attention. 

The major question I kind of wonder is with how this is structured is how the character writing should be considered. In this case, am I seeing these characters change a bit or am I seeing different sides for them/ For instance, Mr. Kurusio is seen as a nice oldman in the beginning. He’s grateful Hayato and his company thanks his father. This is the same man who adopts Hayato after the giant robot destroyed everything. So that is his outside sort of life that is how we all feel about him until we discover he wants to destroy the world from the factory underneath his house. Everyone else is handled in a similar sort of way. In the end, Hayato is able to find his real father. 

An Influential Anime?

There are a lot of things that I see going on which make me wonder if this was either ignored at the time or influenced a lot of anime moving forward. I mean, this is still a product of its time because I feel like it could easily fit in with a Tetsujin 28-Go or speed racer if it wasn’t colored or something else. But then there is the flying ghost phantom ship that is rebelling against society as we know it. It’s even based on an old sailing ship but has advanced technology and a laser cannon in the front. Is this Captain Harlock and Space Battleship Yamato comes from or am I just crazy. The answer is possibly both of those but it’s not an instantly confirmable thing. I just think that the idea is there to at least lead some kind of research towards it. 

Do you know what I can confirm though? Miyazaki. There is a very Miyazaki designed young girl that shows up on the ghost ship and helps Hayato to defeat the enemy deep underneath the ocean. Her name is Ruriko and she is a very strong and positive girl that has all the traits that will be seen in other Miyazaki girls moving forward from that point. Plus, there is a small bit of an environmental thing in this film because of the anti corporation message Pushed all over the film. Other than this being an area where Miyazaki is starting out, this film must have been some kind of a success. 

An Anti Corporation Anime

I mean, this movie is not subtle about any of those things. For instance, the bubble soda is obvious. People become nonexistent if they drink enough of it. The fact that there is a competition with a prize for those who drink more than anyone else automatically makes that a scam. Or what about the blatant commercials for the product interrupting important news and speeches. What else do we need to say about that fact? Or what about Hayato’s addiction ruining the stealth function of the ghost ship which leads to massive damage and hurting everyone on it? Yeah, the soda is bad news and that is the device which the enemy controls the civilians until they become nothing. 

It is also a generally good sort of anti war film too. I mean, there is a lot of selling of arms and profits hidden under a government sort of agenda. Especially since Mr. Kurusio is not only a person that is an executive of a company selling those arms, he has actual political power because of his money. So everything that Kurusio is doing is destroying society so his profits can go up more. The civilians don’t even matter to him, he only needs to be more rich by serving that mysterious sort of entity ruining everything. The message on this film couldn’t be more obvious if it tried. It might as well be an anvil for all of that. 

Fun Times

This film is such a blast. A lot of 60’s animation that has or hasn’t aged well depending on the context while having some cool battles from time to time as the genre changes every ten minutes. It’s a very good and energetic film with the direction and the crazy writing carrying a lot of it. Would recommend checking out because it would be such a good time on the best sorts of levels for it too. It also feels like just a fun bit of anime history to check out too and it doesn’t take up a long time for it too. The discotek blu-ray for it is just generally pretty good and also pretty cheap too. Couldn’t be more worth it then it could be at all. 


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