Steamboy (2004) – Katsuhiro Otomo


I can’t seem to pull myself away from the Sci-Fi Chronicles book, and was very appy to settle in for this one that combined anime and steampunk, and ran with it. Now, don’t judge me, but I watched the dubbed version, I usually prefer watching a film in the original language, but I only had access to the dubbed version.

The film is set in the 1860s, with the majority of the action taking place in Manchester and London, as a young boy, James Ray Steam (voiced by Anna Paquin) finds himself caught up in a dangerous conflict over an amazing technological advance in steam power.

James, or Ray, as he is more often called, is a bright young inventor, though not always the most accepted kid in the neighborhood thanks to the ideas that lead to his inventions. He comes from a successful line of inventors, his father, Eddie (Alfred Molina) and his grandfather, Lloyd Steam (Patrick Stewart) are both geniuses in their own right, but a new Steam Ball that Lloyd has devised may cause some problems both within the family and for the world at large.

When the Steam Ball shows up at the Steam household, Ray finds himself on the run, pursued by the sinister forces of the O’Hara foundation, overseen by a number of members, including the young, yup, you guessed it, Scarlett (Kari Wahlgren), who despite her attitude, and the people who work for her, isn’t all bad.


Ray finds himself stuck between the actions and desires of his father, and his grandfather, who find themselves on opposing sides, as Eddie and the O’Hara foundation go to work on adapting the Steam Ball for their purposes, including the development of unlimited power for their new weapons.

The story itself ends up being fairly simple and of course, sees the family getting reunited towards the end of the film as they confront the truth of what is actually going on, but it may cost them more than they are willing to give…

I do like the designs at work in the film, and of course, the attention to detail that is given to anime in general. This one works nicely, and the idea of marrying anime to steampunk seems like bit of a given, and I can’t help but wonder if it is something that is explored in our anime films… anyone?

And while I regret not watching it in the original language, it was a fun film, with some nice moments, though at two hours, I was starting to feel it was over staying its welcome. I mean, sorry Katsuhiro, it’s not Akira. I think it could have been slimmed down a bit to a faster, sleeker film, but I do like the ideas at work…

Do you have a fave anime film?





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