This morning - Well, it actually was still night at 0:15 - I watched Steamboy in its original Japanese version with English subtitles. To make it short: This movie wasn’t worth staying up that late.
Steamboy is an anime by the Akira director Katsuhiro Otomo. Akira was a huge success when it was published in the late 80ies. It is a very nicely drawn and painted anime and the story isn’t bad either. While I never was a fan of that anime, I’ll admit that it’s at least OK.
Katsuhiro Otomo and his team spent the last ten years on this project. It is at least as well drawn and painted as Akira – maybe even better –, but the story is horrible. Even kids should be bored. The plot is very simple and very foreseeable.
The story mainly takes place in the London of the early 19th century. Steam engines power everything and inventors come up with new means to use them. There is a boy – Ray Steam –, who’s a bright inventor himself. And there is the invention his father and grandfather made – the Steamball. Naturally there are some nasty guys, who want to possess the ball. And here the story leaves the ground of realism and becomes some kind of science fiction in the old world. Robots and all sorts of machines - all powered by steam engines - fight against one another and against Ray. On a side note London is demolished.
The film begins promising and becomes boring very fast. I took a nap once or twice - it takes two hours from start to end -, but it was quite easy to get back into the story, since there is nearly none.