Animated film (1998 Japan). TBS, Tōhō, Bandai, Studio Yondo C. Directed by Hirotsuge Kawasaki. Written by Katsuhiro Ōtomo, Hirotsuge Kawasaki, Yasutaka Itō. Starring Shōtarō Morikubo, Ken Shiroyama, Ryūji Aigase, Takehito Koyasu. 90 minutes. Colour.
Superhuman secret agents from rival groups of Secret Masters race to acquire relics of an Alien civilization that had dominated the Earth in the distant past (> Forerunners). On this occasion, the McGuffin is Noah's Ark, discovered in its legendary location on Mount Ararat, although soon revealed as a derelict Spaceship with an onboard Weather Control device that has apocalyptic implications (> Shaggy God Story).
The original Manga Spriggan (1989 Shūkan Shōnen Sunday; vt Striker, 1992), written by Hiroshi Takashige and illustrated by Ryōji Minagawa, was inspired by the last scenes of Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) (> Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull), in which "top men" are alleged to be studying odd artefacts depicted in storage at a secret facility. Originally intended as a video release, this Anime hokum was upgraded to cinema status with the arrival of the creator of Akira (1988) on the production team – Ōtomo's design aesthetic is obvious in the designs of the Ark and in the blue-skinned child-nemesis McDougall (Aigase). In the wake of The X-Files (1993-2002), the film and its English translation have no qualms about casting the US Pentagon as the bad guy, although this plot element had been carefully redacted when the manga was released in America some years earlier. [JonC]
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