Mitsuru Hongo's anime feature -- adapted from a game and subsequent TV show -- is a science fiction action film set in Tokyo, circa 1926. Pic's frequently gorgeous to look at, with beautiful, hypnotic production design. But, the plot can be hard to follow, especially for newcomers.

Mitsuru Hongo’s anime feature — adapted from a game and subsequent TV show — is a science fiction action film set in Tokyo, circa 1926. Pic’s frequently gorgeous to look at, with beautiful, hypnotic production design. But, the plot can be hard to follow, especially for newcomers. There are numerous references to characters viewers are supposed to recognize; and the protagonists, all girls with identical, generic faces, can only be distinguished by their hair color and height. Clearly intended to please its built-in fan base, release is unlikely to cross to a more general audience, despite its visual pleasures.

A group of mutating aliens are constantly threatening to attack Tokyo and are now being helped by an evil American industrialist. Among the city’s protectors are our heroines, the Imperial Operetta Troupe’s Flower Division, who, when not performing J-pop tunes, put on gigantic robot-like suits and double as the Imperial Fighting Troupe’s Flower Division. Good battles evil; good triumphs.

Sakura Wars the Movie

Japan

Production

A Pioneer Entertainment presentation of a Production I.G. production. Executive producer, Toshimichi Otsuki. Directed by Mitsuru Hongo. Screenplay, Hongo, Hiroyuki Nishimura, Nobutoshi Terado, Ohji Hiroi; story by Hiroi. Original character designer, Kousuke Fujishima.

Crew

Camera (color), Tanaka Kouji; editor, Junichi Uematsu; music, Kohei Tanaka; art director, Yusuke Takeda. Reviewed on videotape, Los Angeles, July 14, 2003. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 85 MIN.

With

Chisa Yokoyama, Michie Tomizawa, Akiki Kuno, Koichi Yamadera, Akio Suyama, Urara Takano, Kumiko Nishihara, Yuriko Fuchisaki, Mayuma Tanaka, Maya Oka-moto, Kazue Ikura, and Ai Orikasa.
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