Newest Reviews
We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Covert Action
Strangler's Web
House of Bamboo
Murder Me, Monster
Hell and High Water
Miserables, Les
Ritz, The
Girls of the Sun
Princess and the Goblin, The
Incredible Kung Fu Mission
Dirty Cops
You Cannot Kill David Arquette
Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist
Son's Room, The
Evil Hits Evil
Blue My Mind
Assassination Nation
Golden Key, The
Image Book, The
On Body and Soul
Danger Within
Battle in Outer Space
H-Man, The
Newest Articles
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
Rose: A Love Story - Producers April Kelley and Sara Huxley Interview
Phone Phreak: 976-EVIL on Blu-ray
Living the Nightmare: Dementia on Blu-ray
Becky and The Devil to Pay: Ruckus and Lane Skye Interview
Big Top Bloodbath: Circus of Horrors on Blu-ray
A Knock on the Door at 4 O'clock in the Morning: The Strangers on Blu-ray
Wives of the Skies: Honey Lauren Interview
  Patapata Airship Adventure Up, up and away
Year: 2002
Director: Yuichiro Yano
Stars: Ema Kogure, Masakazu Suzuki, Toru Okawa, Akio Otsuka, Koichi Kitamura, Maki Mizuma, Masaaki Tsukada, Mitsuaki Madono, Naomi Kusumi, Rokuro Naya
Genre: Animated, Science Fiction, Historical, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: In Nineteenth century England respected aristocrats the Buxton family welcome the arrival of baby Jane though her mother tragically dies in childbirth. As time passes Jane (voiced by Ema Kogure) blossoms into a free-spirited fifteen year old with a remarkable aptitude for science and an obsession with aircraft fuelled by her beloved older brother, George (Masakazu Suzuki), a gifted inventor. Their father, Sir Edward Buxton (Masaaki Tsukada), holds equally high hopes for his stepson, William (Toru Okawa), not realizing he bears a grudge against the family for the untimely death of his own mother.

Meanwhile, George grows obsessed by the possible existence of a so-called “Flying Liquid” from the Middle East capable of powering his experimental aircraft. When his theories are scoffed at by the scientific community, George heads off to the Middle East to bring back a sample of the flying liquid. At the same time William disappears after embezzling a fortune from his stepfather’s bank. Only days later, word reaches the Buxton family that George has been executed for treason! Then an enormous hi-tech airship appears in the skies above London enabling a gang of masked criminals to rob Sir Edward’s bank. Scotland Yard suspect an inside job and the stress sees Sir Edward taken ill. But then a letter reaches Jane bearing George’s signature along with a gem that dissolves into a sample of the miraculous flying liquid! Convinced her brother is still alive, Jane sets off on an incredible adventure across the ocean and desert dunes and into a world beyond her wildest imaginings.

The writings of Jules Verne have been a fertile source for the anime industry what with offbeat adaptations like Adrift in the Pacific (1982), Around the World with Willy Fogg (1985) and the superb Verne pastiche The Secret of Blue Water (1989). Patapata Hikosen no boken, re-titled variously in English as Adventures of Patapata Aircraft, Secret of Cerulean Sand and Patapata Airship Adventure, shares a great many similarities with that fan favourite Studio Gainax classic though in actual fact was loosely adapted from two Verne novels: “Facing the Flag” and “City in the Sahara.” Aspects of its sprawling plot, particularly the initial episodes of this twenty-six part serial, also draw substantially from shojo melodramas of the Seventies like Candy Candy (1976) with its dewey-eyed but plucky young heroine, quasi-incestuous obsession with older siblings, fantasy European setting, and a complex level of psychological angst that proves genuinely compelling.

It actually takes a while before the steampunk science fiction aspects of the plot kick in. Early episodes come across somewhat along the lines of Downton Abbey meets Pollyanna centred around the troubled origins of the Buxton family and their efforts to mould young Jane into a proper young lady. Fortunately the characters are engaging enough in their own right with Jane an especially winning role model for female viewers with her adventurous spirit and knack for aeronautics engineering along with a stoicism and emotional maturity beyond her years. The adventure has a suitably epic sweep incorporating elements of Rudyard Kipling along with certain elements that recall Hayao Miyazaki’s early anime epics Future Boy Conan (1978) and Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986), including an obsession with elaborate steampunk flying machines. These charmingly archaic aircraft are here rendered with computer graphics that were state-of-the art but now seem the one dated aspect of an otherwise handsome production.

Though slow in parts the adventure introduces Jane to an array of likeable and memorable characters and the pace picks up considerably once she reaches Neo-City, a secret hi-tech civilization that on the surface seems like a utopia but actually harbours a vast armada of flying machines stealing gold from around the world. Here, Jane bonds with Jeanne, a plucky little girl pilot whose scientific curiosity matches her own. While the big twist regarding the identity of the serial’s masked super-villain, Lord Harry, is not too hard to guess, it remains emotionally devastating nonetheless. The climactic episodes are laden with action and spectacle though it is the drama that packs the most potent punch and, in time honoured anime tradition, children will likely find both traumatizing and inspiring.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


This review has been viewed 1221 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu

Recent Visitors
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg


Last Updated: