Another spectacular animated science fiction feature from Japan, AI CITY plunges viewers into a surreal future world in which a young girl, in whom all human biodata has been encoded, is hunted by a variety of forces against a background of "biopollution" run amuck.
In a future New York, the shadowy FRAUD organization oversees genetic experiments and monitors levels of biopollution caused years earlier by the discovery of Genetic Alloy during an unregulated cloning experiment. FRAUD agents seek to recover a young girl, Ai (Yuki Ueda), a clone who contains the
future of mankind in her genes and can act as a trigger to reactivate human biodata memory cells. Having escaped the FRAUD laboratory with a young man, a rejected clone named Kei (Hirotaka Suzuoki), Ai allies herself with defector K2 (Fumi Koyama) and private investigator Raiden (Nachi Nozawa).
FRAUD's director, Mr. Lee (Kiyoshi Kobayashi), is engaged in a power struggle over Ai with his onetime assistant Lai Lo Chong (Ichirou Nagai). Lee succeeds in recapturing her and enables her to recall the password, "Ai City," which will activate her power. Chong is revealed to be the living
embodiment of the Genetic Alloy which, upon hearing the password, seeks to expand by absorbing the DNA of all human beings around him. He becomes a biological monster enveloping the city. Only Ai has the power to overcome the threat; she causes the Alloy to consume itself.
Japanese animation typically contains spectacular effects and visuals, and AI CITY practically tops them all. The action flies fast, furious, and violent as superpowered beings pursue Ai, their battles in and around a fragile New York cityscape rending and shattering the fabric of time and space.
Unfortunately, the welter of technical and biological details and the stubbornly bizarre plotline tend to be bewildering and repeat viewings are needed in order to grasp certain important plot points. The key revelation, that the accidental discovery of Genetic Alloy jeopardized the future of the
world, comes an hour into the film. A subsequent flashback explaining "the fake civilization of imitations" is too brief to provide a sufficient description of the conditions in this future society. While the concept is fascinating and the animation breathtaking, the ultimate point is unclear.
However, fans of apocalyptic, futuristic anime in the vein of AKIRA and LEGEND OF THE OVERFIEND should not miss this one. (Graphic violence.)
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- Released: 1986
- Rating: NR
- Review: Another spectacular animated science fiction feature from Japan, AI CITY plunges viewers into a surreal future world in which a young girl, in whom all human biodata has been encoded, is hunted by a variety of forces against a background of "biopollution"… (more)