A-Z Challenge “D” is for Dallos (Darosu)

Dallos (Darosu) 1983

The first OVA produced!

Dallos feels extremely topical now when wealth inequality is so vicious, and you could certainly also read the OVA as a critique of colonialism – though I’m not sure Hisayuki Toriumi, Mamoru Oshii and Studio Pierrot were making a ‘message’ story? I should do more reading there.

Still, the themes are definitely present and expanded via inter-generational conflict as much as being driven by events around the Lunarian rebellion.

Science-fiction and action tropes do fill a lot of the short series, and although there’s time for politics too, what caught my eye (aside from the world-building) were the now ‘old-school’ visuals from both character and mechanical design – it does feel like the 1970s are very close.

But when I learnt that there were essentially two directors on Dallos, I think it became easier to see the action scenes when Oshii was clearly in charge.

Dallos is told from a few POVs. It mostly follows our hero Shun, rebel leader Dog and antagonist Alex as they struggle for control of the colony, and it doesn’t rush the story either, which is great. I guess if you’re mostly into modern animation, however, you’ll really see the age of the art.

In a way, two stories from 1966 came to mind when I finally saw Dallos – one was We Can Remember It for You Wholesale (filmed as Total Recall in 1990) and the other The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. For the latter, the production team mention it as an influence but my association with the Philip K Dick story is a little more nebulous to me – not sure I can put my finger on why.

I still really enjoyed the OVA series and my only qualm I guess, was that I think I expected a little more mysticism from the film for some reason – maybe since the ‘god’ of Dallos itself seemed to be set up that way? Still, that feel was not absent at all, but I guess I just wanted something extra.

Obviously if you’re a science-fiction fan, or curious about this pretty cool piece of anime history, or Oshii’s early work too, then you’ll probably enjoy Dallos but visually it’s not at the level of Ghost in the Shell, for instance, and I wonder if tonally, this is more the work of writer and co-director Hisayuki Toriumi?

4 Stars*

I love how huge the theme can be 🙂

*To borrow from Iridium Eye Reviews a moment – maybe remove a star if you’re not so interested in the history of anime.

And this is my third review for my A-Z Challenge 🙂

9 thoughts on “A-Z Challenge “D” is for Dallos (Darosu)

  1. I’ve heard of this one, but have never seen it. I love the character designs though that I see in these pictures, and the story sounds great too! Probably another tough one to find for me, but I will definitely keep it in mind! As always terrific review!😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I’m not sure where it’s streaming but it’s interesting on more than a few levels, I reckon. And thank you 🙂

      The designs are pretty ace, agreed! There’s another shot I didn’t use that evokes 1970s rock band + LOTR, which was cool 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the Iridium Eye homage! I approve. 🙂

    That was a good review and Dallos would be something to check out especially for the anime historical aspects with it being the inaugural OVA ever. I would’ve never guessed that Mamoru Oshii would collaborate with Studio Pierrot of all places. Yes, the same guy responsible for Ghost in the Shell worked with the studio that would be responsible for Yu Yu Hakusho, Naruto, and Fushigi Yugi to name a few.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 😀

      Thanks! And yeah, I’m so used to associating him with Prod IG.

      I’m hoping to one day find more of Hisayuki Toriumi’s ‘Science Ninja Team Gatchaman’ so I can compare a little tone-wise, but all I remember are parts of the ‘Battle of the Planets’ version.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hahaha! No problem. I sometimes think Prod IG is to Oshii like how Ghibli is to Miyazaki.

        Nice! I haven’t seen the original Japanese uncut version, just the G-Force and Eagle Riders edited versions of that show.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Comparisons between the versions would be good. I know Fiddletwix does the Sub Dub Comparison series on her blog and GlitterInformer has been doing something similar with Power Rangers/Super Sentai and one of the Pretty Cure series.

            Liked by 1 person

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