Meikyuu Monogatari / Labyrinth Tales, movie (1987) - Film review by KadmonMeikyuu Monogatari / Labyrinth Tales, movie (1987) - Film review by Kadmon
image © Madhouse & Project Team Argos

The Meikyuu Monogatari / Labyrinth Tales (1987) is an animated anthology film, made up of three segments. The movie was reviewed by Kadmon.

Product: Meikyuu Monogatari / Labyrinth Tales, movie (1987)

Original title: 迷宮物語, Meikyū Monogatari, English title: Labyrinth Tales / Neo Tokyo

Series: -

Setting: various

Product type: Film, Genre: various, Style: animation

Release: 1987.09.25 premiere, 1987.10.10 home video release

Reviewer: Kadmon, Type: Male, 40s, Taste: Immersive, logical story, consistent setting, prefers surprises

Watched: very recent (2020.05), first time

Rating: Average (2 out of 3 points), Enjoyment: Weak (2- out of 3 points)

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This is my review of Meikyuu Monogatari / Labyrinth Tales, an animated anthology movie from 1987. It has three segments, with unconnected stories or animation style. I didn't really like the Labyrinth Tales film.

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Overall review (spoiler-free) - Labyrinth Tales movie

Some time ago I've read about the Meikyuu Monogatari / Labyrinth Tales movie, and it caught my interest. When I had the chance, I watched it. I probably didn't watch the trailer, I don't remember.

The movie has three segments, that do not have any connection with each other. All three of them is a self-contained story, with its distinct animation style.

The first segment, Labyrinth Labyrinthos is a surreal tale about a little girl going to a strange circus with her cat. The second segment, Running Man, is about a futuristic car race. The third segment, Construction Cancellation Order, is about an official's visit to a construction site, to shut it down.

We don't get to know the characters. The stories are not very detailed. All of these short movies work only because they have great visuals. Without a common running theme or a similar animation style, I don't feel these shorts belong together.

Labyrinth Tales is visually interesting film, with flat stories.

My experience

I enjoyed some parts of the film. However, I feel the whole movie a little pointless.

Rating: Average (2 out of 3 points). Technically it's okay, the movie is watchable.

Enjoyment: Weak (2- out of 3 points). I think I wanted a little bit more than just nice scenes. I usually prefer intricate stories with twists. Labyrinth Tales do not have these.

Chance of watching it again: There's a chance. Now that I know the story, there's probably no need to watch it again, but I liked it enough that I might watch it in the right circustances.

Rewatchability: High. If you liked it for the first time, it's for the visuals, and those will remain even if the story doesn't surprise you any more.

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Will you enjoy this?

If you like animated short films, you might like this one.

If you like weird, surreal movies, you might like Labyrinth Labyrintos.

If you like futuristic movies, you might be interested in Running Man and Construction Cancellation Order.

If you like movies with violent car races (Death Race 2000), you might like Running Man.

If you like movies with robots, you might like Construction Cancellation Order.

Watching for plot points

There are no plot points to look out for.

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Review with no spoilers - Labyrinth Tales movie

As the stories are not connected, I'll review each of them separately.

Meikyuu Monogatari / Labyrinth Tales, movie (1987) - Film review by KadmonMeikyuu Monogatari / Labyrinth Tales, movie (1987) - Film review by Kadmon
image © Madhouse & Project Team Argos

Labyrinth Labyrinthos

Review with no spoilers

It's a story of a child and her cat going to a surreal circus. It's about 12 minutes long.

Nothing really happens in this short animation. It has visually interesting scenes, though. The animation is sometimes childish, sometimes psychedelic, but very imaginative, and it fits the story in surreality. It serves as a framing device and introduction to the next two segments.

The trailer makes it look like this is a horror story, but don't let that mislead you. Although there are a couple of morbid scenes, the whole story is lighthearted.

My experience

I can enjoy bizarre scenes for a while, but after a while it became boring.

Rating: Average (2 out of 3 points). Technically it's okay, the short film is watchable.

Enjoyment: Bad (1 out of 3 points). I didn't really enjoy this.

Meikyuu Monogatari / Labyrinth Tales, movie (1987) - Film review by KadmonMeikyuu Monogatari / Labyrinth Tales, movie (1987) - Film review by Kadmon
image © Madhouse & Project Team Argos

Running Man

Review with no spoilers

Running Man is about a futuristic car race. It's about 15 minutes long. It looks like something out of a Metal Hurlant comics.

The whole story is only about one race. This short film is about the visuals, the story is not very interesting. The animation is excellent, the setting and technology looks very good. The action is often violent. The violence is very graphic, you can see the happenings in great detail.

My experience

I didn't really enjoy this, although I find the graphics impressive.

Rating: Average (2 out of 3 points). Technically it's okay, the short film is watchable.

Enjoyment: Weak (2- out of 3 points). I waited to get a story, but it didn't happen.

Meikyuu Monogatari / Labyrinth Tales, movie (1987) - Film review by KadmonMeikyuu Monogatari / Labyrinth Tales, movie (1987) - Film review by Kadmon
image © Madhouse & Project Team Argos

Construction Cancellation Order

Review with no spoilers

It's about a futuristic construction site, with robot workers. It's about 18 minutes long.

This is probably the best segment of the movie. At least it has some story, even if it ends before a proper resolution. The animation sometimes look goofy, but it fits the somewhat humorous tone of the short film.

My experience

This was slightly better than the other two, because it had a story. But I still didn't enjoy this short film.

Rating: Average (2 out of 3 points). Technically it's okay, the short film is watchable.

Enjoyment: Weak (2- out of 3 points). After the long preparation, I would have preferred to have a resolution.

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Review with spoilers - Labyrinth Tales movie

Meikyuu Monogatari / Labyrinth Tales, movie (1987) - Film review by KadmonMeikyuu Monogatari / Labyrinth Tales, movie (1987) - Film review by Kadmon
image © Madhouse & Project Team Argos

Labyrinth Labyrinthos

Review with spoilers

There is a scene with the shoggoth-like circus animals that is reminescent to the Bolero segment of the Allegro non Troppo animated movie.

The setting

Not sure. Probably Earth. What we are shown probably only happens in the fantasy of the girl.

Plot summary

A girl and her cat leave their home. On their way they encounter many surreal scenes. They get into the circus, and watch the performance of strange animals.

According to WikiPedia, the girl and the cat are playing hide and seek, and when the girl opens the grandfather clock, it acts as a doorway to another dimension.

The message of the story

I'm not sure there's one.

The structure of the story

The scenes are probably played in sequence, but it's hard to tell. If they are, then it has the usual arc of the dramatic structure.

Meikyuu Monogatari / Labyrinth Tales, movie (1987) - Film review by KadmonMeikyuu Monogatari / Labyrinth Tales, movie (1987) - Film review by Kadmon
image © Madhouse & Project Team Argos

Running Man

Review with spoilers

The only thing that's happening in this story, is a lot of car exploding in a visually interesting fashion. So, if you like to spend watching ten minutes of cars exploding, this might be a great fit for you. Otherwise you might be disappointed by this.

The setting

Futuristic setting, probably Earth.

Plot summary

A car race is going on. A reporter is sent to the race. The current champion is said to be too old, his vitals are showing he has problem with keeping up the race. Then, with his telekinetic power, he destroys every other car in the race. After he wins the race, he still goes on. He starts to have visions of other racers (probably the ones he killed). When he catches up to them, his car explodes, probably killing him.

There's a parallel story about the reporter watching the champion using telekinesis to destroy his room.

According to WikiPedia, the reporter watching the champion happens earlier, and the race is the current timeline. When he faces the visions, he tries to use telekinesis against their cars. That's why his own car explodes when he catches up to them, because he targets the same area with his ability where he actually is. None of these are explained us in the movie.

The message of the story

I'm not sure there's one.

The structure of the story

The scenes are probably played in sequence. There seems to be two parallel stories, but it might be just one, on different timelenes? According to WikiPedia, the story with the reporter watching the champion is the first timeline, then the race is a later timeline.

It has a strange dramatic structure, it starts in medias res, has a parallel story inserted, and ends without a resolution.

Meikyuu Monogatari / Labyrinth Tales, movie (1987) - Film review by KadmonMeikyuu Monogatari / Labyrinth Tales, movie (1987) - Film review by Kadmon
image © Madhouse & Project Team Argos

Construction Cancellation Order

The setting

Futuristic setting, probably Earth.

Review with spoilers

The story looks good, but the ending is lacking. We don't really get any resolution, the film just stops.

Plot summary

An official is sent to a construction site in a less developed country. The construction would be important, but the local government decided to cancel it. The official is sent there to stop the construction, in order to save money.

When he gets to the site, there are only robot workers, he finds no humans. He orders them to stop the construction, but the robots decide that he tries to hinder the project, so they stop following his orders. He destroys the leader robot, but realises that it was just following the orders of the main computer. He decides to visit the main computer. At the same time, his boss tries to reach him through the radio, to tell him the government decided to let the construction go on.

The message of the story

I'm not sure there's one.

The structure of the story

The scenes are played in sequence. It has the usual arc of the dramatic structure, but the resolution is not shown, jut implied.

Things I liked

  • The look of the robots. I especially liked that they had a long cable that connected them to either their power source, or an information central.
  • The look of the city being constructed.

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How does it compare to the other works of the creators?

I've seen a couple of the works of the creators. I probably liked every other one better than this one.

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Resources - Labyrinth Tales movie

IMDB: Meikyû monogatari (1987): Database article.

WikiPedia: Neo Tokyo (film): Database article.

Rotten Tomatoes: Meikyû monogatari (Neo-Tokyo) (Labyrinth Tales): Database article.

TV Tropes: Anime / Meikyuu Monogatari: Database article.

Anime Video Archive: Neo Tokyo: Free online version of the film, with English dub.

Reviews with no spoilers - Labyrinth Tales movie

Dave Sindelar (for Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings): Neo Tokyo (1987): Short review article of the Labyrinth Tales movie with minor spoilers, no more than the trailer.§

Marcelo Reis (for Animehaus): Neo-Tokyo (Movie)(in Portuguese): Review article of the Labyrinth Tales movie, with no spoilers, in Portuguese.§

English version by Google Translate

Vintagecoats: Mothballs: Android Dreams of Electric Fireworks: Review article of the Robot Carnival and the Labyrinth Tales movie, with minor spoilers.$

Reviews with spoilers - Labyrinth Tales movie

Animehead's Retroworld: LABYRINTH TALES (AKA NEO TOKYO) (1987): Review article of the Labyrinth Tales movie, with spoilers.§

Fadedragontear: Neo Tokyo Review: Review article of the Labyrinth Tales movie, with spoilers. Includes a plot summary.

KaiserBeamz: KYOTO VIDEO: Neo Tokyo: Review article of the Labyrinth Tales movie, with spoilers. Includes background information about the creation of the movie.

Ktulu (for Anime Reviews): Manie-Manie: Meikyuu Monogatari: Short of Competent: Review article of the Labyrinth Tales movie with minor spoilers.

Niels Matthijs (Onderhond): Neo-Tokyo: Review article of the Labyrinth Tales movie, with spoilers.

Oliver Armknecht (for Film Rezensionen): Manie Manie - Labyrinth Tales (in German): Review article of the Labyrinth Tales movie with minor spoilers, in German.§

English version by Google Translate

Studio Chōjin: Neo Tokyo Review - Scrambled Thoughts: Review video of the Labyrinth Tales movie, with spoilers.

szantaii (for Sidenote): Neo Tokyo (1987)(in Hungarian): Review video of the Labyrinth Tales movie, with spoilers, in Hungarian. Includes a plot summary.

English version by Google Translate

The Nihon Review: Neo Tokyo: Review article of the Labyrinth Tales movie, with spoilers.§

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Buying the product - Labyrinth Tales movie

 

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Have you seen the Labyrinth Tales film? How do you like the movie? Would you recommend it to others? Do you know reviews or resources you'd like to add? What further thoughts do you have about it? Tell your opinion in the comments!

 

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