goes back to the primal fears of the earliest fleischer animation - the body is malleable, the soul is fragile - and pushes them forward with sadness and anger. it took commercial animation nearly 100 years to remember the power of drawing a line and following it...
"A body is nothing without a soul, and a soul is nothing without a body." Science fiction full of heart, conviction, and unceasing inventiveness - obviously a key work in 21st century animation (and cinema), just like all of Yuasa's other work.
Maybe I shouldn't have seen it in this period in which I am too vulnerable to issues like memories, bodies, love. But maybe nothing happens by chance and this will be forever tied to this part of my life. An emotional take of cyberpunk themes which were already explored by Oshii, but with a posteriori approach: Getting rid of bodies, preserving memories, cultivating feelings. Character design seems to tribute Tezuka.
Watching the first few episodes I thought this was a beautiful, but deeply flawed and confusing experiment. Having finished it, most of the flaws and confusion are still there, but there is also a huge and satisfying sensorial experience mixed with the usual Yuasa weird-but-great character building. It even reaches evangelion levels of WTF by it's end, but at least this time we are all on board.
More focused and less jazzy than Kemonozume, Kaiba is powered by a lot of the same qualties of Yuasa's previous work: inventive animation, strong character arcs, and a plot that melds the complex, original, playful, and serious.
I was 9 years old when I first saw Akira, which planted a seed in my mind. This seed was nurtured by the anime and manga I'd enjoy through my teens: Miyazaki, Shirow, Oshii's Ghost in the Shell, Tezuka, Gunbuster, and so on. Anime and manga that presented strange worlds unlike any I'd find elsewhere, but also had heart. Now I'm older, and Kaiba feels like the poignant blossoming of that seed. Thank you, Yuasa.