LaMB, Animax Asia’s first ever animation production, is not as lamblike as its title might suggest and has nothing to do with boundless fields and cute, furry animals running free on a farm.
In actual fact, LaMB is an action-packed sci-fi animation developed from the winning script written by Carmela Juinio for the Animax Awards 2007 script-writing competition.
Set on Cerra, a desolate planet void of flora and fauna, in 2272 A.D., Dr Jack Griswold (voiced by Van Ness Wu of Taiwanese boyband, F4) is a scientist contracted by the Central Administration Bureau of Cerra to restore the planet of its greenery.
In the process, he meets Eve, a LaMB, and learns that there are many others like her, criminals who are stuck in laminated suits, allowing them to remain productive citizens of Cerra while being kept on a skin-tight leash. As Jack struggles to come to terms with this uniquely horrendous system of justice as well as deal with the cold-hearted Keiko Suzuki (voiced by Josie Ho), he unwittingly develops feelings for Eve, only serving to complicate matters at hand.
The result is a promising animation, revolving around themes of slavery, freedom and revenge.
From what could be seen from the sneak preview, LaMB has the makings of an epic production. They had everything going for them, from a captivating, futuristic storyline reminiscent of popular Japanese anime, Elfen Lied, to the minute details, such as intricate costumes for the various characters.
The production features some big names, like Van Ness Wu of Taiwanese boy-band F4, Josie Ho and Tanaka Chie, both actresses from Hong Kong Taiwan respectively. Popular bands like Simple Plan and The Click Five were roped in, too, to help out with the soundtrack. And New York-based fashion designer, Vivienne Tam, even contributed two original fashion designs for the character, Eve, in the animation.
The voice actors, though definitely not as natural as some of their Japanese counterparts, were not as painfully uncomfortable as expected. But there were a few moments when you could hear Van Ness Wu shouting with utmost emotion in his voice and there would be the most serene expression on Dr Griswold’s face, resulting in a few hilariously awkward scenes.
The background music too, didn’t exactly fit the mood of the scene at some points. Yes, we get it, you managed to get very popular, world-famous bands, like Simple Plan and The Click Five, but it is no reason for their songs to be blasting in the background during every single emotional scene every five minutes.
But the animation, locally produced by Peach Blossom Media, was the one component that left much to be desired.
The most baffling thing is that the backdrop of the city, Cerra, was beautiful and the shots not involving any characters were professionally done. However, the actual animation of the characters were stilted at best. In what was, I presume, to be the climax of the movie, the characters looked like they were fumbling clockwork toys moving across the screen to emo rock music in the background, making it a little difficult to take the scene seriously.
But despite the wooden, stick-figure-like animation and the minor glitches in the background music, LaMB is definitely is setting out to be a very impressive first try for Animax Asia.
The fashion (By Vivienne Tam)