Sailor-adventurer-explorer and all-around nice guy Corto Maltese.
This night, I found myself watching a couple of very unusual animation fare on cable.
The first feature was Kaena: The Prophecy, a CG film about a dying, tree-like world where a small tribe of humans cling to life as mysterious 'gods' within the tree dominate their lives. The titular character, Kaena, is a spirited young woman whose love for exploration soon leads her to finding the secrets of their world, their so-called gods and the key to saving her people's future.
The CG was pretty good, though I have to say that the look made me think of that crappy Final Fantasy Spirits Within movie. The story was your usual 'girl saves the planet' sort of thing, but it was interesting to see the cool alien designs and the lovely animations.
The second and better film of the night was an animated movie entitled Corto Maltese, based on the character and comics of Italian cartoonist, Hugo Pratt. The main and titular character is a sailor-adventurer who coasts through various adventures during the early to mid-1900s, meeting historical figures and encountering danger, secret societies, intrigue and quite a bit of carnage and bloody violence.
This particular story apparently involves a hunt for gold, a rich prize coveted by various factions. Corto is accompanied by a bearded companion who looks suspiciously like the Russian madman Rasputin and occasionally aided by a feisty Chinese girl and Red Lantern assassin known as Shanghai Li.
Despite having no over-the-top villains or threats of world domination, the story had me hooked and the smooth, life-like and detailed animations were beautiful to behold, sustaining interest even through the many talky parts, and coming to fruition during the film's several intense action sequences. Overall, it looked and felt like an animated Heavy Metal comic, which is great. VERY different from the usual anime fare I am used to, but having a couple of sexy femme fatales in the story certainly didn't hurt.
The film's in French, but thankfully has english subtitles. I would actually not mind at all to have a copy of both movies on dvd, if they were available. I'm pretty sure Kaena can be found in the dvd bins, while I've yet to see Corto Maltese show up anywhere. I'll see about getting them into The Sanctum's library when I can.