Neo Tokyo (迷宮物語 Meikyū Monogatari?, literally "Labyrinth Tales"), also titled Manie-Manieon its title card, is a 1987 anime science fiction anthology film produced by Project Team Argos and Madhouse. Conceived and produced by Madhouse founders Masao Maruyama and Rintarō, it adapts short stories by Taku Mayumura featured in the 1986 collection of the same Japanese title and is executive produced by publisher Haruki Kadokawa.
The 50 minute-long film has three segments, each under a different screenwriter and film director: Rintarō's "Labyrinth labyrinthos," an exploration into the maze of a little girl's mind, Yoshiaki Kawajiri's "Running Man," focusing on a deadly auto race, and Katsuhiro Ōtomo's "The Order to Stop Construction," is a cautionary tale about man's dependency on technology. In addition to original music by Godiego's Mickie Yoshino, two prominently feature famous pieces of Westernclassical music: the first of Erik Satie's Gymnopédies and the "Toreador Song" of Georges Bizet's Carmen in "Labyrinth" and "Morning Mood" from Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt score, in an ironic manner, in "The Order."
The film premièred on September 25, 1987, at that year's Tōkyō International Fantastic Film Festival. Other than festival screenings, distributor the Tōhō Company originally relegated the filmdirect-to-video, releasing a VHS on October 10, 1987, but did eventually give it a general cinema release in Japan, on April 15, 1989. In English, the film was licensed, dubbed and released theatrically (as a double feature with the first Silent Möbius film) and to VHS in North America byStreamline Pictures, the license later being taken up by the now also out of business ADV Films.
"Labyrinth labyrinthos" (ラビリンス＊ラビリントス Rabirinsu rabirintosu?) is adapted and directed by Rintarō, with character design and animation direction by Atsuko Fukushima, keyanimation by Manabu Ōhashi, Reiko Kurihara and Fukushima and art direction by Yamako Ishikawa. It serves as the anthology's "top-level" story, a framing device that leads into the other two works.
The short follows Sachi (Hideko Yoshida/Cheryl Chase), a girl locked in a game of hide-and-seekwith her cat Cicerone. Her search leads her to an old longcase clock which doubles as a doorway to a labyrinth world. The world is filled with supernatural oddities and characters, such as cardboard working class citizens, an invisible dog, a skeleton-led train and a weird circus. Eventually, Sachi and Cicerone arrive at a circus tent where a viewing screen is displayed, leading to the following segments.
"Running Man" (走る男 Hashiru Otoko?) is adapted and directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri, with character design and animation direction by Kawajiri, mechanical design by Takashi Watabe and Satoshi Kumagai, key animation by Shinji Ōtsuka, Nobumasa Shinkawa, Toshio Kawaguchi and Kengo Inagaki and art direction by Katsushi Aoki. The segment also appeared on the fifth second season episode of Liquid Television with a different voice actor, Rafael Ferrer, thanMichael McConnohie's Streamline dub.
Zach Hugh (Banjō Ginga) is the titular "Running Man," the undefeated champion of the "Death Circus" racing circuit and has raced for 10 years. Competitors race in high-speed Formula One-like craft, and spectators bet on the lives of these people for huge winnings. A Marlowe-esque reporter (Masane Tsukayama/Michael McConnohie) is sent to interview the mysterious Zach outside of the track and watches one of his races. He soon discovers Hugh has telekinetic abilities which he uses to destroy the other racers, after quietly observing him in the dark chronically over-using an interface console inside Hugh's penthouse. As the race ends in his favor, Hugh begins to see the spirits of racers who perished on the track and he continues the race until his vehicle goes up in flames. The Death Circus ends shortly afterwards, the reporter believes it was because spectators wanted to see how long Hugh could outlast death.
(note: The French language readout on the dash screen translates as: One of the high points of the Continental Circuit: The baffle of Assen, the finish line on certain laps, is a few tens of meters away.)
"The Order to Stop Construction" (工事中止命令 Kōji Chūshi Meirei?), more literally "Construction Suspension Order," is adapted and directed by Katsuhiro Ōtomo, with character design by Ōtomo, animation direction by Takashi Nakamura, key animation by Kōji Morimoto, Nakamura, Ōtomo and Kunihiko Sakurai and art direction by Takamura Mukuo. This segment's depiction of South America as a dangerous, unstable place is comparable to other depictions in the Japanese media during the 1980s such as Osamu Tezuka's 1987 comic Gringo.
A revolution in the fictional South American country of the Aloana Republic has resulted in a new government being installed; this new government refuses to accept a contract detailing the construction of Facility 444. The company responsible for the construction has begun to lose millions, so salaryman Tsutomu Sugioka (Yū Mizushima/Robert Axelrod) is sent to stop production. The work is completely automated, carried out by robots programmed to finish the job no matter the consequences and led by a robot identified as 444-1 (Hiroshi Ōtake/Jeff Winkless). Witnessing the destruction of several robots and Robot 444-1's refusal to cease operations, Tsutomu begins to lose his patience and is nearly killed by 444-1 who was programmed to eliminate anything that poses a threat to the project. He retaliates by destroying 444-1 and follows its powercord that leads to the energy source of the robots in an attempt to finally end the production. Unknown to Tsutomu, the old government has been restored and they have agreed to honor the contract once more.