Alfin: An 80s Anime Princess Rediscovered

Posted by Michael Pinto on Feb 8, 2010 in Animation, Hobbies and Collections |

Crusher Joe Alfin Statue

Alfin from Crusher JoeI was pleasantly surprised to come across this Alfin Statue from Crusher Joe because I was convinced that I must be one of a handful of anime fanboys who still remember that amazing film. Yet sadly while most fans today know about Gundam or Yamato very few fans even know about Crusher Joe (クラッシャージョウ). So here’s why the film was important and worth getting your hands on:

Crusher Joe: Opening Titles

1983 was an amazing year for anime fans: Up until that point anime had done well on television and a film would come out here and there, but that year three blockbuster feature length science fiction films came out which changed the entire industry. That year Final Yamato came out which was the last major chapter of a franchise that dominated the 70s. But two films represented something new: One one hand you had Genma Taisen which told the dark tale of demons who were set to conquer Earth — in many ways this film was the forerunner of shows like Bleach and Death Note. Yet the film that was the most fun of three that year was Crusher Joe.

Above: The opening scene from Crusher Joe — keep in mind that all of those spaceship were drawn by hand!

Up until that point anime felt very stiff: However Crusher Joe had the characters acting instead of reacting. While Final Yamato and Genma Taisen had a dark palette and dark themes Crusher Joe really reflected the era by combining light humor within a space opera plot line. Yet despite the humor in the film the characters seemed more real as you got to see the characters hanging out in bars and getting drunk or watch a futuristic version of a drive-in-movie. And the mecha in the film was A+ having been designed by Studio Nue.

Above: A model kit commercial for Crusher Joe — the film had some amazing mecha.

Joe went on to win the Animage Anime Grand Prix prize in 1983 in addition to putting Sunrise International on the map. After this film Sunrise would go on to dominate the anime industry with hits like Mobile Suit Gundam, Dirty Pair, Patlabor, Inuyasha, Cowboy Bebop, Big O, Sgt. Frog, Code Geass and countless others. And while I realize that the animation of Joe may look low budget by the standards of today you can still see the influence of the film on every Sunrise production that has come out ever since.

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