published in Empire No.73, Sydney
Post-Tarrentino, so much cinema, TV, advertising, music videos and animations try very hard to be in-your-face all the time. Sometimes the results can be exhilarating. Mostly, they are forced and unoriginal, trying too hard to mess with your mind while using ideas completely copied by the originators of such an attitude. Dead Leaves is certainly fast-paced and giddy in its irreverent comedic story of two no-shit street-crims (Pandy and Retro) who break out of a lunar prison, killing hundreds in their wake and unleashing more firepower than one year’s ammo inventory of the US army.
But its unrelenting over-the-top stance, rabid characterization, wild script and angular US-style alt-illustration are as obviously splattered across the screen as a Pepsi-Max commercial. The result is as radical as Nine Inch Nails is subversive. Some might like Dead Leave’s pyrotechnic explosiveness. Others may find its bombast flat and tiresome despite the undoubted fiery and creative energy that went into making this work. Its creators insist that it should not be taken seriously, so maybe this review is inappropriate. Either way, this anime’s embrace of western cult-movie bombast (something that Production IG has intermittently sought) is less rewarding than other ventures into East/West stylistic clashes.