Kimball just turned 18 and was itching to get off his farming planet to get out and see the universe. Opportunity arrives when he arranges a ride with an old friend of his father. During take off, another large ship out of control threatens to crash into the planet. Kimbal boards the ship, and lands it safely. As he attends to the wounded pilot, a strange device attaches to the back of his hand.
The ship belongs to the Galactic Patrol and its pilot was a Lensman: the core of the Patrol. Lenses are not supposed to be transferable, so it's strange Kimbal has one now. The lens will be the key to discovering the Devil Planet, something the Galactic Patrol has long searched for, and may be the only hope for the galaxy. Kimball now has a responsibility to the patrol, and has to learn the way of the Lensman. Most require years of training to become a Lensman, but in this case the lens chose him.
Lensman was one of the very first anime titles I watched. At the time I was really into everything, since it was so new. Lensman was also the first anime title I didn't like at all. If you're unfamiliar with Lensman as a franchise, there's actually interesting history to it. Many elements of sci-fi today we think of as cliché were first invented by Lensman serials in the late 1930's (yes 1930's). Being so innovative for it's time, you'd expect many interesting parts could be pulled from the series to make a movie out of it. Whats strange, is that this move doesn't even utilize the Lensman franchise material.
For an 80s title full budget movie, animation and designs are fair, but oddly uninteresting. Most movies of this vintage are full of eye candy, but Lensman has very little. A quaint feature are the occasional computer generated sequences which didn't age well and look TERRIBLE. It's hard to explain to a modern audience, but there was a time computer animation sequences were added, just because they could - even if poor quality compared to traditional animation.
The characters are flat and uninspired. Even the soundtrack lacks character. Topping this all off? Bad dubbing. What might be able to salvage Lensman is the environment and story. It's linear enough to call boring. Lensman finds Devil Planet, gives lens to kid, then they run away from bad guys. If you're familiar with the old school titles used to play out in that scenario, it does exactly that.
I'd be the first to stick up for an 1980s title due to classic anime features, but Lensman is throughly lacking in appeal. I won't say anime is awash in forgotten classics, but there are more than enough to watch, and this is certainly not among them.
Worzo: You act like you've never seen a Valantian before.
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