Lily C.A.T.

June 4, 2017 at 4:04 am (6 Heads, Lily C.A.T.) (, , , , , , , )

Lily C.A.T. – 1987 – Japan

A crew of thirteen scientists and engineers travel to a distant planet on behalf of some corporation. During the twenty year journey, they are in cryogenic sleep aboard a spaceship. While they rest, an alien bacteria infiltrates the ship. Upon waking, members of the crew die one by one as the infection enters their lungs and asphyxiates them. Soon, the bacteria transforms into a flowing mass of pincers, tentacles, and gaping maws. The body count escalates as the crew desperately searches for a way to destroy it.

Lily C.A.T. is an anime that melds science fiction and visceral horror. Its nightmarish alien predator recalls Alien (1979) and The Thing (1982), as does its isolated setting, taut pacing, and paranoid atmosphere. You might even call it a ripoff.

Lily C.A.T.’s characters are an interesting lot and their occasional moments of characterization are the movie’s most memorable scenes. One protagonist is the spaceship’s kind but weary captain. After many periods of cryogenic sleep, he is two hundred years old. He has been in space so long that Earth’s culture and technology has left him behind. Another character is a young doctor who smuggled himself on board the ship to escape a murder he committed on Earth. Another character is a detective who also smuggled himself on board. He wants to catch the fleeing doctor and bring him to justice. Then there is the titular Lily C.A.T. (Computerized Animal-shaped Technological robot). The ship’s crew believe she is a friendly house cat. In actuality, she is an AI who operates the ship behind the scenes.

The visual designs for Lily C.A.T.’s characters and monster were created by renowned illustrator Yoshitaka Amano. The English-language version of the movie was produced by Carl Macek (producer of the animated series Robotech). Fans of Robotech will recognize many of Lily C.A.T.’s voice actors.

Rating: 6/10 Shrunken Heads. Watching this made me remember how good Alien and The Thing are.

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