AFFF: Dragon Head (Doragon Heddo) (2003)

Yesterday at Calypso Amsterdam they were showing this manga-based movie. It tells the story of a couple of middle-school students from Tokyo who on their way back from a schooltrip get into what at first seems like a train accident. There are only 4 survivors of the initial crash, of which the story follows Teru and Ako. The first 20-30 minutes of the movie is spent in the collapsed train-tunnel and the train, with occasional short flashbacks and memories of the students from the moments just before the crash. But what caused the crash, is it only just a train-crash, or is something more going on.

The third student to survive, Nobuo, the school geek seems completely flipped and acting nuts, going as far as killing the heavily wounded teacher in a fit of rage. After about 30 minutes Teru and Ako manage to find a way out of the train tunnel, and when they finally get outside they find themselves in a completly foreign and hostile enviroenment. The sky is dark gray, it’s snowing ashes and the ground is covered by a thick layer of white ash as far as the eye can see. When they crawl to the top of a hill to overlook the area around them they see a city in ruins, as if they were observers after a nuclear war. They have a long road ahead of them, how is the situation in their hometown of Tokyo, what has happened, are they the only survivors and what misery awaits them further along the road.
The movie doesn’t go into all the answers, we never actually hear the cause of the total destruction, the cause of the madness or how wide-spread the destruction is, suggestions at all the answers are given in the movie, but we will never find out for sure. The most plausible suggestion given in the movie is a shift in the earth’s magnetic field, which had an effect on the people’s mind, as well as on the geology, causing massive earthquakes and volcano’s.
The special effects and set designs in this movie are incredible, seeing huge firey rocks hurling though the air, crashing into buildings is astonishing, the amount of misery and sadness in the story in breathtaking, and the final scenes and the thoughts they bring on will take your breath away.
I can really recommend seeing this movie, or getting the dvd, which will hopefully include some extra material going deeper on the subject and story. The movie can be a bit slow-pased at times, while going into hyperdrive at other times, but overall it is a great and breathtaking experience.

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