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Young girl Ai and her protector, Kei, are on the run from rival gangs of "Headmeters"-humans with DNA recombined through nanotech viruses to give them psychic powers. Rival leaders Leigh and Lyrochin want Ai for the terrible secrets she contains, so she and failed Headmeter Kei join forces with an ex-cop turned private eye, an amnesiac ex-enemy, and a gratuitous cute cat (a design rip-off of Lucifer from Disney's Cinderella).

A poor man's Akira, even down to blue-skinned mutants with numerical foreheads, AC is much more than the sum of its parts, with surreal sequences of giant heads melting out of sidewalks, a plot revolving around multiple universes, and visceral scenes of psychic violence as Headmeters trump each other with ever-higher power levels. Based on the Action Comics manga by Shuho Itabashi (who went on to draw one of the X-Files manga adaptations) but made just that little bit too early to benefit from the higher budgets of the sci-fi anime boom of the early 1990s, it was eclipsed by its successors and relegated to the anime B-list despite a plot far superior to contemporaries such as Locke the Superman. Masterfully feeding the audience scraps of plot one bit at a time, it throws the viewer into the story without explaining a thing, slowly piecing together the reasons why Ai and Kei are on the run, who is after them, and where they are from. Sonoda's script, loaded with careful English neologisms like "Headmeter," "tuned man," and "metapsychic phase wall," is truly excellent and even features a serious contender for one of the best endings in anime, later swiped for the grand finale of Urotsukidoji. Available in separate U.K. and U.S. versions.

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Koichi Mashimo Director

Original US Poster Art

General Information Edit
Name: Ai City
Release Date: April 18, 1999
Name: アイ・シティ
Romaji: Ai City
Release Date: July 26, 1986
Rating: None
Runtime: 86 (mins)
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