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Chaina-san no Yūutsu. Released in 1992
Miss China runs a bar and boarding house in a small town. Her long-term residents are mad scientist Professor Breckenridge and his assistant, Jim Floyd (named for Heywood Floyd in 2001: A Space Odyssey), whom she secretly loves. But she thinks Jim is smitten with local florist Lily and that her love is hopeless, until, for her birthday, he flies her to the moon and gives her a real moonstone ring.
Based on Kenji Tsuruta's delicately beautiful manga short stories serialized in Afternoon from 1986 onward, SoW harks back to a bygone age of Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and similar Victorian-era science fiction. Tsuruta's output is fearfully slow, so it was little surprise that the anime incarnation was similarly tardy. A second SoW release, the Scientific Boys' Club (2001, SoW: Shonen Kagaku Kurabu), chiefly features Wendy Lindberg, a leading interplanetary ether theorist, who believes that light oscillates in "ether" just as sound oscillates in air and that one can therefore travel in space by airship using "ether convection." Her father, Gordon, and his eccentric old buddies from the Scientific Boys' Club plan to celebrate the club's 50th anniversary by flying to Mars using this method, a crackpot idea, which, like other insanely romantic schemes in Tsuruta's universe, pays off eventually. The two 35-minute SBC episodes each came with a 10-minute short to tie them in with the original 1992 video titled China-san's Reduction (C-san no Shukusho). Yanagida, who turned Tsuruta's fragile art into animation with such skill, returns on character design and art direction, and Anno directs.
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