Run, Melos!

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“Run, Melos!” is a 107 minute movie from 1992; an adaptation of the tale of Damon and Pythias from Greek Mythology, retold in a well-known children’s short story written by Osamu Dazai in 1940. There is also a previously released animated movie of the same name, based on the same story, from 1981.

Melos, a naïve young man from the rural farmlands of Messina, comes to the city of Syracusa (Syracuse) to find items needed for his sister’s wedding. Syracusa is ruled by King Dionysus, a suspicious, untrusting, paranoid ruler, who lives in constant fear of assassination, and rules his city with an iron grip, crucifying all those whom he mistrusts. While gathering items for his sister’s wedding, including a ceremonial sword, Melos witnesses a public execution and observes a woman giving water to one of the condemned men. After following the woman, Lyza, Melos meets and is befriended by her lover, a sculptor who has ceased to sculpt, Seline. Haunted by a past “accident” involving his father, Seline passes the time living a wastrel existence in faux good humor caused by excessive drinking.

Interested in viewing Seline’s past works, Melos sneaks into the palace gardens, whereupon he is arrested and brought before King Dionysus as a suspected assassin because of the sword he was carrying. Unbelieving of Melos’ claims of innocence, Dionysus sentences him to crucifixion. While being taken away, Melos pleads to be allowed to have three days to attend his sister’s wedding before his death. Suddenly amused, Dionysus tells Melos that he will give him the three days, if he can find a man who will believe his story and agree to take his place on the cross if he does not return. Melos is then dragged down to the prison cells where he pleads with the inmates in order to find one who will hold his place. Overjoyed at having his cynical view of mankind confirmed, in that none of the inmates will take Melos’ word, the King exclaims that of course no one could possibly believe or accept such a deal. Seeing his new friend’s plight, Seline steps forward and states that he will accept Melos’ word and be crucified if Melos does not return in the allotted time.

In two days Melos is able to arrive, plan, and attend his sister’s wedding, but during his return trip he is caught in a storm and swept far away in a rushing river. With the nigh impossible task of reaching Syracusa on the third day before sunset, Melos earnestly sets off in a race against time to save his friend’s life!

An excellent anime with nice character animation, beautiful intricately painted backgrounds (from Hiroshi Ohno, Background Artist for “Jin-Roh” and the “Fullmetal Alchemist” movie; Art director on “Spring and Chaos”, “Kiki’s Delivery Service”, and “Chevalier d’Eon”), and a great, timeless story (which is often referenced in other anime and manga). I especially liked the ending presented in this theatrical version, where the King is shown as still itching to crucify either Melos or Seline, but the people rise-up and demand their release.

 Hashire Melos 01

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Curator: guyvariii
Gallery Created: 1/21/2004

Presentation 8.65/10   Collection 9.12/10   Overall 8.70/10   Votes 65 votes
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