Steamboy (2004)

steamboy poster 2004 movie japanese
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 9/10

Good looking action fantasy

Steampunk story seems trendy and slow moving

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Steamboy

Studio:  Sunrise

Genre(s):  Animated/Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s):  July 17, 2004

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


I saw South Park, “Steamboy”…I know how you’re powering that thing!

It is 1863, and Lloyd Steam and his son Edward are making scientific strides in harnessing the power produced by steam.  When Lloyd sends a package to his grandson Ray, Ray learns that he must keep it out of possession of the O’Hara Foundation.  Unfortunately, Ray is captured by the Foundation where he learns his father is an intragal part of the system.  With a construction of the Steam Tower, Ray finds himself caught in the middle of a battle and the fate of London could hang in the balance.

Directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, Steamboy (スチームボーイ or Suchīmubōi) is Katsuhiro Otomo’s follow-up to his classic Akira.  The movie was released to positive review and a strong box-office in Japan, but a less powerful reaction in the United States.


I’m thinking of dropping you Scarlett…

Akira was a monumental film that changed how many viewed anime.  Steamboy was one of the most expensive animate films made and used the popular steampunk themes for its looks and style.  There is a lot be loved about Steamboy, but overall, the movie is somewhat lacking.

Steamboy’s greatest challenge is the story.  With a runtime of over two hours, the movie is really long…and feels it.  The movie goes on and on and on and the characters don’t inspire me much.  While Ray is a kind of compelling lead, I find Scarlett primarily irritating throughout (who is named after Scarlett O’Hara to emphasize this), and in general, everyone behaves like jerks.

Steampunk also seems pretty trendy.  I like the concepts of steampunk (better than cyberpunk).  The movie with its England setting almost feels like a Doctor Who episode (Doctor Who:  The Next Doctor in particular).  The movie is the epitome of the steampunk style with is look and themes, but the lacking story means that the themes are kind of left behind.


By the power steam I smite thee!

The movie does excel in the visuals.  The steampunk look works great with animation because literally anything is possible, but it also keeps that classic style.  The filmmakers did a very dynamic job of framing shots and utilizing this for the film leaving the viewer with some great animation.

Steamboy didn’t set the world on fire like Akira.  I think part of the film’s problem could simply be in the title which isn’t as compelling or mysterious as Akira.  The movie sounds like a generic comic book movie from the ’60s instead of a fun modern animated films.  Steamboy moves slow, but it still is fun.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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