Detail from The Red Spectacles poster.

It seems like a day can’t go by here at The A.V. Club without some hot new trailer, teaser, or teaser-teasing mini-teaser finding its way into our inboxes. And, sure, we get excited; we’re human, after all. But sometimes, it’s necessary to have some perspective. For that, you have to sit down and ask yourself the only question that matters on the subject of trailers: “Is this better than the original Japanese trailer for The Red Spectacles, the 1987 live-action debut of anime great Mamoru Oshii, best known for The Ghost In The Shell?” The answer is always no.

Will any trailer ever be able to surpass the high bar set by The Red Spectacles? Does the arty, sepia-toned kick-off of Oshii’s long-running multimedia alternate-history Kerberos Saga franchise—which includes animated films, comics, radio plays, and lots and lots of branded merchandise—live up to the expectations set by its trailer? (Short answer: Almost, in spots.) How can a trailer provide way too much information and plot while still remaining totally baffling? And how can something simultaneously seem blissfully unaware of its own goofiness and embrace it with open arms?

Poetry. This stuff is pure poetry.

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