Part 2 of my journey through the land of the 80’s and early 90’s OVA’s. The land in question usually being a smoggy mega city with lots of construction work going on where cyborgs are chased by a special police force. With boobs.
1991-2 – 2 movies
Set in a mega city where a special police force are in charge of chasing after badguys, this time the badguys being interdimensional demons. Yup, sure is early 90’s OVA in here. Silent Mobius does have a big factor in its favour that makes it enjoyable. The show is about a women who moves house and generally feels very unsettled about moving to the big city. This is partly down to the fact that she’s being chased by interdimensional demons, but it also works quite well as a metaphor for the unrest you get when you move to somewhere unknown and everyone seems to be out to get you. It’s also genuinely frightening. Silent Mobius was in the middle of getting the boob shot out of the way as was required by law at the time, so they were having the main character take a shower. The girls in Silent Mobius are hot, I should add, so I was too busy enjoying the stripping babes (no, not like that) to expect what happened next. “Hey cool, hot babe stripping, nice underwear, goes into the shower and HOLY SHIT DEMON TENTACLE GRAPE ARGH WHAT THE HELL”. The special police force jumped in and saved her before any actual tentacle graping could be done, but holy crap did that scene ever scare the living daylights out of me.
Then there was the sequel movie, which is the single worst sequel I have ever seen in my entire life. It’s not like Silent Mobius was great or anything, but good lord this movie was horrendous. It decided it wanted to change its theme to the powah of friendship. But would it be one of the girls in the police force who the main character developed a relationship with in the last movie? Nope, it was some girl on the street who decided she wanted to be the main character friend for no reason whatsoever. She was the dumbest chick ever, without two brain cells to rub together so she was only capable of saying “r we frends naow derp” and generally being a fucking idiot. Meanwhile the demons were reduced to the shittiest villains imaginable, spouting crap like “I will toy with you long enough for you to suddenly gain super powers from the powah of friendship to destroy me”. Silent Mobius 2: Flat out one of the worst anime I have ever seen.
Cyber City Oedo
1990-1 – 3 episodes
In a smoggy mega city with lots of construction works set permanently in the night, a trio of special agents of the police force lean nonchalantly in doorways blah blah blah you know the drill. Cyber City Oedo is the definitive early 90’s OVA, complete with obligatory and slightly out of place boob shots of women with big hair. The 3 episodes focus on a different character archetype, just so they can fit all the stereotypical OVA male lead in. The loud mouth tough guy who leans in doorways, the buff guy with no personality and the transvestite with really big hair. It’s a whole load of cyberpunk fluff. Really well directed cyberpunk fluff that is. Whoever directed this deserves a medal. The clever way of framing scenes, the use of lighting, the pacing of the episodes. Everything was bang on in each episode. It’s fluff, but other series could have done with taking a leaf out of this OVA’s book to make their series, that may have had better ideas, come across better.
1991 – 1 episode
I originally watched Roujin Z (literally translated as Senior Citizen Z) because it was the first thing Satoshi Kon worked on. However his involvement was minimal, doing something like the background artwork. Far more importantly what the fact the script and mechanical design was by Katsuhiro Otomo, the guy who wrote and directed Akira. There’s quite a bit of similarities in style between the two, although Roujin Z is a hell of a lot more light hearted and approachable than Akira is, enough for me to call it a comedy. It’s set in the future where the ageing population is causing severe strain on the economy of Japan. A super company introduces a new machine that takes care of the old people instead of hiring all these nurses. The scene where they show an impressed crowd the prototype machine is some of the best black comedy I’ve ever seen, leaving cringing at how the poor old guy left in the machine is disregarded entirely by the audience. Eventually the machine goes out of control and rampages across town and our heroine needs to team up with some granddad hackers to stop it.
Roujin Z is brilliant for so many reasons on so many levels. There’s the obvious social commentary on the treatment of old people, which is delivered with such a dark sense of humour that if feels like a punch to the gut through the laughter. The characters are great, special mention going out to the team of granddad hackers, gawking at the sexy nurses in between typing at their computers. It’s an incredibly fun OVA that remains accessible while still packing the weight that keeps it in your memory a lot longer than the silliness of the whole situation probably ever should. Out of all the OVA’s I watched over this period, Roujin Z was the best of the lot by a considerable distance. I can’t recommend it enough.
Battle Angel Alita
1993 – 2 episodes
This is that OVA that James Cameron has been threatening to make a movie out of for several years now. Now that I’ve seen it, the only question I have is “why?”. I understand that this is a very short OVA of a much longer running manga, but that shouldn’t excuse it for how dreadful it was. The dialogue is as clunky and as forced as hell. The animation is dreadful, with the characters eyes and mouth seemingly being on different parts of the face every time we saw them. The ‘theme’ is handled with the finesse of a cricket bat to the face, and doesn’t even hit its intended target anyway. The plot points come across with head-desking predictability.Well, not quite predictable, because I found it hard to believe any series could go at that lengths to be so obvious with its foreshadowing. There’s the totally out of place boob shot as was required by law. A bad guy who we all knew was evil because he disembowelled a dog. The dad changed personality halfway through the first episode. So the reason this is popular is because of ironic love…right?
Armitage III Polymatrix
1996 – 1 movie
Set in a smoggy mega city with lots of cyborgs and robots running around, a police force is and so on and so forth. Starting to see a trend here? Just a bit? Armitage even outdoes every other OVA by not only having strangely out of place but required by law boob shots, by also having strangely out of place pube shots. They were robot pubes, but it was still really weird. That aside, Armitage is a series that I should have enjoyed. It was all about the powah of love (far more interesting than the powah of bloody friendship) between a cyborg and a robot. It’s the classic Clamp storyline of love can cross all boundries, and I’m a massive sap for that sort of stuff. But nope, Armitage mucks up at every available opportunity. The foreshadowing is as subtle as chicken with a bazooka, making each twist eye-rolling before they even occur. The dialogue is as clunky as hell, which kills the genuinely interesting backdrop to which the political scene is set. It’s just so damn poorly made that it killed what should have been a great story.