My message to the Irish Blog Awards judges for not making me win. Heck, I didn’t even make the shortlist! I thought all that sucking up I did would have resulted in at least a finalist spot. Screw you judges, you get the Fukijo Middle Finger.
Moving on, this is the final batch of OVA’s. Just OVA’s I have to remind you. I have been watching plenty of other older stuff, from the various Lupin III movies to Irresponsible Captain Tylor to The Adventures of Unico (don’t ask). But for the sake of these posts, I’m keeping it to just the OVA’s.
Here is Greenwood
1991-3 – 6 episodes
Calling something ‘forgettable’ is a bit of a cheap way to review something. It’s my fall back way of describing an anime I can remember nothing about. Mind you, that’s the very definition of forgettable, so argue with that logic bitches! So what do I remember about Here is Greenwood? It had a trap that was never expanded on beyond being a trap. It had bishies who spent an awful lot of time staring at each other in the eyes with their faces worryingly close to each other. It randomly decided in the last one or two episodes that it wanted to crowbar in a heartfelt romance, which never works. I also remember all the characters wearing jeans that went really high up their waists so the belt would be around nipple level. But most of all, I remember the ending song having the line “We are the no-brand heroes” and everytime thinking they were actually saying “We are the low-slung heroes”, which would have fit the tone of the show better anyway.
Dominion Tank Police
1988-9 – 4 episodes
Take Ghost in the Shell. Now make it more light hearted and comedy focused. Now you have Patlabor. Now take it again and make it even sillier and more juvenile. Now you have Dominion Tank Police. By the same mangaka of GITS, Dominion Tank Police is about a police force in the future who use tanks with curiously spherical wheels. Tank Police is cheesy and camp, in a juvenile sort of way, and I love that quality it has. The police are working on a case about missing urine samples, which they systematically refer to as ‘The Piss Case’. Their investigation methods consist of tying a guy to a wheel and spinning him round while the force throw knives at him. Blindfolded. I’ve written about Tank Police before, such as the greatness of the catgirl striptease or how the hammy voice acting just adds to the cheese factor of the whole experience. Even the way the show has aged just adds to this cheesy appeal. But the most shocking thing of all is how it even manages to be deep, man. It probably shouldn’t have been as much a shock, considering this is Mr.Ghost in the Shell we’re talking about here, but the last episode really hit me and got me thinking. Fantastic little OVA this, highly recommended.
I did also watch the sequel, New Dominion Tank Police. It’s fun, I guess. It’s still watching the Tank Police gang go about the town, generally destroying everything that gets in their way, whether it be buildings or cars or whatever. The thing is, it lacks the same spark. Where as the original had all these great scenes you could pick out and say “this is awesome”, New DTP had none of that. It lacked the juvenile spark and its attempts at depth fell flat on its face. Again, it’s still quite a bit of fun, but it lacks the soul of the original. Without that, it becomes indistinguishable from the hundreds of other OVA’s about a police force in a smoggy town set almost permanently in night time.
1987-1991 – 8 episodes
This is often listed alongside the likes of Dirty Pair as what older anime fans were watching when they first got into anime, so I was kinda looking forward to it. Problem is, Bubblegum Crisis came towards the end of my journey into the realm of these 80’s and early 90’s OVA’s and fatigue was finally creeping up. It’s just so damn generic. Set in a smoggy mega city called MegaTokyo (obviously) where all the battles take place at night against cyborg robots with lots of mechanical tentacles. Yada yada yada you know the drill by now. The main characters are a bunch of girls with really big hair and no personalities who fight these robots in super duper flying machines. It’s not actively bad, per say. It’s just I felt like I’d watched this same damn show several times already. It’s was getting as repetitive as that anime about a generic high school male lead who has a flat chested tsundere with magical powers fall into his lap that JC Staff have been making on repeat for the past 6 years.
Goku Midnight Eye
1989 – 1 episode
By the same guy who created Cobra, for that uber small handful of you who watched Cobra. Cobra is dumb but it has two points in its favour that make it fun to watch. Well, sorta 3 points, if you decide to count curvy girls walking around in thongs the whole way through the series as a plus point. Goku Midnight Eye had that too but, while Cobra used CGI shading on the girls backsides to make the curves stand out more, the women in Goku Midnight Eye look like they were cobbled together by a blind paraplegic having an epileptic fit. The first real plus point of Cobra is the titular character himself. Sure Cobra’s annoyingly infallible, but he comes out with these great little lines in that goofy voice of his. Cobra survives getting shot in the face? Oh, that’s because I eat my cornflakes everyday etc. The main character of Goku Midnight Eye, called (surprise surprise) Goku, has no personality whatsoever. He’s a generic buff guy who leans on doorframes a lot. The other point in Cobra’s favour was the imagination behind the places he visited. They made no sense from a sci-fi point of view, but they were fun. Where is Goku Midnight Eye set? In a smoggy mega city set permanently in night time with a police force and ARRGGH NO MORE I’M SICK OF THIS NOW AARRGGGHHHH! Yeah, Goku Midnight Eye was where I finally gave up.
First, for the older crowd for whom these anime are the ones they got into anime with. Quality of anime hasn’t really dipped nor risen since then. There’s simply more of it. There has been a shift in genre focus and I myself am quite partial to the cyberpunk genre, but even I grew sick of the same damn show over and over again. Neither has there been an increase in fanservice from what I could see. The retort might be that fanservice now exists in regular TV shows and that’s what’s deplorable, but these sorts of OVA’s don’t really exist anymore. The late night 12 episode anime is where fanservice exists now. I’m sure you’re all rational people, but I’m pretty sure you’ll find that your love for Bubblegum Crisis is as blind as the newer fans love for A Certain Magical Index. I’m not telling you to stop loving these shows, but don’t give newer and younger fans such a hard time. You’re doing more to turn them off your favourite older anime than anything.
For the newer crowd though, the message is much simpler: Watch older anime! There is some genuinely fantastic stuff back here. The animation is dated, but rather than look ‘bad’ it simply looks different. Roujin Z looks a hell of a lot better than Rainbow Gate. Dominion Tank Police looks better than Togainu no Chi (although my arse looks better than Togainu no Chi). If you are truly struggling with the change in animation styles, then my recommendation would be to go back through time with your viewing order. Watch some anime from 1998-ish like FLCL, Trigun and Revolutionary Girl Utena. Then go back to 1994-ish with Escaflowne, Neon Genesis Evangelion and Roujin Z. You will automatically adapt to the older style of animation. Because you owe it to yourself to check out some of these anime. There’s a hell of a lot of crap back here, but no more so than your typical new anime season, and there’s about the same ratio of gems to crap. Watch Roujin Z. Watch Memories. Watch Dominion Tank Police. They’re as good as anything made today.
No really, watch Roujin Z.