21. Honey x Honey Drops
What is it?: A normal teenage girl goes to a rich school for assholes. She is able to afford this because she is part of the “Honey” program, in which a rich student pays the tuition for another student, in exchange for that student becoming an indentured servant. Somehow this is OK and not illegal, and, indeed, even lovable, if you’re into being the love slave of some fuckface.
What?!: A major conflict is resolved through awful, awful basketball.
Sexual harassment: It’s the new whirlwind romance!
Honey x Honey Drops is something that should be utterly reprehensible, and it definitely is on many levels. I am not exaggerating the plot at all in my synopsis. That is literally the basis of the story. But the anime tries SO DAMN HARD to spin romance out of this shit that I can’t take it seriously enough to be angered. I laughed hard during that whole basketball scene as the rich douchebag gets increasingly pissed off that his indentured servant is awful at basketball. I should feel bad that her self-esteem is getting crushed to pieces, but this piece of shit is so fucking stupid that it doesn’t deserve to have anyone care about it to that extent.
22. The Golden Laws
What is it?: A dopey young student is visited one night by a time traveler who wants to explore the 21st century with him. Unfortunately, because they’re kids and kids fuck up everything, they accidentally go back too far into the past and must make their way back to the present and learn about history along the way.
What?!: You know Hermes, Buddha and Jesus? All the same dude.
That kid: He’s the most important religious leader of his time. There’s hope for milquetoast losers everywhere!
The Golden Laws has the set-up to be the greatest and craziest of Happy Science’s oeuvre. Look at that screenshot — it’s not just that the movie features angels helping out Jesus when he’s being crucified, but it’s also that the protagonists can see the angels due to special technology in their time machine! The fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck?! The whole reincarnation deal adds to all the crazy, as well. Unfortunately, it also shares the same problem as the other Happy Science movies I’ve seen: namely, there are stretches where the movie is dull as shit. Look, Happy Science. All I want from you is a boatload of crazy. Nothing more. I don’t care about your characters or your spiritual values. Just dump a fuckton of crazy on me. That’s all I ask.
23. Ultimate Teacher
What is it?: Ganpachi is the “Ultimate Teacher” (TITLE DROP) hired to clean up a rowdy high school. However, he’s less Onizuka and more Terminator and attempts to put the squeeze on the gangs that run the school. The kids don’t like this and look to their sweet-looking leader, Hinako, to beat Ganpachi out of school.
What?!: Hinako’s powers come from her panties.
Wait, panties?: Yes, panties. This is anime, remember?
Ultimate Teacher has a familiar setup that spirals out of control. It’s the extreme versions of those kids movies where the cool, snarky kid takes on the big, mean teacher who wants to pile homework on the class. The OVA is basically one long war between Ganpachi and Hinako, with Ganpachi even recruiting students like an army. The one thing that really brings it down for me is the panties bullshit … it’s just so damn tired. I can’t even get offended anymore. It’s just like, “Yep, those are a teenage girl’s panties. I’m watching an anime.” At least the hilarity of the UK dub makes up for it a bit. Hinako’s voice actress gives up trying to sound American like 10 minutes in and has a distinct British accent the rest of the way.
24. Kekko Kamen
What is it?: There exists a school where the leaders engage in depraved behavior, which includes torturing students. It seems that nobody will think of the children — that is, until superheroine Kekko Kamen (who wears nothing but a mask and red boots) shows up and shows the folks in charge what’s what.
What?!: The school’s principal is named Principal Toenail of Satan.
Catchphrase: Nobody knows her face, but everybody knows her body.
Go Nagai — especially when he’s in crazy sex comedy mode — is an acquired taste, to say the least. I’m not really that into what I’ve seen adapted from the guy’s work, but for whatever reason, Kekko Kamen clicked with me. There’s definitely a goofy spirit that runs through Go Nagai’s works, a need to gleefully push the boundaries of taste as far as possible. Kekko Kamen is no more or less offensive than any other Go Nagai adaptation, but somehow, that goofiness just reached me more than other works that will end up on this list.
25. Catblue Dynamite
What is it?: Blue, a woman with cat ears and a tail, gets caught up with a couple of couriers who are being hunted by masked men. What do they want? A cassette tape of Frank Sinatra. But what’s on the tape … ?
What?!: Blue can see ghosts and gets help from a ghost friend. He is like Casper the Friendly Ghost in that his ghost rules are SUPER inconsistent.
What video game does this visual style remind you of?: Fear Effect with fewer old guys and Chinese folks.
Catblue Dynamite is shockingly OK for something that is 1) ass ugly and 2) makes barely any sense. Watching it is like seeing all the cutscenes in a 20-hour video game strung together with no context whatsoever. Catblue Dynamite is more successful at this than a related OVA to come later, because it’s silly and fun, and the set pieces are mostly outlandish, if limited in scope by the visual style. One thing that might be a dealbreaker for some: This OVA takes place in America in the 1970s, and it the English dub (should you watch it on Crunchyroll) desperately attempts the evoke the style of the time. It mostly fails. However, I found the corny failure to be quite amusing. Others may disagree.
26. Digital Devil Story Megami Tensei
What is it?: Akemi Nakajima is a bullied genius who creates a computer program to summon demons and exact revenge upon his tormentors. This goes about as well as one would expect.
What?!: He and another girl at the school share a past life or something.
Tapping into what I love: If I ever do not enjoy silly ’80s synth and giant ’80s supercomputers, then I’ll just go ahead and kill myself.
This OVA is an adaptation of first novel in the series of the same name, which also inspired the Persona series of video games. I had a mixed experience with this, overall. All the parts with the crazy demon shit are awesome. I love that the OVA immediately jumps into the weird genius kid whipping up demon programs on the computer and demands the audience just go with it. And the final battle stuff is entertaining, too. But good fucking grief the middle is such a boring slog. I’ve cut all that nonsense out of my mind. If you watch it, you should probably make a quick lunch or dinner while that’s going on. You won’t miss anything.
27. Sex Pistols
What is it?: There exists in the world a certain number of people who evolved from animals other than apes. These people sense each other and interbreed and so on and carry on with normal people none the wiser, because normals cannot sense them.
What?!: This is only explained in a short after the first episode; otherwise, there is barely any clue as to what is going on.
Making babies: Also they have a special parasite that you can stick up your butt and then guys can poop out babies.
To be honest, I was a bit disappointed by Sex Pistols. I was expecting something a bit more grandiosely terrible, when it’s mostly boring with the occasional weird thing to make people pay attention again. (Also lots of guys Frenching each other and occasional sex. Maybe anime has ruined me for life, but I didn’t find it all that shocking.) The whole “people are descended from other animals thing” is mostly used to conjure up traits that make the dudes more fuckable. I think they start turning into their spirit animal or whatever when they get super aroused? I dunno. There aren’t like any scenes of an alligator butt fucking a donkey or something, though. The butt baby parasite and the appearance of super American baby-making-rapist-turned-love-interest extraordinaire Joshua McBear made me laugh a lot, though. What a silly OVA.
What is it?: The story of an actor making a football movie and his twin brother, a musician who occasionally covers for him, told in the style of a music video/documentary.
What?!: By the way, it is a RIDICULOUSLY ’80s music video. Like, full-on, giant, poofy mullets having an orgy with skintight leopard print pants ’80s. Holy shit.
Acting: I still can’t decide whether awful actors were hired for the dub, or they’re genuinely at acting like people being interviewed.
Cipher is a strange, occasionally brilliant OVA, at least when it comes to presentation. It was presumably made to advertise the manga of the same name, and since such endeavors tend to fail at telling a story since there’s so little time to do so, Cipher doesn’t try that. Instead, it creates what must have been at the time a slick packaging of highlights and faux-interviews with the characters that leaps back and forth between what is now a super camp music video and a documentary. It’s actually a somewhat effective marketing tool. Cipher took me totally by surprise and had me gripped throughout. So why isn’t it ranked higher, then? Because the slick marketing doesn’t totally hide the fact that the story seems boring as fuck. I’m much more interested in the packaging than the package itself. And the voice acting teeters between “pompous talk show guest” and truly horrific . . . it’s a weird, weird dub. I think it’s worth experiencing once, though.
29. Hermes: Winds of Love
What is it?: Hermes is a boy destined to bring peace to ancient Greece by beating the shit out of King Minos. Along the way, Hermes woos a hottie in a tower, has a child, hangs with the gods, and goes to Hell. Also, all of Greece is Buddhist.
What?!: You heard me.
Happy Science: Countin’ those dollar bills.
From the makers of Rebirth of Buddha comes Hermes: Winds of Love – or, perhaps, it should be the other way around, since the latter was released first. Much like Buddha, Hermes is a god damn boring movie saved by bouts of insanity. After seeing Buddha, though, the craziness of Hermes just isn’t as satisfying. It doesn’t help that ancient Greek myth is god damn nuts in the first place. You can’t get any crazier than what the Greeks put out!
What is it?: Koto Hoshino accidentally seals away the Sun Goddess Amaterasu — oops! — and thus is whisked away to an alternate world where virginal priestesses in skimpy outfits battle monsters to destroy the Black Towers that keep Amaterasu sealed.
What?!: They also do battle with a boy band.
Serious or parody?: I honestly still have no idea.
Cosprayers is what would happen if Mars of Destruction were expanded to a TV series, only if it were also written by a teenager and featured more moe girls. Sense and logic are foreign concepts to this series. Plots develop Just Because and Because Shocking Twists Are Needed. I think I knew what was happening maybe five minutes total the entire series. It’s so fucking dumb and cheap, but god damn it, I can’t hate anything this dumb. It would be much higher up on the list if every character weren’t so fucking annoying. Squeaky-voiced moe girls are my Kryptonite.