"Reviews and Information on Japanese Animation Software"
ISSUE 12 3/7/1990
This is the 12th in a series of files of comments and reviews of anime
(Japanese animation) items that we have bought. Please direct all comments
to us by E-mail or post us a message in the Forum. We also welcome any
reviews, artwork, or comments you would like to have included in the next
ANIME STUFF issue. Also please send us any comments about any incorrect
information contained here. A correction will be placed in the next ANIME
The ANIME STUFF Staff...
- Tom Mitchell : Editor, Writer, Graphics, CompuServe & GEnie Distributor
CompuServe Address : 75156,1067
GEnie Address : TOM-M
- Masaki Takai : Writer & BBS System Distributor
CompuServe Address : 75106,3257
- Mike & Janet Naylor : Writers
CompuServe Address : 76074,1631
- Rick Sternbach : Anime Modeler, Writer
CompuServe Address : 74616,526
- Jude George : USENET Consultant, Writer
CompuServe Address: 72307,1752
- Barry Brown : INTERNET Distributor
INTERNET Address : >INTERNET:email@example.com
- Albert Wong : Writer, Index Research
CompuServe Address: 72657,2103
- Dave Handy : Graphics
CompuServe Address: 72017,1703
- Dave Seah : America Online Distributor
INTERNET Address : >INTERNET:firstname.lastname@example.org
With this issue of ANIME STUFF, we expand out to a few new systems. We
will now be appearing on GEnie in the JAPAN RT, which features a new
anime fan group. Hello to everyone on GEnie from you fellow fans on the
CompuServe Anime Group!
Thanks to Barry Brown, we now have a new home on INTERNET. And because of
the efforts of Dave Seah, we are also appearing on the new AMERICA ONLINE
system. Hi, guys!
Also thanks to everyone who has told me how much they enjoy reading ANIME
STUFF. You folks are the reason for its continued publication.
Enjoy issue 12!
- Tom Mitchell
/////////////////////////////GIF GRAPHICS NOTE\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
The following is a list of the CompuServe GIF graphics that accompany
this issue of ANIME STUFF. They are in 320 X 200 X 16 color format.
AS12G1.GIF - The GIF graphics cover for this issue of ANIME STUFF.
It features a graphic rendered by Doug Quinn of Hikaru in
his flight helmet from the MACROSS MOVIE. Cover design by
AS12G2.GIF - A GIF Macross poster for this issue of Hikaru and Misa as
they embrace each other and watch the return of the Macross
to Earth. Rendering by Doug Quinn. Color and layout by Tom
AS12G3.GIF - Jigoro the cat runs away from Madoka's red hat in this
painting by Tom Mitchell based on the popular TV show
KIMAGURE ORANGE ROAD.
AS12G4.GIF - An illustration of Ranma in a tiger suit (in his female
form!) and the logo for Ranma 1/2, the popular TV show and
manga by Rumiko Takahashi. The illustration is scanned from
some of the Ranma 1/2 manga. Additional elements and layout
by Tom Mitchell.
AS12G5.GIF - Here is a nice 16 color version of the FINAL TEACHER
illustration that was used in the On-Line Today magazine
article on the CompuServe Anime Group. Illustration by Dave
Handy based on the Original Anime Video THE FINAL TEACHER.
DIRTY PAIR OAV SERIES ON LASERDISC - 5 LASERDISCS FROM VAP VIDEO...
VOLUME 1 - 70046-78 (EPISODE 1 : The Prisoner's Troublesome Revolt
- "We hate persistent people!" EPISODE 2 : "Don't get us involved!" - The
Ultimate Halloween Party)
VOLUME 2 - 70047-78 (EPISODE 3 : "We don't fear the wrath of god!"
- The Challenge of God, EPISODE 4 : "So what if they're kids?" - Wargames
Equal a Firing Squad?)
VOLUME 3 - 70048-78 (EPISODE 5 : And Then No One Played, EPISODE 6
: "Are you serious?" - The Seaside Surprise Wedding Panic)
VOLUME 4 - 70049-78 (EPISODE 7 : Revenge of the Muscle Lady - "Is
a woman's stubbornness the flower of the ring?" EPISODE 8 : Sleeping
Beauty - "The little girl is really an older woman! Perfectly
VOLUME 5 - 70050-78 (EPISODE 9 : Red Eyes are the Signal of Hell -
"Pursue the Slaughter Squad!" EPISODE 10 : Crooks Need Not Say a Word -
"We are space truckers!")
7,800 YEN EACH
As I mentioned in my review of the Dirty Pair TV series on laserdisc in
issue 11 of Anime Stuff, I planned to collect the DP OAV series next.
Well, now the collection is compleat. And until the new Dirty Pair OAV
comes out on January 1st of 1989, my Dirty Pair LD collection is done.
After the disaster of the first OAV, AFFAIR OF NOLANDIA, and the success
of the Dirty Pair Movie another attempt at a made for video series was
made for the Pair. Released on video tape and laserdisc from late 1987 to
early 1988, this series of 10 new Dirty Pair episodes are the
result. Before I comment on the episodes themselves, I would like to
comment on the technical aspects of the videos.
First of all, like the TV episodes on laserdisc, each laserdisc volume in
this series costs 7,800 Yen. Or $55.71 at 140 Yen to the Dollar. So, if
you want to collect the whole series, the cost will be around $278.55.
Each laserdisc contains 2 episodes running at about 30 minutes each. All
the discs are in the CAV laserdisc mode, so you can enjoy all available
laserdisc special effects with them.
VAP Video's video transfer is excellent. These episodes look better than
the TV series both in animation and the quality of the prints used for the
videos. In fact, the quality of the DP OAV episodes are pretty much like
the unreleased TV episodes done as the special video release FROM LOVELY
ANGEL WITH LOVE. One the other hand, the sound for these videos have a
couple odd features. First, although the sound for the episodes themselves
are in well recorded mono, the opening and closing title sequences are in
excellent stereo! (The disc is labeled MONO too. It should have been
MONO/STEREO...(grin)) Hmph! Why no stereo sound recording for the episodes
themselves? Also, once again VAP video does not take advantage of digital
sound on the laserdisc releases. The sound is only on the analog tracks.
Not that it would make too much of a difference to use the digital
tracks, but the sound could be made a little cleaner by doing so.
As for the new episodes themselves, it's business as usual for the Dirty
Pair. In fact, because of the length of the episodes and the types of
stories involved, this series really looked and felt like a slightly
upgraded extension to the TV series. And as in the TV series, the quality
of the the stories varies wildly. Although, all of them are fun, some of
them run from really stupid story lines...WARGAMES EQUAL A FIRING SQUAD?,
REVENGE OF THE MUSCLE LADY, and WE ARE SPACE TRUCKERS for example...to
some really outstanding episodes.
The following are a list of the 3 episodes that I feel are the best of
the OAV series, and are truly must-see episodes for the Dirty Pair
EPISODE 2 : "Don't get us involved!" - The Ultimate Halloween Party
The Pair, in their not-so-subtle fashion, cause a transport craft carrying
stolen military cargo to crash. They've stopped the theft, but their
problems are only begining...The cargo is a new armed-to-the-teeth
military robot. The crash has activated it, and it has been set loose on
a nearby city that is celebrating Halloween! While the Pair struggle to
find the robot among all the costumed people in the town, they also foil
several robberies by costumed criminals using the Halloween celebrations
as an opportunity for theft.
As a comedy episode, this is one of the funniest Dirty Pair episodes I
have ever seen. The slap-stick chase scenes and situations are brilliantly
silly! And the whacked out Terminator-style robot is wonderful. How often
do you get to see a killer robot really having a good time?
EPISODE 8 : Sleeping Beauty - "The little girl is really an older woman!
An interesting mystery story about the discovery by the Pair of a little
girl kept in suspended animation in an escape capsule. The capsule was
ejected twenty years before from the WHITE SWAN, a luxury cruise ship
which was involved in a mass murder and robbery that remains one of the
WWWA's greatest unsolved mysteries. The little girl, and her stuffed toy
are the key to solving murders...as she is now the only survivor of the
tragedy. Other than the murderer, that is.
This episode is special for many reasons. First, we are presented with an
interesting and straight forward 25 minute mystery story. You will
probably figure it out before it's over, but the many details presented
will keep you entertained. Secondly, we learn a lot about the Madame
Barr, one of the WWWA's oldest agents. She failed to solve the mystery
when she was originally placed on the case. Thirdly, the most entertaining
aspect of this episode is the emotional pathos in Kei's attempt to reach
out to the terrified young survivor of the tragedy. We see a new side of
EPISODE 9 : Red Eyes are the Signal of Hell - "Pursue the Slaughter
Probably one of the most brutal Dirty Pair episodes. The Dirty Pair
arrive on a planet where peace talks between two warring sides have been
destroyed by a group of commandoes posing as government soldiers. The
Pair have been assigned the task of finding out just what these commandos
are all about, since the government swears that they have nothing to do
with the attacks on the rebels. When one of the commandos falls into
their hands in an ambush, they find that the commando's are really
cybernetically altered humans created by a weapons dealer who is hoping
to keep the war going. Not only that, but he kidnapped the men and forced
them against their will to become cyborgs. The captured commando swears
that he will find and kill the man who took him away from his family and
destroyed his life. But he dies, saving the lives of the Pair and group
of children. When the Dirty Pair find out about the weapons dealer, they
carry out the man's last wish, and kill the weapons dealer themselves.
This episode featured excellent art, and good action scenes. But most
importantly, it sports an emotionally gripping plot. And we see a side of
the Pair that we have never seen before. Rather than bringing a criminal
into the WWWA for his crimes (which they should have done...), or letting
the situation kill the criminal (which often happens in Dirty Pair...)
, we see the girls becoming so emotionally involved in a case that they
actually plan to execute the criminal themselves.
Most of the other episodes are very good to average in this series. And
there are a few changes over the TV series and the movie. The Pair have
new uniforms...silver-white...like those in Nolandia and the novels.
Character designs are like those in the movie. They've got a slick new
space ship, and the WWWA has a new HQ building (which looks like it's
just ripe for being toppled over in a Dirty Pair style accident). Plus,
there are a few new characters in the cast line up. And no more Nanmo.
(whimper) I miss their robot Nanmo.
On the whole, is was a good OAV series, and a wonderful time for any Dirty
Pair fan. And of course, and true Mugi-red blooded DP fan will want to
see and collect them all.
If you are interested in the Dirty Pair OAV series, you should also take
a look at ANIMAG issue #8. Inside is a wonderful plot synopsis of each
episode in the series written by Yumiko Yamamoto.
- Tom Mitchell
THE BEST OF BUBBLEGUM CRISIS CDV 2 (Toshiba/EMI Video CTV24-112)
Second of two compact disc videos (CDV) release by Toshiba/EMI on
Bubblegum Crisis. These CDVs are basically collections of the music from
the Bubblegum Crisis OAV series. With a total of five tracks, one video
and four audio tracks.
The video track is a music video played to the tune of KONYA WA
HURRICANE. Basically, it is the same concert shown in Bubblegum Crisis 1
with extra video from later series added in to lengthen the video to a
whole 4min 45sec.
Following the video part are the four audio tracks. The first track is
the song MAD MACHINE from Bubblegum Crisis 2:Born To Kill. The second
song is REMEMBER from Bubblegum Crisis 1. The third song is ASU E
Touchdown from Bubblegum Crisis 3:Blow Up. It's funny that Toshiba/EMI
chose this song because it was also in the Best of Bubblegum Crisis Music
CDV 1. Lastly, the fourth track in the ending song from Bubblegum Crisis
3:Blow Up. Overall, it's a nice addition to anyones Bubblegum Crisis
- Albert Wong
STARSHIP TROOPERS OAV SERIES ON LASERDISC (EMOTION VIDEO, Volume 1 Bell-213
Volume 2 Bell-215, Volume 3 Bell-217, 9800 YEN EACH)
Based on the book by Robert A. Heilein, Starship Trooper is the story
about a young man with the name of Johnny Rico. Earth falls under attack
by alien monsters. The story follows Johnny's life from his beginning
training as a trooper to his final confrontation with the aliens.
The first disc tells the story of Johnny's decision to join the starship
troopers. Of how he learns to pilot the power suit effectively. This is
also were the aliens show their destructive power. At one point in this
disc, a small group of aliens manage to destroy a rather large spaceport.
His mother dies when the aliens destroy the spaceport.
The second volume follows Johnny to the moon, where he learns to fight
under low gravity. During his trip to the moon, he learns of his mothers
death. After completing his training, Johnny and crew get shipped to Mars
for still more training. This time they'll be fighting another squad in a
simulated wargame. Unknown to Johnny and the rest of the humans, the
aliens have infiltrated the base on Mars and kills everyone. It is at the
base, that Johnny gets a face-to-face look at a real live alien. Thanks
to the squad sargeant, Johnny manages to survive to fight on in volume
In the third volume, Johnny has successfully completed his training. He
is now a full-fleged starship trooper. During a break before his
assignment, Johnny and his friend Smith, get a chance to use their
training when they beat up some local thugs. Johnny and the rest of the
troopers finally get an assignment. They are to attack and destroy a
large concentration of aliens on a jungle planet. The is long and hard.
They finally reach the main alien concentration. After the deaths of
members of his squad, Johnny makes a final attack on the aliens. As he
rushes toward, the aliens with flamethrowers blazing, the aliens open fire
point-blank and ...
The character and machine designs for Starship Trooper were unusual in
the fact that although the mecha and spaceship designs were futuristic,
the other mechanics i.e. cars, houses, etc were based on the 50's
Americas. The cars where big, classic with large tail fins, whitewalled
tires, etc. The clothing also reflected the 50's era. Although the story
and the mechanics were pretty interesting, one things I did not like were
the character designs for the people. I guess, the animators also wanted
the people to look "American". Most noticeable were the eyes. They just
looked funny to me. The original Heilein aliens were supposed to be like
giant spiders. In the laserdisc, the aliens resembled tall purplish
plants. Standing on long tentacles, the aliens were quite gruesome.
In closing, although the story was very interesting and entertaining,
the character designs were just too different. Also, the action doesn't
really get going until the third disc. The first two disc mainly focus on
Johnny's training. The ending was vague. The story really doesn't show
what planet the battle is fought on and doesn't show of the aliens were
totally destroyed or are they still alive. If I had a preview of these
discs, I wouldn't have bought all three of the discs.
- Albert Wong
RANMA 1/2 TELEVISION SERIES (FUJI TV), RANMA 1/2 MANGA (SHONEN SUNDAY
Takahashi Rumiko continues her sequence of hit comedy series (Urusei
Yatsura, Maison Ikkoku) with Ranma Nibunnoichi, her latest. Like Urusei
Yatsura, Ranma 1/2 is a high school comedy/romance story with a twist.
And this twist can account for some pretty bizarre situations. Whereas
Urusei Yatsura had a bent towards aliens and the supernatural, Ranma 1/2
centers on martial arts and zany Oriental legends.
Saotome Ranma is a boy with perhaps more than the normal share of
teenage problems, not the least of which is the fact that he changes sex
when he gets splashed with water. While kenpo training in a remote region
of China, he and his father accidentally stumbled upon some cursed pools
of water, the Juusenkyo. Legend has it that, years ago, something died in
each of these pools, and whoever enters one will take the form of whatever
creature died in it. Ignoring all warnings, while sparring among the
pools, Ranma's father (Saotome Genma) fell into one in which a panda
drowned, years ago. And Ranma fell into a pool which had taken the life
of... a girl. Now, whenever they are splashed with cold water, they
assume their alternate forms; only hot water will bring them back.
Needless to say, this happens quite a bit in the series, and almost always
when it would cause the most grief for them!
The story begins when Ranma and his father return to Japan after their
long stint in China. They arrive at the residence of Genma's long-time
friend and fellow kenpo master, Tendou, and his three daughters: Akane,
Nabiki, and Kasumi. Unknown to Ranma, the two fathers had made plans for
some matchmaking. Unfortunately, the Tendou family did not expect a
full-grown panda bear and a young girl to show up at their doorstep!
Although Akane and Ranma-chan (Ranma as a girl) get off to a good start as
friends, things change when Akane walks in on Ranma-kun taking a bath (in
hot water), and discovers his little secret. Pandemonium results. This
prompts Genma to tell them the entire story of what happened at the
Juusenkyu. Genma, of course, is terribly ashamed that he has to put up
with a son that's half a girl. And Ranma's not too happy about his
situation, either! But Tendou takes it in stride, and proceeds to the
business at hand: offering Ranma-chan her choice of his three daughters.
As we discover as the series progresses, each has a very distinct
Tendou Akane: A charming young girl of 16, whose strength is as great
as her temper is short. She doesn't like boys. Like Ranma, her own
father is training her to be a kenpo master.
Tendou Nabiki: A scheming, malicious wench. She's probably my favorite
character, at least in the early episodes.
Tendou Kasumi: The eldest. Professional Housewife. She's totally
oblivious to all the mayhem going on around her, accepting everything with
a cheerful smile, or a concerned "Oh!". Kasumi is either the most or the
least sane person in this series.
These three could well be the anime incarnations of cute, sexy, and
pretty, respectively. In any case, Kasumi and Nabiki immediately decide
that Akane would be perfect for Ranma, since she doesn't like boys, and
Ranma's only half a boy! And so begins perhaps the wildest love/hate
relationship since Lum and Ataru of Urusei Yatsura. In the manga, not a
day goes by without Akane saying under her breath, "Ranma no baka!" (lit.
"Ranma's stupidity," or "the stupidity of Ranma"). But they have their
good times as well as their differences...
Of course, Takahashi Rumiko provides us with a battery of other
characters bouncing off of Ranma and Akane to add to the confusion.
Literally, because they all practice various martial arts! There's Ryoga,
Ranma's old childhood enemy who's been trying to hunt him down for years,
but can't cross Japan without getting lost in two or three continents on
the way; Shampoo, who's in love with Ranma-kun, but won't stop at
anything to wipe out Ranma-chan; Kunou, who wants for himself both Akane
and Ranma-chan, neither of whom is interested (poor Kunou; he always gets
it in the face); Shampoo's ancient grandmother, who can teach Ranma a
thing or two about kung fu; and too many others to describe here. I won't
spoil the story with details, but Ranma's not the only kid in town with an
People not familiar with Takahashi Rumiko's brand of humor may find
Ranma 1/2 to be quite candid and no-holds-barred. Takahashi is a master
at portraying human relationships. She is also a very good artist, and
her work has greatly improved since her Urusei Yatsura days. In her
manga, she subtly pokes fun at a lot of the girls' manga styles while
still carrying the not-so-subtle humor of her storylines. The artwork is
very clean. And her understanding and use of facial expressions are
unparalleled, in my opinion. The TV animation is also better than
average, with reasonably smooth motion, and good voice acting. Finally,
with a few things explained to the uninitiated, this is one of the easiest
series for a non-Japanese speaker to understand. And needless to say (but
I'll say it anyway), it's very entertaining!
This review is based upon the first 12 episodes of the TV animation and
books 1-6 and 8 of the manga. Each manga volume holds about a dozen
serials from the Shonen Sunday magazine. With some exceptions, the two
storylines seem to parallel each other, an episode covering an average of
two serials from the manga.
For more information: Check out the manga translations available from
Hitoshi Doi on rec.arts.anime on Usenet.
Ranma 1/2 ended with episode 18 in September. It was replaced by a new
series, Ranma 1/2 Nettouhen, which continues the manga storyline where
Ranma 1/2 left off (more or less).
- Jude George
ARMOR HUNTER MELLOWLINK OAV SERIES COLLECTION ON LASERDISC
Volume 1 70075-78 VAP Video Y7800
Volume 2 70076-78 VAP Video Y7800
Volume 3 70077-78 VAP Video Y7800
Volume 4 70078-78 VAP Video Y7800
Volume 5 70079-78 VAP Video Y7800
Volume 6 70080-78 VAP Video Y7800
A six disc set released by VAP video, Armor Hunter Mellowlink is a story
of betrayal, guilt and revenge. The story centers around Mellowlink, an
Armor Hunter, a soldier whose job is to hunt down and destroy enemy mecha
called Armor Troopers(AT). Joining Mellowlink is the talented and
beautiful Lucy. An expert card player, she befriends and assists
Mellowlink on his quest. There is also a blonde haired guy who goes by the
name of Kiiku. A crack shot, he helps Mellowlink in some episodes. He is
also very interested in Mellowlink's adventures. There are also a
collection of sub-characters that Mellowlink meets along the way. Mostly
officers and soldiers, there are only a few of them that actually survive
more than one episode.
The story begins near a military base, Mellowlink disables a transport
and gives the driver a metal 'dog-tag'. He tells the driver to give this
to Lockman, an officer at the base. Meanwhile, Lockman, Lucy, and Kiiku
are enjoying a nice friendly game of cards. Little do they know that
Mellowlink has infiltrated the base. After being discovered by soldiers
Mellowlink meets Lucy and Kiiku for the first time. Lucy helps Mellowlink
hide. After fooling the soldiers, Mellowlink steals a half-track and
takes off into the desert. Lockman is in fast pursuit with his SCOPEDOG
armored mecha. After a brief battle, Mellowlink dispatches Lockman and
heads off into the next episode.
The story continues with Mellowlink visiting a town. Mellowlink
discovers that another officer, Galvin Fox, fights in the nearby
"Destruction Derby". In the derby, two robots fight for sport. Mellowlink
wastes no time in challenging Fox to a duel.
The setting of the next story is in a jungle where resistance forces
battle against the Armored Troopers. The resistance forces have a hard
time surviving in a jungle full of armored mecha. A cloaked figure destroys
a trooper with a well placed shot. Giving chase, another trooper is
killed. After killing the cloaked figure, the troopers discovers that they
did not kill Mellowlink. The chase in on again as Mellowlink faces xxx.
Mellowlink gets himself trapped in a mud hole with xxx closing in. Using
a few tricks, Mellowlink manages to kill xxx.
The fourth installment takes place in a fallen spaceship. Mellowlink
finds himself trapped in the spaceship with a killer after him.
Wandering, Mellowlink discovers a docking bay full of abandoned mecha.
The bay doors mysteriously open and the mecha and Mellowlink begin to
slide out. Mellow saves himself by jamming his AT Rifle into the deck.
He continues the chase with the killer, but ends up trapped in an airlock.
Luckily, he finds an oxygen unit. After the all the air was pumped out of
the airlock the killer leaves, thinking that Mellowlink is dead.
Mellowlink meets up with Kiiku who is also after the killer. They set a
trap for the killer in a nearby cargo bay. The trap is sprung and the
chase continues outside of the ship, with the killer clinging for his
life. After managing to climb back into the ship, the killer again is
hanging for his life as Mellow prepares to launch a small scout ship. In
the ensuing battle, the killer manages to jettison the scout ship with
Mellowlink still aboard. Mellowlink makes a desperate jump for the main
ship and is saved by Kiiku. The killer plummets to the ground below.
The next scene begins with Mellowlink traveling down a dusty road. As
luck would have it, his motorbike goes "on the fritz". He takes refuge in
a nearby wreckage. As he waits for a rain storm to pass, he has a
flashback to his earlier days. He is surprised to see all his friends are
alive and well. It seems that Mellowlink and friends are defending
against an approaching force of enemy mecha. It's man against machine as
the battle begins. The battle progresses with losses on both sides.
Mellowlink survives the battle by playing dead. After the battle, he
discovers he is the only survivor. He vows to avenge the deaths of his
friends. The flashback regresses to before the battle. Mellowlink and
his squad are surprised that they have been demoted from Armor Trooper to
Armor Hunters. The war, it seems, is going sour and Mellowlink is assigned
to cover the retreat. It's a suicide mission but they have no choice.
After the battle, Mellowlink returns alone to base. Where he is arrested
and put on trial for being a traitor. During the trial, he escapes and
the story continues...
Due to his misfortune, Mellowlink finds himself among a group of
criminals sent to a maximum security prison. The warden recognizes
Mellowlink among the group. He has special plans for him. The warden
pretends that Mellowlink is his friend. Later that night, the rest of the
prisoners beat him severely for being a friend of the warden. Finished
with Mellowlink, the prisoners continue working on their escape tunnel.
The next morning, the warden takes great pleasure in torturing Mellowlink
himself. In the afternoon, Lucy, who has joined a troop of entertainers,
enters the prison to do a show for the prisoners. She has a close call
when one of the guards decides to inspect the van. She manages to conceal
Mellowlink's AT Rifle in the nick of time. The show begins, and soon it's
Lucy's turn for her magic act. Out of her magic box, she produces birds,
rabbits and lastly, hoping that Mellowlink is in the crowd, his AT Rifle!
But Mellowlink is nowhere to be seen. Elsewhere some prisoners attempt an
escape during the show. A general riot commences. Mellowlink is re-united
with his gun and goes after the warden. The warden takes off in his
police mecha and easily stops the escape. He is surprised to see that
Mellowlink is not among the dead. The warden dies a grisly death at the
hands of Mellow. Mellow rides off into the next episode with Lucy...
A train passes in the night. As it goes by a junction, Mellowlink jumps
aboard and stows away in a baggage car. As luck would have it, Lucy is
also aboard. At the station, everyone is surprised to see the military is
present. The passengers are informed that the military's armored engine
will take them to their destination. Aboard the engine are Kiiku and The
General. A roving gang complete with motorcycles and armored mecha ambush
the train. As The General retreats to his armor car, Lucy attempts to
shoot him but is gently stopped by Kiiku. Mellowlink sees the gang
leaders red mecha and recognizes it as on of the people responsible for
his squads betrayal. Some of the gang members manage to scramble aboard
the train. Mellowlink commandeers a nearby motorbike and speeds toward the
red mecha. Mellowlink manages to jump on the leaders mecha, but cannot get
a good shot. The General orders the passenger and cargo cars jettisoned.
The leader of the gang rams the his mecha and Mellowlink through the side
of the still moving train, throwing Mellowlink off. The gang leader was
about to shoot Mellowlink when suddenly, the car with Mellowlink breaks
loose and cause the leader to lose his balance. Mellowlink takes this
chance to shoot him with his AT rifle. Dying, the gang leader leaves
Mellowlink with more unanswered questions about who was really behind his
The armored train continues toward its destination. Meanwhile, a
special force of mecha with airborne carriers are training nearby. Lucy
and Mellowlink manage to hitch a ride on the next train. The train is
stopped at a Military roadblock. Soldiers board the train looking for
Mellowlink. Mellowlink and Lucy, escape on an unattended motorbike. They
head toward a tower-like structure. The Special Forces arrive at the
structure and begin searching for Mellow and Lucy. Mellowlink finishes
setting traps all through the tower. By using the carriers, the special
forces mecha are lowered onto different levels of the tower. But, one by
one, the mecha are destroyed. At the bottom of the tower, Mellow and
Lucy discover huge tanks of fuel. He releases the fuel and the tower
begins to fill up with the flammable liquid. Meanwhile, the search for
Mellowlink goes on, Eventually, the special forces trap Mellowlink and
Lucy near the bottom of the tower. Mellowlink and the leader of the
Special Force square for a fight. As Mellowlink continues to fight, Lucy
is kidnapped by one of the soldiers. As Mellowlink gains the upper hand,
the leader escapes with his mecha using the carrier. Mellowlink manages to
jump onto the leaders mecha as the mecha is lifted out of the tower.
Another carrier sets the fuel on fire. The leaders mecha and carrier are
engulfed in flames. The mecha emerge from the flames with Mellowlink
nowhere to be seen.
Note: In the next segment, I couldn't get the name of one of the
characters, so I named him John Doe.(grin)
The next segment takes place in a castle set in the serene countryside.
The soldiers delivers Lucy into the hands of The General. With her is
John Doe, a lowdown slimy officer. Lucy manages to knock him out with a
conveniently placed statue. She escapes into the surrounding forest.
John Doe is not far behind. John Doe corners Lucy and begins to choke her
to death. Fortunately, Mellowlink shows up to save the day. John Doe
runs off to get his mecha. He leads a team of four machines in search of
Mellowlink and Lucy. Together, Mellow and Lucy play hide and seek with
the soldiers. Eventually, the soldiers manages to trap Mellowlink and
Lucy in a cave. Using a landmine (which Mellow just happen to have) he
manages to escape the trap. Back at the castle, the General tracking the
search like it was a game of chess. Suddenly, Mellowlink "drops in" on
the General with a well placed grenade, but the General escapes. With the
John Doe team returning, Mellowlink dispatched them with some burning oil
drums. Kiiku quietly watches all the action from the edge of the forest.
While, Mellowlink is out looking for more ammunition, Lucy is back at
the castle still thinking about her earlier days. Mellowlink returns and
knows that the Commander of the Special forces will be back. Mellowlink
begins to set traps all over the castle. The Commander returns to the
castle to deal with Mellowlink once and for all. Lucy wants to join
Mellowlink in his fight with the Commander. But Mellowlink knocks her
unconscious because he doesn't want to fight. The Commander also does not
want to see Lucy hurt, so he agrees to lock her in the AT carrier for her
own safety. Mellow and the Commander square off for the fight. The battle
continues inside the castle. The confined space of the castle give
Mellowlink an small advantage over the Commanders mecha. Lucy regains
consciousness sees her castle being destroyed. Eventually, Mellowlink
gets himself trapped at the top of one of the castles towers. Still
locked in the AT carrier, she "hot-wires" the controls. Back on the
tower, Mellowlink saves himself by blowing up the entire tower. The
Commanders mecha is blown over the side and he is mortally wounded. As
the tower collapses, Mellowlink saves the Commander from falling. Lucy
appears in the newly acquired AT carrier and the three head off into the
next episode as the castle crumbles into a heap of rubble.
In the last disc, Mellowlink travels to the main military complex with
the intention to find the person behind his betrayal. I won't describe
the last episode because of a very surprising ending.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Mellowlink series. The animation was very well
done. The mechanic designs were similar to those used in the VOTOMS TV
series. The basic form of the mecha were similar. Standing about 15'
tall with a large head with a multi-lens camera the mecha were equipped
with various weapons. There were minor additions add to the basic form.
For example, in the prison episode, the police mecha were painted blue and
white and came with a large plastic face shield. Galvin Fox's mecha was
completely painted chrome. And John Does Armored Trooper had sleeves on
the arms. Although, the plot became more predictable as the series went
on, the ending surprised me. The background music consisted of mainly
jazz tunes. The music covered a whole spectrum of themes. From the
action scenes to the more mellow (no pun intended) and somber scenes. The
disc themselves are encoded in the CAV format for static free stills and
special effects. The soundtrack is encoded in stereo with CX digital
sound. Overall, a winner of a OAV. Go see it!
- Albert Wong
MACROSS TV MEMORIAL BOXED LASER DISC SET (BANDAI/EMOTION VIDEO BELL245)
This thing is HUGE!!! That was the first thought that struck me when I
lugged it inside and tore off the shipping paper and cardboard. Eldon at
LASER PERCEPTIONS had done his usual job of armoring my purchases against
the vagaries of UPS. The package is very attractive. A black cardboard
slipcase over a black cardboard inner liner that holds the 11 laser disks.
The outer liner has a BEAUTIFUL foil print of the SDF1 in space, the Earth
in the background and a vast cloud of aircraft surrounding the space
fortress. The name MACROSS is embossed across the top in silver and
MEMORIAL BOX is below the picture in smaller embossed letters.
Inside are 11 disks. The total time is 918 mins. The first disk is 50
mins. while most of the others are 101 mins. with 2 at 76 mins. The last
disk is only 9 mins. and it is one of the most interesting. On it are the
TV ads and toy ads for the show plus the opening and closing credits AND a
LOAD of stills that you step through in CAV freeze frame mode. These
stills are bits of everything from character drawings and mecha designs to
clothes and cameras....a little bit of everything.
Most disks have four episodes complete with opening and closing credits.
The first disk, which is in CAV mode seems to be what was released over
here as BOOBYTRAP, a long time before the show ever hit the airwaves. I
remember it being offered by mail in early copies of Heavy Metal Magazine.
I didn't know what ANIME was back then or I would have sent for it. The
sound quality is excellent but mono. I guess the show was not done in
stereo. And the picture quality is (as one would expect) very very clear.
If you can afford it and if you are a MACROSS fan this package is well
worth the price. One thing I can tell you, and I've been asked about it a
lot-- No, we do not see Min May nude in the shower like we did in the
feature version. But don't worry.....there is a lot of entertainment
- Tony Lane (SysOp ANIME LANE BBS)
It goes without saying that for the MACROSS fan, this boxed set of the
TV series on laserdisc is the ultimate collector's item. Bandai/Emotion
video has done a great job with this deluxe package. Before I get to my
comments about it, I'm sure you are all itching to know what it's like.
Well, a Robotech fan would tell you it's "rad," but us Macross fans tend
to be a bit more verbose. (^_^) So, I will describe it in detail for you.
For about $400, you get a big handsome looking blue/black heavy
cardboard two piece slipcase filled with 11 laserdiscs. The slipcase is
embossed with handsome silver letters that proclaim in Japanese and
English that this is THE MACROSS MEMORIAL BOX. Featured on the textured
cardboard case is a wonderful color foil print depicting a painting of the
MACROSS herself surrounded by masses of fighter craft. The painting is an
unusual one for collectors as it shows the Macross in a configuration that
we have never seen before...encircled by an almost hydrofoil like
superstructure ringing the hull.
In side the box, you find 11 laserdiscs and a sheet that describes the
contents of the box and some of the history behind it. The first 10
laserdiscs contain the Macross tv series itself. All 36 episodes. The
episodes are scattered over the discs 4 episodes per disc, with exception
of a couple discs having 3 episodes on them. Though most of the discs are
in CLV mode, a couple are in CAV. The discs themselves are superb. The
sound is high-fidelity mono, and digital sound is featured on the discs.
The video quality is the best you will ever see in consumer NTSC format,
and the transfer of the episodes themselves look wonderful.
The individual jackets that the discs are stored in are very
interesting. The covers are dark blue and feature line art of some of the
key Macross characters on each. (Sometimes mirroring their importance in
the episodes you are about to see on that disc...) The line art is quite
striking against the blue background of the cover as each cover has the
line art in different colors. Mostly bright pastels. The back of each
jacket features a detailed cast and crew list for each episode on the
The 11th disc is a bonus. Only one side of a CAV format disc is used. It
features stereo sound versions of the opening and closing titles for the
show, some interesting Macross model kit commercials, and a frame-by-frame
flipbook of hundreds of detailed Macross line art examples. The cover of
the disc is also different, it features a checker-board montage of small
line-art illustrations from the show.
I have only two criticisms with this wonderful presentation of the
series on laserdisc. First, more CAV sides could have been used on the
discs that just featured 3 episodes per disc. The final episode which has
a side to itself should have been in CAV like the rest of the 3 episode
discs. I think this was a mistake...someone probably forgot to master it
in CAV. Second, the 11th bonus disc could have had some more interesting
supplemental material on it. The material that is there was fine, but I
would also have liked to have seen a still frame gallery of color art from
the show, and perhaps some cast and crew interviews. Or perhaps a digital
BGM collection of some of the popular music from the series. A bit more
imagination here would have really capped the collection off.
Well, I must say that it was a revelation to finally see the whole
Macross series in it's pure form, unfettered by Robotechisms or cuts. The
show has much more raw emotional power and brilliance standing on its own.
I really felt sad to see it end. Another interesting this you will notice
is the difference between the two animation crews that worked on alternate
episodes in the series. All the odd numbered episodes feature a much
weaker group of artists, and it shows. The look of those episodes gets
shown up by the even numbered ones which feature sharp artwork and
character designs that follow the shows Mikimoto character designs to the
Bandai started to release the series on individual discs a couple of
years back, but stopped all of a sudden at the second volume. I always
wondered why. Perhaps it was because they changed their minds and decided
to do something really special with the series on home video. At any rate,
this box is the result. And it is wonderful.
- Tom Mitchell
DOMINION ACT III OAV (ON LASERDISC, TOSHIBA VIDEO,SF048-1638)
The first disc starts out with an art auction. The auctioned painting
called "Innocent" is a picture of none other Bauku, master criminal. A
little later, the real Bauku, accompanied by his henchwomen Annipuma and
Yunipuma are traveling in the city sewers heading toward the art museum.
At Tank Police headquarters, IT'S SHOWTIME! The Tank Police interrogate a
criminal in their own special way. The Tank Police have placed the
criminal on a large rotating wheel. Leona give the criminal one last
chance to "spill the beans", but the criminal refuses. The police begin
taking bets as Leona stuffs a live grenade into the criminals mouth. The
wheel begins spinning, as the Tank Police throw knives at the spinning
criminal! Leona throws a knife which causes the criminal to spit out the
grenade. Meanwhile, upstairs, the police chief has just finished stacking
a whole load of forms and memos. The exploding grenade causes all the
papers to drop to the floor.
Back at the museum, the Bauku gang is wandering around. Annipuma and
Yumipuma are enjoying themselves with jewelry and expensive clothes. One
of the pair, pulls out the picture "Innocent". Bauku seems very interested
in the picture, not because it is a picture of him, but for some other
reason. As Bauku admires the picture, above a shadowy figure draws a knife
and surprises Bauku. The figure seriously wounds Bauku. Annipuma (just
guessing here) recognizes the figure as an LED Commando. The Commando is
also after the "Innocent". Anni and Yumi produce some large automatic
weapons and begin blasting away at the LED Commando. Many artworks are
destroyed in the ensuing battle.
Back at Tank Police headquarters, the results of the grenade explosion can
be seen. Tank Police strewn all over. Leona, being pissed because
Bonaparte was damaged in the explosion, grabs a pistol and begins shooting
at the criminal. Britten interrupts the shooting match between Leona and
the criminal. The Tank Police are sent out to stop Bauku's gang.
The battle in the museum continues. The LED Commando tosses are grenade
into a vase right behind Bauku. Yunipuma (still guessing here) tries
persuade Bauku to move by shooting at him! Bauku finally notices the
grenade, complete with teapot noise and smoke, and gets away in the nick of
Outside the museum, the Tank Police are enjoying the fireworks as the
museum explodes. Britten tells Leona to go get Bauku. Leona and Bonaparte
easily smashes through the wall and enters the museum.
Inside, burned and tattered artworks litter the floor. An burned
television monitor displays a message but is run over by the speeding
Bonaparte. Leona stops Bonaparte and looks around. As luck would have it,
she stops right next to Bauku's escape ladder. Leona and Bauku meet and
Leona prepares to take him back to headquarters. An explosion causes
Leona and Bauku to fall to the floor. As Leona recovers, Bauku places a
"Bio-Dongle" around her neck. The Bio-Dongle activates and begins choking
Outside, the Tank Police have started their attack. The museum disappears
in a great explosion. Al recovers and is distraught to hear that Leona is
Back in the sewers, Bauku and the recently kidnapped Leona travel in a
boat. Bauku explains that the Bio-Dongle cannot be removed and any
disturbance will cause the Bio-Dongle to tighten. Weakened by his wound,
Bauku falls into the water.
At police headquarters, the chief is upset because Leona did not come back.
A LED Commando appears on the balcony and tells the police about his
mission to retrieve the "Innocent".
Underground, Leona saves Bauku from drowning and binds his wound.
Delirious with pain, Buaku has a flashback. Evidently, he was a part of an
scientific experiment. Bauku is only one of a whole slew of subjects. The
experiments starts and the subjects are electrocuted. Their collective
"essence" are fed into another chamber. Inside this chamber is just a
shadow. Bauku returns to present time and continues his journey.
The LED Commando reports that the Tank Police will aid them in recovering
the "Innocent". The Tank Police are presently out looking for Leona.
As Leona and Bauku continue to drift down the sewers, they eventually come
upon a "waste treatment" station. With whirling blades, any piece of
refuse that falls in is instantly "sliced and diced". Leona and Bauku
manage to fall into the water. Leona grabs a vine and snags Bauku. A big
wave washes the "Innocent" and Bauku risks his life to save the painting.
Leona lets go of the vines and catches a grating. Hanging on the grating
and Bauku things seem under control for the moment. Unfortunately, the
Bio-Dongle gets wet and begins to choke Leona. She loses her grip and
falls, screaming, into the rapidly slicing blades. To be continued on
Dominion Part 4...
- Albert Wong
KIMAGURE ORANGE ROAD - THE TV SERIES (ON LASERDISC FROM VAP VIDEO, IN 12
VOLUMES, CATALOG NUMBERS 70061-78 TO 70072-78, 7,591 YEN EACH)
The people at VAP have done it again! Their releases have always been
great. Now, they have released the Kimagure Orange Road TV series on LD.
And what a collection it is! Orange Road seems to follow a middle course
between Rumiko Takahashi's Urusei Yatsura (incorporating its zaniness with
its otherworldly powers) and Maison Ikkoku (incorporating its love
triangles). It makes for a very palatable mixture. The protagonist,
Kyosuke Kasuga, is an esper (in fact, his two sisters are as well). He is
stuck deciding between two girls ... Madoka Ayukawa, a beautiful girl
known to have hung around the "wrong" crowd for a while, very
strong-willed, and Hikaru Hiyama, a very ditzy cute girl. As can be
imagined, the combination of esper powers and the love triangle creates
VERY interesting situations at time!
This collection does the series justice. The collection stretches across
12 LDs, each approximately 100 minutes long and four stories. Each story
has its respective OP and END as well as the eyecatch. The transfer has
been done well, showing no sign of noise. On an aside note, I really
liked the way that this series was released, one disc per month. I
believe more TV series released this way on LD could make series purchases
much easier on the consumer by stretching the payment over several months.
I hope that more video companies take up this practice as it was the only
way I could have afforded to purchase this series ... (grin)
- Masaki Takai
VENUS WARS (ON LASERDISC, EMOTION VIDEO, CATALOG NUMBER BELL255)
Venus Wars has been much maligned over the grapevine. I'm not quite
sure why. The movie was done well, I believe, and deserves more credit
than it has been given. The story is about a young boy, Hiroki Senoo, who
is growing up on Venus which has been colonized at this point. He is a
member of a bikebowl racing team. Bikebowl is the craze of Venus, a sport
combining motorcycle racing, football, and jousting. Hiroki lives in the
capital city (Io) of a country called Aphrodia, which suddenly gets
invaded by a neighboring country Ishtal. Due to various circumstances, he
ends up being drafted into the Aphrodia warbike battalion, HOUND. The
story and art is well put together, as might be expected from its creator
YAS (Yoshikazu Yasuhiko, known for character designs for Mobile Suit
Gundam as well as directing Arion, as well as many other things).
However, that may have also been its fatal flaw as it is only good, not
excellent as we would expect from YAS. People seem to expect more out of
YAS than just "good". (grin)
An interesting thing to note about production ... something new was
tried during Venus Wars, the combining of animated subjects with real
backgrounds. The jury is still out as to how effective it was in this
film; however, it probably can be said safely that it was not entirely
necessary (the background footage seems to have been taken from YAS' trip
to the Arizona desert). Let's hope that YAS comes back with something
better next time around. Too bad ... it probably would have been
classified as an excellent movie by anybody else ... :)
- Masaki Takai
HI-SPEED JECY VOLUME 1 & 2 : PROLOGUE/MOBIUS (ON LASERDISC, VAP VIDEO,
CATALOG NUMBER 70105)
Character designs by Haruhiko Mikimoto (HAL) of Macross fame. Frankly,
that's what drew me to this video series. The character designs are
beautiful. That's for sure. But everything else is pretty average. The
story revolves around a boy, called Jecy (pronounced Jessy). His special
ability is supernormal speed. The story first starts with a man beating
up a bunch of street thugs. He calls himself Father Fork of the Heartland
religion. But Jecy prevents him from killing the thugs off. Another
character, Jecy's "sister" Tiana, is introduced here. And somehow, Jecy
and Fork become friends.
Through a series of incidents, Tiana is kidnapped by a Mafia-esque
family called House Bismark who wants to "hire" Jecy's talents for a
certain job. It seems that there's a valley from which nobody has
returned alive ... and there's some sort of new fuel source (lyzorium)
located at the end of the valley. Controlling this new fuel source would
elevate House Bismark to new levels of power, thus, their attempt to use
Jecy to obtain the fuel source. As to what follows, I leave to those of
you who see this video ... :)
The ideas behind this series are interesting. Jecy's character is a
pacifist, who hates weapons, wanting only to obtain revenge against the
killers of his parents. And Fork's character is a right-wing minister,
carrying a gun that causes extreme pain before killing its victims
("purifying" the criminals before going to heaven, so to speak). The
problem is, is that the ideas don't click well together. In fact, Fork's
character is more interesting than Jecy's character. While the
protagonists are interesting in their characterizations, the antagonists
are tried-and-true stock villains. It makes for a bizarre discrepancy.
It is hard to judge a series like this from only the first two stories
(the series is scheduled for a 6 volume [12 stories] run). Further
evaluation will have to wait until more of the series is released.
- Masaki Takai
VAMPIRE PRINCESS MIYU 4 - THE TIME OF NUMBNESS (ON LASERDISC, PONY CANYON
Director: Toshihiro Hirano
Character Design: Narumi Kakinouchi
A child's memory, a child's nightmare, which comes back to haunt many
years later. So opens Vampire Princess Miyu 4: The Time of Numbness. In
a quietly disturbing manner, the story of Miyu, Laba, and Himiko is
finally brought full circle. Their history is concluded, by the telling
of its beginning.
Throughout Toshihiro Hirano's Vampire Miyu OAV series, he has maintained
a softly spooky atmosphere, stories much more disquieting than horrific.
The fourth volume, The Time of Numbness, continues in this manner.
However, this time there is a variation on the theme. There are no
fugitive deity-spirits, no lost souls seeking the Dark. This time, it is
the story of Himiko and Miyuki, an introspective, rather than an external
tale concerning the conflicts of the creatures of the night.
The OAV begins quietly enough, with the spiritualist Himiko visiting a
locale from her youth. Here, a nightmare from her own childhood still
haunts her, one involving an old manor, and a dark figure. And here, she
finds the sprawling home, and one who lived within its wood and rice paper
While searching for answers to questions her own memory hides, Himiko is
granted the story of another child. One tale within the framework of
another, The Time of Numbness gives a glimpse into Himiko's past, by
revealing that of the vampire princess Miyu. With careful pacing, the
foundations of Miyu's life are one by one revealed, that of a bright young
girl, slowly learning, slowly coming to terms with her existence. Not as
a human child, however. But one within which the bloodline of the vampire
flows. Her mother, the vampire. Her father, human, but gifted with life
eternal. Like Miyahito, like Kei.
Intertwined with the history of Miyu, there is a dark undercurrent. For
beneath the events of this tale there is a fell commentary on the
consequences of a vampire's gift, a treatise on the cost of immortality.
That to live forever, perhaps, is as fell a curse as to die a mortal.
Miyu's quiet father, who, without death to fear, loses his desire to live.
He simply exists, immortal and fixed, like a beautiful painting. Miyu's
mother, the vampire, now having to live forever with the guilt that it was
she who cursed her husband with immortality. Miyu's mother desperately
tries to shield her daughter from her dark heritage, vainly trying to save
Miyu from the curse of being a vampire. Though in the end, she is but a
tool to coerce the co-operation of vampire princess Miyu, to forever hunt
those deity spirits whom interlope into the mundane world. And even Himiko
cannot escape, her final revelation being that she too will bear the
consequences of Miyu's soft vampire's kiss.
Her childhood nightmare not a dream, but real.
Hirano crafts a quiet tale of of horror. The pacing of the OAV is once
again so very formal, each scene carefully chosen, each secret revealed at
the correct moment. In Miyu 4 there is no overt conflict or battle, but
the tension is still present. The story slowly builds to its climax, not
from violent action, but from the step by step realization of dread
inevitabilities. The animation matches this mood, being very precise,
almost conservative. There is not a wasted movement, even the scenes with
little or no motion are carefully and purposefully integrated within the
story and direction. The OAV still maintains the artistic standards of
the first three volumes. The animation is sharp and strong, the
backgrounds a mixture of soft pastels. The same wonderful backgrounds
which graced Miyu 3 return, the fine line drawings washed out in grays and
The consequence, however, of such formal direction, is that the film is
very dialogue intensive. While the bare framework of the story can be
determined from just the graphics, the finer points of the story are lost.
Without translation, there is the definite knowledge that this is a very
spooky story, but the exact circumstance, its exact nature, is concealed
within what is spoken. Spoken by Miyu to Himiko.
Himiko and Miyu are the two characters around which this story revolves.
It is set in motion by Himiko's search, but concerns itself mainly with
vampire Miyu. Finally, one is given a glimpse into what drives the young
vampire princess. Miyu is a handful of contradictions, the wise and
powerful vampire, the eternal little girl. In this final chapter, the
reasons for this slowly unfold. It is almost as if Miyu herself had
little choice in her manner, being trapped by blood and circumstance. One
watches, as a little girl slowly has to deal with her heritage, that of
being a vampire. A little girl, desperately trying to stay human, but
being betrayed by the desires of her body and the demands of her ancestry.
It is coming to terms with her circumstance which has made Miyu as she
is. And in the end, the story returns to Himiko. The effects of Miyu's
life upon the spiritualist are more subtle. For Himiko, too, now has to
come to terms with herself, and the realization that her life has been
forever touched by that of the vampire.
Miyu's soft laughter echoes over Himiko's disturbing revelation.
The background music for Miyu 4 is very sparse. Very purposely, there
is little music in the film, which brings a hauntingly empty atmosphere to
the OAV. Indeed, for more than half the film there is no music. There
are sounds and tones, like the hollow tolling of the temple bells, or the
pure crystal ring announcing Miyu's arrival. Very formal, each sound is
carefully placed to support the story. Finally, within the OAV, the end
theme appears. Usually saved for only the closing credits, this time it
is slower, oddly peaceful, it provides a disconcerting backdrop as the
film slowly builds to a climax. And then, when the story reaches its
peak, the music is still quiet and soft, which only reinforces the gently
dark nature of this OAV.
In The Time of Numbness, Toshihiro Hirano concludes his chronicle of the
vampire princess Miyu. All four OAVs are quietly spooky stories, their
horror so very subtle, yet so very effectively haunting. This last volume
in Miyu and Himiko's story resolves the last lingering questions, bringing
their tale full circle. And yet, each answer is laced with dark eerie
To haunt one long after their tale is told.
- Mike Naylor
BUBBLEGUM CRISIS 6 - RED EYES (TOSHIBA/EMI LASERDISC AV098-1054 45 MIN
Wow, was I ever bowled over with this latest episode of Bubblegum Crisis.
It is the first time I can say that a BGC episode has delivered
everything that I knew the series had the potential to do. Heavy
high-tech drama, and great animation provide quite a punch in RED EYES.
The most emotionally dramatic and tense of all BGC episodes so far, this
episode is a direct continuation of the events featured in episode 5,
MOONLIGHT RAMBLER. Though it's only about 45 minutes long, RED EYES packs
in a lot of plot...We find out who the mysterious boomer android Largo is
and his ambitions to become a Christ-like leader for the boomers, whom he
considers the next step in evolution of life on the planet...Leon
discovers Priss' secret Knight Saber identity...Priss leaves the Knight
Sabers because she is having trouble dealing with the mercy-killing of
her best friend Sylvie in episode 5...and a pack of imposter Knight
Sabers are out causing problems for the real Knight Sabers as Largo tries
to distract and destroy them from his true plans of dominating the Genom
Corporation and creating a place in the world for the boomer androids.
Whew...and it all comes together in the end too.
With this episode, the series may be hitting its true stride. The
animation and art is outstanding. And drama and direction in RED EYES is
top notch. After the horrible direction and plotting of episode 5, BGC
fans were wincing over what course this series was taking. Now episode 6
makes up for all the problems and leaves us drooling to see what's next. I
hope it was not an accident that this episode was so good...BGC as a whole
is always good, but this episode meets all my expectations of just how
good it potentially could be. Again, there was no preview at the end of
this video for the next episode. Remember, they hope to do 13 episodes
total. If and when episode 7 arrives, it will be a true test of just what
we can expect for the second half of the series, which has been a choppy
ride so far in terms of its plot and direction.
- Tom Mitchell
BUBBLEGUM CRISIS 6 ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK ON COMPACT DISC (FUTURELAND
Well, it finally happened. After a string of 5 excellent CDs of
soundtrack music from Bubblegum Crisis, the series lays its first bad BGM
egg with the soundtrack to Bubblegum Crisis 6 - RED EYES. Not one BGC fan
I know of likes it. So what's wrong with this album?
What's wrong are the songs. BGC has always been known for it's excellent
above average rock songs, and ballads. They were always songs that
reflected the mood and emotions of the BGC episode they were created for.
This time out it's a different story. The songs on this album, with the
exception of the very good ROCK ME, are nothing but bouncy cute candy
sweet pop tunes with terrible squeaky vocals that are better suited for an
idol singer with a one year career span. What's worse, of the 5 songs on
the album, only one actually appears in the video itself. The word
"filler" definitely comes to mind here. There are 11 tracks on the
album...6 instrumental, and 5 songs. All of the instrumental appear in
the video. Only one of the 5 songs does. So, I think I know what happened
to this album.
Before this, the BGC soundtracks produced a lot of original music. So
much so, that a couple of the BGM soundtracks run even longer than the
episodes they were created for! Of course this always guaranteed a nice BGM
album release for each episode. This time though, the producers were
caught with a shortage...only a half an albums worth of new material was
created for this OAV. In fact, RED EYES makes use of a lot of music from
some of the previous 5 episodes. Six new instrumental and one good song
does not make for the type of BGM album that BGC fans have come to expect
from the show.
So, I imagine that the producers in charge of the album panicked. They
got some of the girls who do the voices, rushed them into the studio with
some rushed material and recorded some truly bad songs as filler to
lengthen the album. This would not have been so bad if the songs and
vocals weren't so terrible. After all, one song was created for the first
BGC soundtrack album (called an "image song") that was quite good...the
forceful emotionally charged ballad REMEMBER. It even fit the mood of the
rest of the soundtrack music and video. The giddy pop tunes here on this
album though, do not in anyway reflect the mood of the dark and
suspenseful BGC 6 OAV. It's hard to associate a song like KIEE SEVENTEEN
GIRL with scenes of Priss getting hell beat out of her.
Three image songs done for this album are silly pop/dance
tunes...JUMPING HEART, KIEE SEVENTEEN GIRL, THE NEUTRAL HEART...are totally
inappropriate for the mood of the OAV. The 4th song done for the album
called WITH fairs a little better because it is a sad ballad...but overly
long with a monotonous vocal. These songs as a whole are so ill-conceived
and badly sung that they drag down the otherwise decent new material that
was produced for the OAV.
Ok, so what about the new music that was done for the OAV? Well, after
listening to it minus the 4 "image" songs...thank goodness for
programmable CD players...I find that the new music is pretty good. I
particularly like the new themes for the bumas. The music for them is
haunting and mechanicly rambles. The instrumental music is not quite as
inventive as other BGC BGMs, but it fits the bill for providing the
proper atmosphere for the OAV. The only song from the OAV is called ROCK
ME, and it is a throbbing Priss-style rock ballad with neatly explosive
guitar and drum flourishes. I like it more everytime I hear it...My
initial impression of it was spoiled by the other horrible songs on the
Yes, this is a terrible BGC record. BGC has set high standards and
expectations for its music, and until now, was able to meet or exceed
them. If this were an album for any other show, you'd think it was good.
This is an album only a true BGC fan should get, if only not to have a
hole in one's BGC collection. When you think about it though, 5 great
albums and 1 bad one is fantastic. But of course, we will be dying to
hear was happens to the music of Bubblegum Crisis 7.
- Tom Mitchell
KIMAGURE ORANGE ROAD - ORANGE STATION COMPACT DISC (FURTURELAND RECORDS,
LD32-5069, 3200 YEN)
I hope that my comments on this CD will help clear up the questions about
what this CD is for those of you who are interested in getting it. Be
warned that this is not the CD to get if you are interested in getting a
disc of the BGM of the Kimagure Orange Road TV series, or owning a song
collection from the show. For the BGM and songs, you should look to the
excellent three volume Kimagure Orange Road Sound Color CDs. For songs
only, get the Loving Heart series of discs.
So, what does that make this CD? Well, Kimagure Orange Station is part
song collection, and part voice drama. The concept behind the record is
that Kyousuke, Hikaru, and Madoka are spinnin' the KOR hits in a radio
station. So, not only do you hear the songs from the show, each one has
some dialog and patter by the main KOR characters at the beginning and/or
end of the songs.
The 10 tracks on the record cover all the hit songs from the TV series.
The voice actors from the show that show up on the record are in top form
and the dialog is quite lively and funny. But of course, the dialog does
get in the way of the songs so, if you are looking to get the hits
alone, this is not the record for you. I rather enjoyed this disc myself
because I think the voice actors for KOR were quite good and I love to
hear them chat/argue/yell/laugh, etc. It's also great for practicing my
Japanese as there banter is quite fast. And along with the songs for the
show, it makes for some pretty light listening.
Perhaps my only complaint about the record is its sound. It is a little
compressed and mid-rangey. Not nearly as open and clear sounding as the
sonics on the BGM CDs. It makes it sound a little like listening to the
characters and music on a good FM radio transmission. Heh heh...I don't
think this was the intent, but rather it's probably due to some problem in
production like not having good master-tapes of the songs to work with.
On the whole, it is a pleasant disc filled with lively dialog and
excellent pop tunes. A perfect disc for some light listening and
background noise. But if you want the shows BGM alone, don't make a stop
at Orange Station...This disc is for us dumb-struck KOR fans.
- Tom Mitchell
RHEA GALLFORCE ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK (ON COMPACT DISC, CBS/SONY RECORDS,
15DH 5208, 1,400 YEN)
One of the best OAV's of 1989, Rhea Gallforce was a neat running battle
sequel in the GALLFORCE OAV series. And like most of the Gallforce
series, this OAV also receives some fine attention in the area of its
music as well!
As you can tell from 1,400 Yen price, this must be a short CD. And it is.
Its four tracks of music only run less than 18 minutes. I kinda hoping
that CBS/SONY put this on a CD3 rather than a full sized CD because of
the short length. It's funny they didn't since Sony is trying so hard to
get software out on the tiny CD3 format. But that's a question for the
music trades...So, just what is on the disc then? Well, two songs and two
instrumentals from the OAV, that's what.
First up is the lovely and purring song FLY ME AWAY which is featured
during the final shuttle launch in the video. I think the song works much
better on its own, by the way. It seemed too sweetly sentimental placed
where it was in the film. Next is my favorite, the opening action
instrumental COUNT DOWN ATTACK which was featured in the slick opening
action scenes when we first see Soundy and her friends shooting down an
MME patrol ship in the streets of the city. This track features a thumping
and clunky multi-layered sound which is quite infectious. It also has a
longer moody sound effects opening which was not featured in the OAV. The
next track is another one of those Gallforce cast songs where the female
members of the cast sing a tune. Titled THE RHEA GALLFORCE THEME, this is
quite a beat heavy pop tune. A real toe tapper that sports some good
vocals. Finally, the forth track is a moody instrumental called FLY ME AWAY
(INSTRUMENTAL VERSION). Featuring a wandering electric guitar solo, and a
spacious and exotic sound mix, this track makes for some atmospheric
listening. It is interesting to note that this tune also does not sound
anything like the music featured in the FLY ME A WAY song.
This little album is a good value if you would like to get the music
from the film. It represents all the major themes from the from RHEA
GALLFORCE, though it does not include all of the instrumentals that where
heard in the film. Music for the scenes of Soundy and her friends in the
refugee camps is absent, for example. And this disc also sounds great!
It's one of the few anime discs that is all digitaly recorded and
produced. Or it's at least one of the few Japanese CDs that label the fact
that it's an all digital recording! Oh, and the disc is also packed in a
clear CD case that is meant to show off the CD's picture disc label of the
- Tom Mitchell
URBAN SQUARE ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK (ON COMPACT DISC, MELDAC RECORDS,
MED-13, 3,200 YEN)
Although I had quite a few critical pickings with the 1986 OAV thriller
URBAN SQUARE, (I have since mellowed on some aspects of the film I did
not like, by the way.) one thing that always stood out in the OAV was its
wonderful contemporary jazz fusion soundtrack. And now I have finally
found the soundtrack on CD, and it's great!
If you enjoyed what you heard in the OAV, then you will love this CD
since its 13 tracks offer extended versions of all the instrumentals in
the film. And what instrumentals they are! Composed and played by the
Japan based group CHICKEN SHACK, these snazzy jazz tunes range in tone
from lush and romantic instrumentals, to frantic fusion action numbers,
with an emphasis on slick and evil sounding bad-guy themes. CHICKEN SHACK's
technical skill, emotion, and humor really shines through on these tracks
as well. The album could not sound any better.
The album really makes me want to explore some of the group's other
albums. It is interesting to note that CHICKEN SHACK features Derek
Jackson (!) the fantastic vocalist and composer who wrote and sung most
of the songs for the classic AREA 88 OAVs. He is listed as bass player
and one of the composers on this album. Perhaps the albums only failing
is that Jackson does no songs for the soundtrack. Although he does do
some vocalizing against a guitar in one track.
So, in short this album is a MUST for the BGM collector as it is by far
the best anime jazz anime BGM produced to date. The music here certainly
did its duty to provide most of the atmosphere in the URBAN SQUARE OAV,
and it more than stands on it's own as a superior instrumental album. More
CHICKEN SHACK, please!
- Tom Mitchell
/////////////////////////////ANIME NEWS FLASH\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
NO MEGAZONE 23 III LD ... YET
Once again the folks at JVC have put pride before profits and are not
offering a major anime video title on laserdisc. Despite what your video
dealer may tell you, this title may not be available on laser disc for
some time, if at all. The reason? JVC, although they make compact discs
and 5" Compact disc videos, will not make laserdiscs of their popular
software titles because they market the failing rival Video High Density
(VHD) video disc system in Japan.
In a desperate attempt to keep some influence in the LaserDisc dominated
videodisc market in Japan, JVC has traditionally only offered choice titles
from their video catalog on tape and the now heavily discounted VHD disc
system. As a consequence, anime fans who use laserdisc as their choice
medium for collecting original videos must wait months or go without some
titles on discs compleatly. Megazone 23 Part III, and Yotoden are the
popular current examples of JVC owned titles that fans would love to
have on Laserdisc.
Polydor Video came to the rescue a couple of years ago when they bought
LD rights from JVC for Megazone 23 Part 1 and 2, Windaria, and Birth. As
of yet, JVC has not made the rights to the new Megazone 23 episodes
available to anyone for LD production.
At a time when all other consumer electronics and video companies in
Japan offer LD players and discs, VHS tape inventor JVC is loathe to join
the camp because it would probably be seen as an admission that their VHD
system has died a BETA-like death in the market. (They are now the only
supporter of the format in Japan.) JVC should stop making hardware buying
anime fans suffer, and take a cue from Sony. After years of resistance,
Sony is now profiting from offering VHS tape products after the downfall
of their rival BETA tape system.
So for now, anime fans with laserdisc players must be content to spin
their MZ 23 Part III soundtrack CD's from JVC in their machines.
- Tom Mitchell
SPEED RACER TAKES THE (VIDEO) TAPE!
At long last, the English version of the classic Tatsunoko Production TV
series SPEED RACER (known as MACH GO,GO,GO in Japan) will be available on
video tape this month. Fondly remembered by a generation of fans, this
1967 anime series will be offered on tape by VIDAMERICA. Each episode
will be available of $9.95, with the two episode CHALLENGE OF THE MASKED
RACER available on one tape for $14.95. The first four cassettes have the
catalog numbers 7199, 7200, 7201, & 7203. Keep those handy if you have to
have your video dealer special order them for you.
ANIMEIGO OFFERS SUBTITLED MADOX-01 OAV
AnimEigo, one of the first authorized anime subtitling ventures in the
U.S., is now making available their first software release. It is an
English subtitled version of the animated armored suit action film METAL
SKIN PANIC : MADOX-01. Scheduled to ship this month, the film is the
first in what the company hopes will be a long line of English subtitled
translations of popular Japanese animation films.
I a press release dated 1/11/1990, AnimEigo wanted to assure anime fans
everywhere that their releases would be of the highest quality combination
of English translation and software. Company Vice-President Janice Hindle
states that "AnimEigo is a cooperative venture of anime fans who are in
the process of licensing and subtitling anime for release on video tape.
We have recently executed a license for our first release, 'Metal Skin
Panic - MADOX-01," and are about to go into the studio to make the master
tape. We anticipate that MADOX will be $39.95 plus $3.00 shipping &
handling, and discounts are available to qualified dealers and animation
"AnimEigo is dedicated to quality. Since we license out films from the
copyright holder, they are 100% legal, authorized editions of the original
films. We use an original 1" videotape master (obtained from Japan),
digitally overlay subtitles, and produce another 1" master tape that is
then professionally duplicated. The result is a VHS tape of the highest
possible fidelity. Our subtitles are specially kerned and shaded for
maximum readability and minimum obtrusiveness. Out translations are from
the original written shooting script. We even subtitle the credits."
This is the first time that such anime product has been available at such
low prices and featuring quality English subtitling. Fans interested in
ordering MADOX or learning more about AnimEigo should write them at P.O.
BOX 989, Wilmington, NC 28402-0989. Or call 1-919-799-1501. FAX is also
//////////////////////////////MAIL ORDER INFO\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
The following is a list of businesses where the ANIME STUFF staff members
shop for our anime stuff. They are highly recommended sources for anime
and provide excellent service. All of them provide mail order so you
can write to them for catalogs.
SIGHT & SOUND NIKAKU ANIMART LASER PERCEPTIONS
1275 MAIN STREET 615 North 6th. St. 3300 JUDAH STREET
WALTHAM, MA 02154 SAN JOSE, CA 95112 SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94122
PHONE: 1-617-894-8633 PHONE: 1-408-971-2822 PHONE: 1-415-753-2016
P.O. BOX 1235
RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA 91729-1235
PHONE : 1-714-941-9750
WOK TALK/SIGHT & SOUND and LASER PERCEPTIONS specialize in domestic and
imported laser video discs. Nikaku & Animagic sell magazines, books,
compact discs, laser discs and other anime goods. Tell 'em ANIME STUFF
IOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOI BBS SYSTEM INFO IOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIO
Here is a list of some of the more notable BBS's around the country that
are dedicated mainly to anime chatter.
> VALLEY OF THE WIND BBS, the official ANIMAG BBS
Phone 1-415-341-5986 (CALIFORNIA, 300/1200/2400 BAUD)
> ANIME LANE BBS
Phone 1-818-762-3694 (CALIFORNIA, 300/1200 BAUD, Starlinkable through
Van Nuys Node)
> Cowtipper's BBS
Phone 1-818-893-7259 (CALIFORNIA, 300/1200 BAUD)
> Fantasy World BBS
Phone 1-513-878-8404 (OHIO, 300/1200 BAUD)
Coming in issue 13 of ANIME STUFF...A Mail Order Special! Plus more
Date of original publication: 3/7/1990
ANIME STUFF Copyright (C) 1990 Tom Mitchell & MIDORI COMMUNICATIONS
All rights reserved.
This publication originally appears on CompuServe Information Service's
Comic Book & Animation Forum.
Original Copyrights to the material reviewed, articles written and
graphics presented are reserved by their respective owners. The contents
of Anime Stuff may be reproduced in any form of media so long as the names
of the authors are preserved, articles remain intact, and ANIME STUFF is
mentioned as the source. The contents of this publication may not be
reproduced in publications for sale without the permission of the
copyright holders listed above.
Articles & computer artwork in Anime Stuff may be re-published in
newsletters so long as a copy of the publication in which the articles
appear are sent to:
c/o Tom Mitchell
474 Chowning Circle
Dayton, Ohio 45429
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are COPYRIGHTED (C) CompuServe Information Service
an H&R BLOCK company.