Vampire Wars was a 50-minute OVA series animated by Toei Animation in 1990. The anime was licensed in America by Manga Entertainment in the late 1990s, who released it on VHS in 1998 and later on DVD in 2002. Both releases are currently out of print.
A brutal attack on a NASA base in an Arizonan desert by vampires gets the attention of a French freelance agent named Kozaburo Kuki, who thinks the incident may be connected to the corpse of a CIA agent seen floating along the Seine River in Paris. Discovering that an actress named Lamia Vindaw is being targeted by these vampires, Kuki commits himself to the protection of Lamia as he tries learning more about the vampires and their reasons for attacking the NASA base.
Vampire Wars is another example of bad 90s OVA titles made in Japan. The anime has some pretty bad writing in properly laying out its plot and characters.
In the case of characters, just about everyone you meet tends to stick with flat one-dimensional archetypes. Characters barely have much in the way of personality (especially in the case of our deadpan hero Kuki) and any depth they are given is sloppily laid on in whatever scene they are introduced. Scenes where Kuki is supposed to portray himself as heroic, despite the violent, merciless ways in which he dispatches thugs and implied to sleep with prostitutes, is quite laughable and a poor attempt at trying to have the audience sympathize with his shallow character.
The execution of the plot is just as laughable as the pacing to Vampire Wars makes events breeze through quickly and major revelations come across more as sloppy and happening too conveniently. The movie gets in the horrible habit of having events with Kuki happen way too conveniently. For example, Lamia’s mother not only gives biological details on her daughter’s condition to Kuki despite supposedly only being Lamia’s talent agent, but also happens to own and be capable of piloting a helicopter that Kuki uses to fly in and raid an enemy hideout when Lamia gets abducted later in the OVA.
The visuals to Vampire Wars haven’t aged too well as the seemingly realistic style of drawing used for character designs look rather ugly and flat. Also for an OVA series, the animation to Vampire Wars borders from subpar to terrible as a number of action scenes feature stilted and unnatural movements from characters thanks to the title’s low frame rate. It seems too obvious that Toei was working with a limited budget when they animated this.
The English dub to Vampire Wars also does its part to enhance how laughably bad the series is. Made at the Manga Entertainment branch in the UK, the dub for Vampire Wars features some voice actors making poor attempts at delivering French accents and tossing in graphic language not found in many parts of the original Japanese script to the series as Manga was purposely trying to bump up the age rating to appeal to older audiences and make the anime seem more edgy.
Those of you expecting me to completely rip apart Upotte like I’ve done for my prior reviews will be surprised to know that I didn’t find it to be as horrible as what some folks may have made it out to be from its premise, though it is still obvious otaku bait. Baring this in mind, I am slightly tweaking my review format for this review to reflect more on my thoughts of the pros and cons of this series. I may adopt the format if I run into another issue like this for future reviews where I run into titles not as horrifically bad as I’ve heard of them to be!
Upotte!! is a 10-episode action-comedy ONA series animated by Xebec and had episodes released from April 8 to June 9 of this year. The series is an adaptation of the ongoing manga series written by Kitsune Tennouji for Young Ace, Shonen Ace and 4-Koma Nano Ace magazines since 2009. The series was licensed earlier in the year by Sentai Filmworks, who have yet to announce when they plan to release the series on DVD and/ or Blu-Ray format.
A young teacher takes a job at Seishou Academy where he is the only human amongst anthropomorphized guns in human form. The students at the school are trained into becoming useful weapons and divided up into different classes depending on how they were made such as submachine guns (elementary school), assault rifles (middle school) and battle/ sniper rifles (high school). The new teacher finds himself being the homeroom teacher for a class of assault rifles and becoming acquainted with an assault rifle named Funco and her group of friends.
For a series clearly geared for the otaku crowd, the premise for Upotte is an original one if one is able to look past the seemingly creepy implications of the “gun girl” gimmick. The quirks among some of the girls are influenced by the real-life firearms that they are an anthropomorphized form of and a number of the show’s comedic gags and innuendo jokes are gags that could be followed by anyone with heavy knowledge of firearms. The anime often takes some time to go into depth on elaborating on the history and specs of many of the firearms introduced throughout the series.
Also for an otaku pandering show, many of Upotte’s elements were tolerable for the most part for me to watch through. Many of the characters don’t get overly obnoxious with their personality quirks and the ecchi content to the series is tame for the most part compared to gross-out and excess ecchi titles like Seikon no Qwaser or Kiss x Sis as much of Upotte’s content is mostly panty shots, bath scenes, clothes changing and the occasional innuendo joke.
Looking past Upotte’s “gun girl” gimmick, the series is still mostly a pretty typical high school gal pals comedy in the vain of recent titles like A Channel and Tamayura: Hitotose. Many of the girls follow the typical character archetypes you can find of such titles, which would be a major turn off of folks tiring of the excess number of titles using this setup.
Later episodes of the series also have their occasional moments of slipping up with their quality. A later 3-episode arc of the series introduces the character Sako, whose typical psychotic personality and some of her creepy actions (like masturbating during a gunfight) were quite the turn-off for me. The anime also tosses in a few characters seemingly to only be comic relief with their girl crushes on major members of the anime cast and mess with the viewer’s perceptions on their sexuality, a gag which has already been done to death enough in past moe slice-of-life comedies.
The weakest of the series for me came in Upotte’s final two episodes when it tries to make itself more serious when the Seishou gun girls get in a conflict with another group of gun girls. Other than this mood change being way out of place with the mood setup in the show’s earlier episodes, the enemy faction gets very little depth, the conflict was clearly rushed through, there is a cop-out resolution to a major event that occurs during the conflict and it gets left open-ended.
I just don’t see where folks consider Upotte to be horrifically bad. While the anime is still otaku bait, much of its ecchi content is rather light and its sloppy moments of writing are nowhere as horrifically bad as past duds I’ve seen like Garzey’s Wing and Harlock Saga. Looking past its “gun girl” gimmick, Upotte is just an average and clichéd title that I imagine would become forgettable for many folks in the next couple years since it doesn’t have much else that sticks out beyond its gimmick.
Chris Chiaki is a college ronin who has half of his soul transferred to the parallel world of Byston Well. Here, Chris gains the power of Garzey’s Wing, magical wings that grant him the ability to fly and run quickly. In Byston Well, Chris is chosen to lead a rebellion of slaves from the Metomeus tribe for their freedom against the Ashigaba armies from the city of .
Garzey’s Wing is one of anime’s most infamous messes in terms of properly laying out a cohesive plot and fleshing out its relevant elements, and for good reason.
The first five minutes of this dud sloppily set up the premise for the series at a breakneck pace and it is quite difficult to follow what goes on within that time. At first, this had me under the impression that Garzey’s Wing was some sort of compilation OVA for any ongoing source material made at the time like a manga or novel, until I researched and realized this was, regrettably, an original work which showed Yoshiyuki Tomino at his worst with directing.
Even when the pace of the OVA settles down afterward, it still flows by at a very fast pace, enough where there is little time for any fleshing out of the title’s major elements and characters thanks to more focus being on the advancement of the plot. Garzey’s Wing is so ignorant of having time to flesh out its premise that it makes major elements of its premise such as the link between both of the Chris’s incoherent and jarring to follow thanks to the lack of time the series devotes in fleshing itself out. This was a series that would have been better executed if made into a TV anime, considering it was attempting to set itself up as an epic-scale medieval/ fantasy action anime in the style of 90s titles like Record of Lodoss War and Berserk.
The English dub to Garzey’s Wing is also worth mention in enhancing how horrifically bad it is. The script used for the dub was a literal translation of the original Japanese script to the point where it made a good number of the spoken lines from English voice actors sound awkward, unnatural and at times, laughable. Also, there was clearly little effort put by the voice actors in expressing their characters as they hardly emoted and delivered their lines rather flatly.
Gyo is an animated adaptation of the horror manga series created by Junji Ito for Big Comic Spirits magazine from 2001 to 2002. The anime adaptation is a 70-plus minute OVA adaptation animated by Ufotable and released on February 15, 2012.
Okinawa becomes manifested with a stench of death coming from fish walking on mechanical legs that are leaving the ocean and headed into the cities. A young woman named Kaori tries to find out the whereabouts of her boyfriend Tadashi when the city of Tokyo gets hit by a swarm of the walking fish.
-Kaori Sawahara- The female lead of the OVA who was on a trip with her two friends, Aki and Erika, before the walking fish pandemic occurs. She returns to Tokyo to find her boyfriend Tadashi after learning that the walking fish have swarmed into the city.
-Tsuyoshi Shirakawa- A cameraman/ reporter who accompanies Kaori around as he investigates the walking fish pandemic.
-Tadashi- Kaori’s boyfriend in Tokyo whom Kaori loses contact with when a swarm of walking fish hit the city.
-Erika- One of Kaori’s friends. A promiscuous girl who likes using her body to get the attention of men.
-Aki- The second of Kaori’s friends. An overweight girl insecure with her appearance and jealous of the attention that Kaori and Erika get from guys.
Gyo is comparable to bad American horror films in the fact that both rely on grotesque violence and content to shock its viewers at the expense of quality plotting and setting up genuinely suspenseful moments to horrify viewers.
While a well-animated work compliments of Ufotable, Gyo only cobbles by with its plot thanks to the grotesque moments involving the walking fish and the effects that the mysterious stench they emit have on humans. The violent ways in which people get killed off and what happens with the corpses have no real purpose at all in Gyo’s story besides trying to gross out its audience. The OVA doesn’t even bother to explore what the cause of the walking fish are until late in the second half. Even then, it still felt cobbled together due to the lack of foreshadowing over the nature of the fish and the stench they emit.
Adding to the absurdity of Gyo’s plotting, the OVA tosses in failed moments of twisted black humor towards the ending of the series featuring Tadashi’s father and a circus full of twisted performers. The failure with these moments is that they are quite out of place with the horror that Gyo was trying to build up on with its grotesque developments involving Tokyo’s human populace.
The characters in Gyo are not much better off either as they are hardly fleshed-out and are limited in personality to a great extent, limiting how much one can feel for their problems. This means one could care less about Kaori’s problems finding her boyfriend as she is regularly seen worried and angsting over his well-being throughout the rest of the OVA when she arrives in Tokyo.
Speaking of characters, Erika and Aki are perhaps the worst characters within the OVA, considering the former is pretty much a slut making use of her looks to have her way with men (with one instance of her having a threesome with two guys) and the latter being so insecure of her looks that she bad mouths both her so-called friends when left all alone to deal with the mentioned threesome by Kaori. Besides making you wonder how Kaori could be friends with such horrible characters, Erika and Aki are a waste of screen time in the movie as they contribute nothing to advance the movie’s plot and are only around to showcase how they either get killed off or get affected by the walking fish.
Before I start this review, I want to give thanks to Wraith for pointing out some relevant information for me during voting revolving around the premise for Sleeping with Hinako. Otherwise, here we go with this quick review.
Isshoni Sleeping: Sleeping with Hinako is the second of a series of three OAV titles released by Primastea on February 11, 2010 that involve an otaku pandering premise revolving around its titular female character, Hinako.
Hinako is back to teach you, the viewer, how to sleep! Seriously, this is all there is for the premise.
Hinako- A former hikikomori who turns into a busty and attractive anime character. This motivates her into wanting to encourage otaku to get into shape. She loves exercising, bathing and sleeping; as well as dressing in lingerie and school gym outfits.
Sleeping with Hinako is another of many anime titles made in the 2009-2010 period whose sole purpose of existence is only to pander to the otaku crowd.
This OAV is notable in the fact that you can actually program the DVD or Blu-Ray disc of it (if you actually have it instead of a fansub) to let you sleep for 6 or 8 hour intervals and adjust it accordingly depending on one’s sleeping habits. The disc then randomizes different animated footage from the disc accordingly to create the illusion of Hinako sleeping along with you and it would then wake you up via alarm once the amount of time set is up.
Sleeping with Hinako features the typical elements you would find in an otaku pandering work with Hinako being your cute, naïve and well-endowed gal who you regularly get to see enough boob and panty shots with throughout the title. With the gimmick offered through this OAV, there is hardly any type of plot to be found in it, outside of Hinako’s occasional interactions with the viewer. The anime quite often reuses animated frames to go along with the different shots that are randomized when set up for sleep.
If you did wind up getting the fansub for Sleeping with Hinako, then it makes watching the OAV rather boring as much of the first half of it only features different shots of a sleeping Hinako that would be cycled through on disc releases of it, followed by the title’s “special events” and three different endings.