Crazy, zany and decidedly insane, this video is lots of fun to watch. While the story itself isn't particularly strong in and of itself, and there are enough points of lack of reality which makes one sit up and take note, the humour and its execution are strong enough to make up for it. Really now, a couple of cops on a short vacation getaway are going to give up their holiday to solve a case? I think not. Not to mention that being in another country would make that exceedingly difficult. Thus how Berkeley Rose, a New York state trooper, is able to conduct a private investigation during a very short time and gather evidence without getting into trouble from the local authorities is decidedly lacking in realism. Combine that with the fact that he seemed to have a firearm which presumably he smuggled in from America.... natch. While I can understand Bikky having a passport since he was originally to go with Dee and Ryo to England, Cal getting one with such short notice is unreal unless of course she happened to have one already, and while we're looking at timing, the travel time... hmmm no doubt they caught the concorde across to England and could afford to purchase such flight tickets cheaply on such short notice. Ah well. My personal peeve is one that most people probably wouldn't even notice; the DNA testing. I mean really now. They're going to be able to tell that blood found in the kitchen matched the victim's blood by DNA testing in roughly 12 hours?!? Even if you had actual liquid volume blood samples to match to the victim, DNA testing would still require more than 12 hours to do much beyond a preliminary exclusion analysis. Anyhow, needless to say, there are definite problems in realism in the story.
However, to make up for these gaps in reality is the humour and timing of certain jokes, lines and character reactions. Bikky's and Dee's reaction and subsequent panic attack to Ryo following the sighting of a ghost was absolutely priceless. From the controlled panic to get to Ryo's room, the subsequent mayhem, and Ryo's final reaction to the insanity unfolding before him was perfect. Don't get me wrong, the animation, music and even the voice acting overall in this video are not particularly outstanding. Indeed the entire production strikes me as being particularly low budget, non-mainstream anime. However, the script is generally well written and the direction and the insane humour really keeps things moving. Interestingly, the introductory credits and the various characters portrayals and inter-relations suggest that there is a lot more to the story than is immediately apparent. Whether things would become that much more meaningful by being familiar with the original manga work is unknown but there are hints that this would be the case. However, there's no need to be familiar with it to enjoy the story and the video stands on its own very well. We need only to accept certain relationships as they come up without having any real background knowledge of where they came from or how things developed to that stage. I have to admit, the OAV has sparked a definite interest in the manga for me.
There was one very noteworthy point for me personally when watching this OAV. Ryo and Dee's first meeting and introductions reminded me of how many second and subsequent generation Japanese descent people use their Western name most often when introducing themselves. It's ingrained, and while I have no idea if the author of the manga let alone the anime script is aware of it, it's not normal to use our Japanese middle names openly. Why? Probably it's just a matter of convenience; people aren't likely to mispronounce or misspell an English name, so the Japanese middle name is usually reserved for family use. At least that's mostly been the case for me personally. When non-family members use my middle name, it's usually because they think it's cool, or they're teasing me over something. Either way, it assumes a definite familiarity, thus, Ryo's reaction when Dee asks if he's oriental and has a Japanese name is very realistic of how most people (of Japanese descent) would likely react. While some people may indeed use their Japanese names as a nickname, this is probably more the exception than the rule.
Perhaps the weakest point for this video is the music. While the opening theme is a boppy J-pop style tune, the music during the OAV itself is decidedly lacking. Indeed, in the beginning it's barely even present with lots of background silence. Later, the music tends to be the same primary theme being recycled. Oddly enough the theme reminded me of Koko wa Greenwood's music during the Koko wa Ma-oh no Mori and Mitsuru to Ghost episodes.
Otherwise, the voice acting was a bit mixed with a generally good performance by Seki Tomokazu (Dee) while Hida Nobuo (Ryo) was occasionally a bit weaker and seemed to be less comfortable with his role at times. Inoue Kikuko (Arisa) was also very well done although I found that occasionally, her intonation was almost bordering on overacting. Still, the shift in vocal intonation when she teases Ryo was solid. Perhaps the only other noticeable point was the translations. While not bad overall, there were a few instances where the translations were skipping out on some detail or were inaccurate possibly for the sake of story continuity.
For those with liberal sexual views, this OAV makes for a lot of fun humour and a bit of romance thwarted. While those on a limited budget would be recommended to rent, all in all it's a fun romp through insanity.
- JYN, 2000.09.14