Episode 10: Our Evil Spreads Show

CHICK FIGHT!

 

Project A-Ko (1986)

Director: Katsuhiko Nishijima

If you’ve never seen a parody anime then Project A-Ko may be just what you’re looking for. Born from a very successful hentai series called Cream Lemon (don’t ask) this title became something of an anomaly. Not a hentai, but not an serious film. not that you think of any of that when you’re watching it. From it’s opening shot of an asteroid/meteor streaking across the earth and obliterating a city to it’s deliberate wholesale ripping off of anime and manga conventions it’s intent is to provide entertainment, not answers. You want answers, say the creators? Watch Macross instead.

A-Ko and C-Ko

The story as neatly as I can make out is one of A-Ko (Eiko Magami) who transfers to Graviton High School in Graviton City with her best friend from kindergarden, C-Ko (Shiiko Kotobuki), but on her first day at her new school she runs afoul of the school spoiled madam B-Ko (Biko Daitokuji) who for some reason is fixated on C-Ko. C-Ko must be “her’s” whatever that implies. As C-Ko’s friend A-Ko defends her from B-Ko’s clutches time and again in the course of the film.

B-Ko when she’s pissed

Also playing alongside this story is the story of the Lepton Kingdom’s Alpha Cygnan space navy looking for their long lost princess in the depths of space. Captain Napolipolita is facing yet another of sixteen long years searching for their missing royalty when a call comes though from Operative DC138621-S113 but referred to by the codename “D” who has been observing the Earth and seems to have identified the lost princess after witnessing A-Ko and C-Ko racing by to be in time for school. Each time D tries to document the two girls daily trip, it usually ends with D being hospitalised on account of the fact that A-Ko can run at speeds approaching the supersonic. Napolipolita charges D with getting 100% accuracy so that they can retrieve the princess.

D’s hurt. Anyone wanna lend a hand?

Couple this story with the story already going on and mix into it the local defence force getting increasingly nervous that an alien attack fleet may or may not be approaching the planet and you have the basis of a riotous comedy of epic proportions. With it’s insane cast of heroic characters who you wouldn’t want to come to your rescue to it’s out and out send up and popular anime such as Harlock, Maison Ikkoku and Hokuto no Ken this title continues to impress me even after over ten years of viewing the film. When first watched I found the film to be very funny. Only after learning more about anime and otaku culture did the in-jokes become relevant. Such as this picture below. This shot can only be seen for a split second after A-Ko knocks down D and sends him flying. Again

Hidden joke in A-Ko the Movie

One of the back stories on the production of the original movie is that the scene in which B-Ko is bathing and thinking about how much she wants C-Ko. According to the production staff, this was the only scene to remain from when A-Ko was going to be a CL hentai, but when they revised the scene within the context of the new story any lesbian subtext on the part of B-Ko was excised. Still, it’s interesting to view the film within that frame of mind and seeing if that character trait makes better sense within the shell of the new story. Personally I’ve never believed the lesbian subtext within A-Ko so it’s never bothered me.

Also some of the designs of the earth defence forces look similar to stuff from Macross Plus and sure enough the animation director for A-Ko was Yuji Moriyama. Anyways if you can get over the fact that A-Ko is now over twenty years old then you’re in for something special. Just don’t expect Macross.

Gotta a Light?

Ninja Scroll (1993)

Director: Yoshiaki Kawajiri

Truly if there is divine justice then Ninja Scroll should be shown in film school. Not for any educational value, but for the adrenaline soaked action junkie fest that is. What happens when you give a Japanese anime director some money, production staff and no proviso’s? Well you’d get Ninja Scroll. And we should thank the foolish Japanese financiers for doing just that.

READY? FIGHT!!!!

This film takes it’s cue from the Futaro Yamada Kouga Ninja Scroll books. We have our hero Jubei Kibagami (who in turn is based on the real Japanese hero Yagyu Jubei) who is a lone ninja. He was a samurai at one point but betrayals within and without destroy the clan he was part of. Now he works for anyone who pays. At the same time the Mochizuki clan send it’s ninja team to investigate the nearby Shimoda village which has been blanketed by a plague. Unfortunately every guy in the team must have StarFleet security uniforms on because they get slaughtered wholesale.

Jubei taking the road rather than the bus

Note I said all the guys. That’s because the only girl on team, Kagero, is captured by the team killer, Tessai, who proceeds to try and “have his way” with Kagero. This is where Jubei comes in. With his help, Kagero escapes. From there he hooks up with a government agent called Dakuon who poisons Jubei and promises him the antidote if he will help him solve the mystery of the village and it’s “plague”. Together they met up with Kagero and the three enter the village area…..

Gemma wants to get closer to Jubei. Hospitalization Close.

Now to go any further with this would give away the whole plot. But with wicked fight scenes, nice punchy dialogue that does it job perfunctorily and great character designs Ninja Scroll won’t win any awards for original thinking but it’s a testing ground for new anime fans and a familiar place to be for existing ones too.

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~ by eeeper on March 3, 2007.

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