Monday, August 21, 2017

OBSCURE O.V.A.S., *FLCL

Originally done as a Gainax's first bite into the new millennium, FLCL(also called Fooly Cooly and Furi Kuri), this 6-episode OVA has recently been changed into an ongoing TV series backed up by Adult Swim. Being a meltdown of several anime tropes and gag humor, FLCL went on to being a genre-defining movement within anime, as well as American comics and animation.

Naota is a grade school student living in a small Japanese suburb whose popular older brother is in America on a baseball scholorship. This fame has an effect on Naota's trying to live up to his brother's image, as well as his resident ex-girlfriend Mamimi keeps clinging to him. One day, a crazy girl named Haruko shows up riding a scooter and hits Naota on the head with her guitar. This leads to Haruko becoming his family live-in "housekeeper", all while strange robots repeatedly keep appearing out of portal coming from Naota's head, which usually make him look like he's either sporting a horn or a pair of cat ears. This never really defined plot device has unexplained things like Haruko being an alien, a space pirate being captured by the enigmatic company referred to as Medical Mechanica, also a covert military organization keeping tags on all the parties involved. These usually lead to outrageous battles with runaway robots, and Haruko's constant changing from one anime cliche to another in devastating acts of violence filled with fan service.

The OVA made a large impact in the otaku community, both in Japan and America, but it soared after it was broadcast on Toonami in nearly endless 6-week loops. This embarked Cartoon Network to ride the current nostalgia train of continuing previous shows like Samurai Jack and Invader Zim by continuing it in two more 6-episode mini-series set for 2018. There was also a 2-volume manga done in a sketchier style based on the anime that was printed in English through Tokyopop. The OVA was first released by Sync-Point, also being one of the anime series that they actually completed before going bankrupt, and then re-released through Funimation. Even though this could've been released as a single feature like Read Or Die, but it works much better in its uncut episode-to-episode format.

Monday, August 7, 2017

OBSCURE O.V.A.S, *Tenchi Muyo

Tenchi Muyo has probably one of the most diverse legacies in all of anime. Originally a 6-episode OVA series, followed by a special(which became Episode #7), then continued in another 6.25-episode series, it left a trail for several TV and movie remakes, along with a spinoff set further in the future, until finally being officially continued in a third installment of the original OVA about 12 years later. This is was also the foundation of what would become the "harem anime" genre. Picking up the concept that Urusei Yatsura, Tenchi Muyo takes the boy-meets-alien-girl concept and ramps it up with even more hot extra-terrestrial babes!

Tenchi Misaki is an average teenager spending the summer working at his grandfather's temple where he unintentionally releases an ancient demon, who turns out to be the sexy space pirate Ryoko sealed away in a tomb by Tenchi's ancestor. Fortunately, Tenchi has a handy lightsaber which is really the key to an alien empire known as Jurai, whose princesses Ayeka and Sasami come to Earth looking for their half-brother Yosho. Later, the bubbleheaded space police girl Mihoshi drops in, just before the intergalactic criminal Kagato invades looking for the secret to Jurai's power. Kagato was keeping his old teacher Washu(and Ryoko's mom!)prisoner, that escapes and helps Tenchi defeat their shared enemy. All five girls eventually move into Tenchi's home with his father near their grandpa's temple. This portion of the OVA was continued in the 2nd series with more background on Washu, and the Jurai royal family. The 3rd OVA takes place sometime afterwards, which gave Tenchi even more love interests, and leading into how the universe was created, despite the fact that there's some added plotlines that pointlessly tags more loopholes to the series, making most of the last two episodes as exposition fests. This and the tacked on time travel factors make it so that most of the first parts of the 3rd OVA are completely re-enacted, plus an odd take on the Evangelion finale.

The OVA is being continued in a 4th series, hopefully having Tenchi finally picking one of the multiple girls from his harem as his one true love. Tenchi Muyo was most heralded in America as part of Toonami's lineup, even though it was profoundly edited, and was broadcast with the Tenchi Universe and Tenchi In Tokyo TV remakes. It's spinoff, Tenchi Muyo GXP(the title character of which only shows up in one episode!), also played on Toonami. The multiple magical girl parody remake starring Sasami called Pretty Sammy has also had it's own OVA series, and two TV remakes. Another mini-TV series titled Ai Tenchi Muyo shows an older Tenchi as a teacher, although its considered to be a sequel to Tenchi Universe. Aside from the Mihoshi Special, the only other anime directly tied to the first Tenchi timeline is War On Geminar dealing with Tenchi's younger brother on another planet, as well as a slight tie-in to the Dual: Parallel Adventure TV series which has some connection to GXP. The original OVA series also spawned a manga series released in America as No Need For Tenchi, as well as an American-created 6-issue Tenchi Muyo comic book series which was really a sequel to Tenchi Universe. If you have trouble shifting through all these various spinoffs, sequels, reboots, and remakes, it might be best just to stick to the primary OVA series, and any of its various official continuations.

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