Friday, July 20, 2012

Things That Should Have Been Left Alone: Ginrei Special

There's been a lot of stuff throughout the years that shouldn't have been made. It happens all the time. It's inevitable in media. How many times is Gainax going to remake Evangelion? Ah, but that's an entirely different story. I'm more so wanting to whine and complain about needless OVAs. If it's a success, odds are good it'll have an OVA--trust me, I'm not complaining! If anything, I generally accept OVAs with open arms, regardless if they are necessary or not. I'm glad there's a bunch of Urusei Yatsura and Project A-Ko OVAs, and especially stuff like the 10 episode Dirty Pair or some extra back story for Armored Trooper Votoms. Hell, it's usually a fan's dream for extra material, right? A lot of times it can feel a bit superfluous, or maybe not as good, but it can still present a bit of extra entertainment and whet your appetite for just a slight bit more of that series you adore so much, right?

But sometimes disaster strikes. You get sick to your stomach. They change the art style, the voices, or even the entire tone of your favorite series. It's usually all to make a quick buck, which is quite obvious. Sure, some may be a love letter to the fans or tie up some loose ends--but really, in this world it usually just boils down to a product on the shelves and a fat ass wallet. Look at the Kimagure Orange Road OVA for example. It's garbage. It's absolutely dreadful. I can't even finish it. Sure, the art style is still there, the characters, the voice acting--what's wrong? It's nothing like the original series. They can get away with more skin now, so of course Madoka Ayukawa is flaunting it. Sexual tension and flirtation was always a central theme, but it's way overdone to a point of promiscuity and needless fan-service. Obviously I have no problem with fan service. I'm a damned self-described otaku with an infatuation for all things Go Nagai and Satoshi Urushihara and figurines of questionable positions. This isn't a damn moral conflict--this is about preserving a character, goddammit! Ruins it, you stupid fat hobbit. The show deals with espers and some silly stuff happens every once and awhile concerning such. That's the extent of it,  for the primary theme is that of a love triangle amongst young lovers. First OVA episode they add a ghost story that the characters "remember" during a ski trip. Another episode they go on a vacation and get kidnapped and escape the bad guys. What ever happened to unrequited love and teen romance? Who cares when you can completely change the show and show more teenage cleavage and scary ghosts and adventure! What about the cast of Maison Ikkoku getting stuck on a desert island? Or what happened to the cast of Armored Trooper Votoms 20 years after the series ended? The fans obviously crave nonsensical garbage to soil their favorite show as long as they get some extra screen time, right? I could bitch for hours. And I probably will, but I'll stick to just one show in question. Now that I'm good and pissed, it's time to get to the perpetrator of my 2 o'clock hateful vigil blog: Giant Robo's Ginrei Special. Goddammit.

Ginrei Special is a three part OVA that showcases the character Ginrei from another OVA, Giant Robo: The Animation, an adaptation of the manga by Mitsuteru Yokoyama, creator of Tetsujin 28-go, also known as Gigantor. Giant Robo: The Animation in itself is a fantastic OVA, almost sort of a hidden gem of 90s anime. It's got a beautiful orchestral score, fluid animation, a moving story, and splendid character design from Toshiyuki Kubooka, best known for his designs on the fantastic Lunar games for SegaCD (later on Saturn and PSX) and Albert Odyssey, and more recently The Idolm@ster. The titular Ginrei--pun possibly intended--stars as an INTERPOL agent with a certain secret very important to the central part, so I can't really give that away. Throughout Giant Robo Ginrei wears a Chinese dress and a leg holster for her pistol. She's got long legs and the dress is short, but the character never really becomes suggestive to the viewer. Even in a short top not a line of skin is ever drawn to imply cleavage, despite what is a relatively large bust. Certainly, the character is sexually appealing, yet it is done appropriately and left to your imagination--however perverted you may be (and judging by my recent page hits, you're all a bunch of sick bastards). All in all, it's a pretty solemn OVA with a lot of melancholy, environmental commentary and a fair share of character deaths among the main cast.

As I insinuated earlier, I am indeed a pervert and in no way any type of moral authority in the anime world. I knew what I was expecting. I wasn't looking for much. The Ginrei Special OVA seemed like it would be a bit of inane fun and plenty of eye-candy in the form of Ginrei herself. Still, I grew to like the character, so it felt a bit odd that the first shot of the special showed more skin than the entire 650 minutes of Giant Robo. Slightly hypocritical, but I had gained respect for the character and that wasn't her, so it felt kinda weird, regardless of how my male hormones thought. I grew to love her mystical allure and that Chinese dress. I just wanted to see her jump around and go on an adventure and shoot some bad dudes. Maybe show a little leg or somethin', you know--but nothing more. Hell, I was even fine with the cleavage shot at first. And then she got in the shower...

 Cue like a billion shots of her ass and some side boob and another character's ass within the first five minutes. Eh, a little fan-service can't hurt, I told myself. Then shit got batshit stupid. Daisaku, the kid who commands Robo, sees Ginrei naked and goes all googly-eyed and passes out; Robo itself has a nosebleed. Uh...Ginrei runs around naked and grabs her breasts, which are actually bombs, and throws them at the bad guys. Turns out it wasn't really Ginrei, but another member of the International Police Organization. End of first episode.

I lie to myself a little bit and say, "Well, that wasn't too bad."

I'm a fucking liar. What little integrity the first episode had the second one vomits the rest out and wallows in its own excrement. Any structure is gone. Every character has reverted to a childlike form. It is a complete parody of itself--and a terribly unfunny one, at that. The characters get drunk--including the child--and they goof off. The enemies have drinking contests. They stumble around and make fools of themselves. They make a giant robot of Ginrei.

Look how wacky he is!!! He's a kid! And he's...drunk!! Oh, the fans are going to think this is hilarious!

It's a a dress!!!!! That's the wrong gender! Boys can't wear dresses!!!!!! What will they do next?!?!?!


They make a Ginrei robot, now controlled by an upset--and drunk--Daisaku, in the dress still, of course. Everyone tries to destroy it, but since the robot is modeled after Ginrei they all freeze up. Some of them try and look up the robot's skirt. It's pathetic. Ginrei gets embarrassed and her boobs grow three times the size they usually are and she pulls a rocket launcher out of her cleavage. She blows up the robot. Then she has a cocktail with a bad guy and swims in the ocean. Then all the characters go in a bathroom stall and glance at each others cocks to see who's is the biggest. The hilarity ensues. Ginrei gets stripped naked in the ocean. Then her robot is back and fights another robot. The end.

Part one of Ginrei Special is pretty bad, but it's watchable; this, however, is absolutely unbearable. It's quite possibly the most insipid, bland, unfunny, banal trash I've watched in quite awhile. The character design stays the same, yet at times the animation suffers and loses some of  its original merit, leaving part two with absolutely nothing redeemable. They even attempt to display gratuitous amounts of Ginrei's sensual body, yet can't even get the proportions right. One would assume the main attempt of such an unnecessary OVA would be for fan-service, yet they can't even animate it right. How perfectly fitting for such a horrid waste of time. One of the first times I've had to fast-forward anything in years.

Part three starts off a bit more promising. A sweet melody plays in congruence with a widescreen presentation of a windy, desolate desert as Ginrei narrates a peaceful introduction. The camera eventually pans to a quite shot of Ginrei in a poncho, the wind blowing her hair. Text slowly fades in, starting the main story.

Ah! Finally, something redeeming! Still, not exactly what I was expecting, but at this point I'd take about anything. The animation for part three looks especially nice, although the mock widescreen only lasts but the first five minutes or so. Anyhow, part three seems canonical, albeit being thrown somewhere arbitrarily into the mix of the events of Giant Robo, but that doesn't really matter. It's like a genuinely good OVA, right? Anyhow, part three is western themed, if one could ascertain that themselves by now. It's better, but it's still...okay.

Ginrei and company are dressing up as some sort of researchers for a college. They meet some people and uncover some plot and foil it and save the day. It's really a pretty bland affair, especially after the introduction seems to promising and elegant. Sure, it's certainly a welcome change from the abomination that is part one, and mainly part two, but it's still quite bland and forgettable. If you're in the mood for something of this nature I'd most rather recommend something like Explorer Woman Ray or for you to just go play Tomb Raider.

Conclusively, Ginrei Special has been one of the biggest letdowns I've ever had for something I wasn't even expecting much out of in the first place. I came in expecting just a little bit of fun, but that was obviously too much to ask. If you're in for skin, you certainly see a lot of Ginrei throughout, although it's usually poorly drawn and inconsistent. The entire OVA is completely devoid of any respectable humor, plot and just plain entertainment in general. If you want more Ginrei, just go get the art book. You've been warned.

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