I was very glad to hear the news that Anime Limited are going to be releasing the early 90s OVA series Cyber City OEDO 808 on Blu-ray
at some point in 2019, which is the ultraviolent cyberpunk series about a group of hardened criminals forced by the use of explosive collars to work for the government in tackling various cyber-crimes of the week. This is the one anime that I would recommend hearing in the English language dub version, and the UK dub version in particular as that has different voice actors (including Sean Barrett with his distinctive gravelly voice swearing it up 'American-style' in the character of Gogul. Barrett amusingly turns up after this as the male narrator on the BBC's People's Century TV series in 1995
, did a lot of voiceovers for nature documentaries and is all over the audiobook scene
, including reading The Name of the Rose! So its always fun to think back on his role in Cyber City when hearing his voiceover in other contexts!) and most importantly the fantastic Rory McFarlane soundtrack
that is completely different from the US and Japanese one.
It is only three episodes (one focused on each of the main characters) and there is a bit too much emphasis on the swearing in the dub to make everything seem a bit more adult, but this (along with Tokyo Babylon, Doomed Megalopolis and of course Akira) was the series that really got me into anime in my teens. I particularly like the second episode Psychic Trooper
, with its extended fight sequence in its second half that I have always thought could make for a fantastic live action film!
EDIT: Many of the other videos put up on that "Oldtaku" channel are from great late 80s and early 90s shows too, which is still my favourite era of anime. I particularly love the irreverently destructive take on fantasy worlds with the two Dragon Half OVAs!
I really like the use of the pop of the characters into SD form (Super Deformed, i.e. extra cute and cartoony styled) when they have their most extreme moments which is often used for punchlines, both comic and violent! (Making that final exposing celebratory shot in the second episode stand out all the more for being, um, realistically drawn!). And I think I most identify with the evil wizard sidekick to the horrible King, who drags along his own bucket of dry ice to add extra impact to his appearances and then has all of his ingenious plans backfire on him through the episodes! (Plus it has the best wacked-out, mashed-up, gibberish lyriced take-off of Beethoven over the end credits!)
It was also great to see the first two episodes of The Enemy's The Pirates: The Cat's Banquet
. I think this was a six part series but I had previously only seen the first two episodes, the same two presented on the channel, but my VHS copy (under the title Galactic Pirates) was of the English dubbed version in which Apollo the cat gets voiced with a rather sassy Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop-style voice, which only added to the hyperactive nature of the show! I kind of prefer this Japanese language version!
Black Magic M-66
is a great bit of sci-fi action which is kind of best described as Ripley from Aliens battling The Terminator!
And I also have to highlight the amusing Otaku No Video
which takes a kind of 'mental hygiene' approach to anime nerds (the titular "Otaku") following the dark descent into anime fandom of a promising tennis ace as his decision to go home early from a party ("he's the only one who takes tennis club seriously" state his other friends about to go off to more bars) leads to him accidentally sharing a lift with a group of highschool dropouts who have dedicated themselves to every possible nerdy interest from wargaming to cosplaying (the soundtrack goes from lighthearted and happy to ominous and foreboding when the Captain Harlock stickers come out!). These anime sections alternate with live action 'interviews' with real-life Otakus about their 'deviant behaviours', who have their faces pixellated and voices altered, as if they were committing some offence so shameful that they need their anonymity! Most of those sections end with a too blunt interview question that leads to the equivalent of many "How dare you ask that! I have real friends and so what if I cosplay! This interview is over!!" moments! (It is interesting seeing your now relatively commonplace cosplay aficionado being given the (obviously satirical and irreverent!) brushstroke of being the equivalent of some kind a sexual deviant here! Ah, it all seems so charming and naive now in the era of Furries having taken everything to the next level!).
The foresaking of the outside world (and actual relationships, sex and procreation) for 2D animated antics gets a section to itself. There's the rather expected take on the 'having to camp out for the big film premiere' situation (in this case for the premiere of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind) while the more 'normal' friend passes by, girl on arm, to be incredulous about his old tennis loving friend doing something so crazy. That causes a moment of self-reflection, but only a moment as another member of the club arrives with purloined storyboards and character designs from the upcoming Macross movie!
The second episode goes full bore into the hopes and dreams as in response to 'otaku discrimination' our hero fully embraces his nerdiness and decides to become the "Otaku of all Otaku! The Ota-king!", starts a cottage industry, conquers the world through anime, makes a feature film and eventually runs a space programme to go off for space battles in the stars for real, whilst the live action segments start turning even more bluntly into reality television police chase style tracking and shaming of 'cell thieves' and vigilante justice meted out in hand-held style! Its quite a fun and complex piece of work, as the two worlds split apart - the anime becoming sci-fi fantastical and literally out of this world, the 'reality' becoming more bluntly, crushingly cruel - in such a way that makes unashamed fantasy seem like the only true response to petty and mundane day to day prudishness!
Anyway in twenty or thirty years time I fully expect to be interviewed about our criterionforum.org days and I demand
the same pixellation and voice altering tactics used here to be fully employed as I talk about the way I meticulously order my shelves, and so on!