Many that take up anime as a hobby do so with a bright-eyed naivete. They see shows like Cowboy Bebop, Bleach, or One Piece and follow recommendations from friends, which leads to the impression that the medium can do no wrong. For the past ten years, Brian Price has been dispelling this myth in Bad Anime, Bad!, where the worst of the worst anime is placed on display for all to see.
This year’s panel began with the first episode of Garzey’s Wing, brainchild of Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino. For the uninitiated, this is a title that was so horrible, so absurdly idiotic in its execution that it’s become the focus of numerous jokes and jeers. It’s a title that is so bad that the show’s Wikipedia page states that it “remains as an example to all directors of how a project can have some good ideas, yet fall apart in production.” Of course, this wouldn’t be the complete experience unless Central Park’s hilariously bad dub was shown. And, thankfully, Price didn’t disappoint.
After Garzey’s Wings, he switched over to Protectors of Universe: a Korean studio’s attempt at creating an “anime” title. The title is a regular appearance in Wal-Mart bargain bins that shamelessly steals character and mechanical designs from other shows, like Gundam, Mazinger, and Voltron. The story makes no sense, the English dub is shrill and off-pitch, and the sound effects seem to have a five-dollar budget, as they use recordings of bottle rockets and other household items. The plot made little sense, and the hero for the forces of good was Mazinger 7, which is a combination of Mazinger Z’s body and a Gundam-like face. Which makes this robot truly hilarious, though, is the fact that Mazinger 7 docks with an intergalactic train that is usually filled with children by spreading its legs and taking the train into its ass.
Midway into Protectors, Price switched to segments from a pair of adaptations of western works. The first, Dracula: Sovereign of the Damned is an adaptation of Marvel Comics’s Tomb of Dracula by Toei Animation (Remember that partnership from my Sentai vs. Superheroes articles? Thank that partnership for this film!). The title was acquired by Harmony Gold and dubbed into English in 1983, and focuses on a rag-tag group of vampire hunters (and their eye-gleaming dog), as they hunt for Dracula. In this adaptation, the plot meanders with little regard for continuity, the main characters show little regard for logic, and Dracula is shown as both a sympathetic individual, a remorseless murderer, and somewhat of a goof.
After Dracula, the final anime title began: Toei’s adaptation of Frankenstein. In particular, he showed the climactic finale, where the villagers and the good Doctor close in upon the monster. Of course, the only real horror to be had was the terrible dub, and the low-budget animation. Even the supposedly dramatic scene where the monster plummets to his death, and Dr. Frankenstein turns his own shotgun on himself was somehow hilarious.
While simply viewing these features would be enough to inspire peals of laughter in an audience, Price made the experience truly priceless. Through each feature, he is easily visible as he face-palms, groans, and takes the occasional a drink of his (non-alcoholic) beverages. He regularly pauses and rewinds, in order to insert his own commentary, or highlight particularly hilarious segments, be it Chris talking to himself about training naked, in Garzey’s Wing, or pointing out that one of the primary antagonists in Protectors of Universe was named Blackman (and that, at one point, his superior cries “Jump, Blackman, JUMP!” with great enthusiasm). His impeccable timing and razor-sharp wit propel the panel to a truly divine level. By the end of the event, laughter roared through the auditorium, and discussions on just how bad Garzey’s Wing and Protectors of Universe could get could be heard as people made their way toward the exits. For a tenth year running, the panel was a hit, and fans looking for a laugh got more than they could ever bargain for.