SuChiPai Boxart - 20130907What is it?

Idol Fighter Su-Chi-Pai is a 30-minute OVA based on a series of mah-jong video games from Jaleco.

…We’re already off to a great start, aren’t we?

Anyway, in the series, a legendary set of ten mah-jong tiles known as the Legendary Pai appear in the world once per century. Those who are able to collect all of the Legendary Pai are granted any wish that they desire. The catch, though, is that the tiles manifest in the form of horrific monsters, which must be defeated before the tile itself can be claimed.

In the most recent manifestation, a new pack of fortune-hunters are hunting for the Legendary Pai. Among those in the running are:

  • A bunny-girl alien
  • A maid-dominatrix
  • A cyborg
  • A super heroine
  • A girl from the magic realm

Before one of them can claim her wish, though, she must prove herself victorious against both the monsters and the other fortune-seekers!

Of course, this is all because dominatrices and bunny girls are the ultimate treasure hunters… or something. It’s surely not a shoddy cash-in on cute characters. Right? …Right?!

No, Really. What the heck is it?

In his heyday, Kenichi Sonoda was seen as a man who could do little wrong. He was a key figure in the creation of several prominent titles, including Gunsmith Cats, Gall Force, and Bubblegum Crisis. In the early 1990s, Sonoda lent his talents to a series of mah-jong games titled Idol Fighter Suchie-Pai. The first installment, which hit in 1993, was a Super Famicom game, known for its character designs, and its story mode, which had anime-styled intermission scenes and a level selection screen not unlike Mega Man. The title found a niche, and sold well enough that it continues even today.

The OVA, specifically, is based on Idol Fighter Suchie-Pai 2, a 1994 arcade game that was best known for its animated intermission screens, and character interactions within matches. The overall story in the games was akin to that of a fighting game of the era. In layman’s terms, this means that there’s more development in a Bazooka Joe comic.

However, like we’ve seen countless times in the past, some production committee saw that game was performing well in the market. The familiar call of currency began to beckon, and clever minds figured that customers would eagerly part with $80 a pop to watch a series of 30-minute OVAs based on the game. Given that the Su-Chi-Pie never got past one episode, it’s clear that customers weren’t as stupid as the marketers thought.

To be kind, the end product was lackluster. To be realistic, the title as a fetid, steaming pile of crap. The plot is non-existent, the premise is a shameless Dragon Ball rip-off, and the writing is atrocious. Jokes are painfully bad, and predictable to a fault. To call the characters one-dimensional would be an exaggeration, as they’re little more than fetish-y stereotypes that exist to fill the designs of the game characters.

Really… a bunny girl that wants to steal the clothing of the world? A dominatrix that wishes for a new queen? What the hell is this…?

On top of this, both subtitle and dub viewers are screwed. The dub is horrifically bad, to the point that the US Manga Corps dubs of the early ’90s seem like masterpieces.  The acting is hammy and over-the-top, and voices rarely tend to match their characters. The subtitles aren’t much better, as they suffer from a lazy translation and unforgivably bad mis-timing. Lines will appear (and disappear) several seconds before they’re spoken, and the translation is rife with hilarious errors.

And you want me to watch this WHY?

Idol Fighter Su-Chi-Pai is the perfect choice for a bit of audience snark. It’s a title that, in the hands of a good audience, can become a truly hilarious experience, as viewers gripe, groan, and make cruel jokes. The non-existent plot and blatantly stupid dialogue provides enough fodder for unintentional chuckles.

The dub track, with its horrific, ham-fisted attempts at acting, is the preferred way to watch. While the subtitle track lends itself to a number of hilarious translation errors, a few misspellings are simply no match for 30 straight minutes of terrible.

When and how long should I screen this for?

Idol Fighter Su-Chi-Pai is best shown as a “middle-of-the-event” title. Due to its 25-minute run time, the OVA makes a good, safe show to screen in its entirety. It’s not as much of a train wreck as, say, Magnos or Garzey’s Wing, so the title can be used as sort of an “intermission” title, where people can get up, use the facilities, or the like.

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