Brian T. Price returned for a yet another year of Bad Anime, Bad! at Anime Boston. And, like with previous installments, he began the evening with a combination of amusement and confusion at the capacity crowd that was seated before him. Over two thousand attendees had arrived for the event, and nary an empty seat remained in the cavernous Hall D. After all, those who get into anime usually do so for the best the medium has to offer. They join for the shows like Bebop, Bleach, and Attack on Titan. There are groups of fans that exist with the very idea that anime can do no wrong, or that anything bad surely can’t be that bad!
Price has been not only dispelling, but grinding that myth into a fine powder with a combination of a snarky sense of humor and the very worst that the anime world has to offer. Of course, this isn’t his idea alone. The idea for Bad Anime, Bad! actually originated with translator Neil Nadelman (The Slayers, Record of Lodoss War), though Price has since made the concept something uniquely him.
Since the event’s been running for five years, though, there is a lot of fresh blood entering the fray. These poor, misguided lambs were being led one by one into the room by so-called friends. They sat, wide-eyed and clueless as their “friends”, who were clearly affected by a bizarre form of Stockholm Syndrome, eagerly lined up to watch shows that would normally be treated like venomous bile outside of the room.
The poor bastards.
To break the newcomers a bit, Price decided to run a combination of old and new. The evening began with a pair of intro sequences for Hollywood-inspired cartoons. Unlike the typical toons, though, the titles shown were squarely aimed at children, though the films were firmly in the “R-Rated camp.” These two titles, Police Academy and Rambo were but small potatoes, though, when compared to what followed. The room grew silent, as the face of Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared onscreen. There was a hint of confusion, followed by roaring laughter, as Arnold suddenly began to don magical cybernetic armor and fight T-1000 knockoffs in bullet time. The trailer was a promo for an aborted vanity piece: Governator, which was to be funded and starring Arnold, himself. The laugher just grew louder as the utter absurdity grew, and the trailer capped itself off with Arnold’s cheeky “I’m back!”
The three features had previously been run in 2013’s event, though they still hadn’t lost their luster. Price’s continuous jokes and jabs amplified the humor, as the utter idiocy of the shows being presented was made more apparent.
Once Arnold’s voice faded, though, the kid gloves were off. The big new title of the night was finally be unveiled, and it was something that was both predictable, but entirely welcome. In the previous two years, Price had shown the first two episodes of Garzey’s Wing. So, logically, one could easily figure that the night would see the epic conclusion to the series playing on the gigantic projection screens.
Price didn’t disappoint. The main event began with a recap of the first two episodes, which was basically the most humorous scenes from the show to date. Props to Price on this one: Garzey’s Wing is comedic gold, particularly due to the horribly acted English dub. The series is so bad that the show’s Wikipedia page identifies it as “an example to all directors of how a project can have some good ideas, yet fall apart in production.”
It’s almost impossible to single out the “best” parts of such a show, but he was able to gather a selection of scenes that illustrate the horrific comedy of errors that is Garzey’s Wing.
Once the recap wrapped up, Price dove straight into the main event. The final episode kicked on, and the crowd immediately erupted into laughter.Price would pause the action at opportune moments to highlight bone-headed animation mistakes (including the fan-favorite “Wandering Perspective Man”), nonsensical lines of dialogue, and the like.
The evening closed off with another fan-favorite: an abbreviated showing of the dollar-store legend, Protectors of Universe. For the uninitiated, the film is a Korean studio’s attempt at making their own anime-styled production. It shamelessly steals character and mechanical designs from other shows, like Mazinger, Macross, and Space Battleship Yamato, and mashes them into a grotesque mockery of the very titles it steals from. The plot is nonsense, and the animation is laughably bad. The English dialogue is oddly off-pitch and sound effects are the products of random items like bottle rockets. The big draw of the title, though, is Mazinger 7. Mazinger 7 a garish mash-up of a Gundam’s face and Mazinger Z’s body, whose main talents are a set of nipple cannons and the ability to dock a train up its ass.
Price had shown the film once before in 2012, though it was one that definitely warranted a good dusting off. Price’s commentary and often-stunned reactions were simply hysterical, as he pointed out the various odds and ends in the film. Stolen characters and mecha designs were brought to light, and truly unusual quirks were highlighted with a snarky sense of humor.
On their own, the titles shown would be unable to be screened near an open flame. They’re an odious, malignant titles that many fans would not proudly bandy about. The addition of Price’s commentary, though, helped to make the experience into something special. Through the panel, his frustration was easy to read as he groans, face-palms, and takes swigs of his Natural Brew Outrageous Ginger Ale. He would regularly pause the action and rewind, in order to deliver a pithy comment or to re-show a particularly hilarious segment. Price’s witty remarks and fantastic sense of timing helped to really build the panel into something special, as roaring laughter could be heard among the 2,000 members of the audience.
Despite the fact there were a number of repeats, this year’s Bad Anime, Bad! panel still felt fresh and fun. Those looking for a bit of fun on a Saturday night found it, even if the good times were born from the abortive creations of the anime world. Even as people filed for the exits, there was chatter rising from the mob. They were excited, and they loved every minute of the night. The event was, once again, a hit, which left the curious with more than they bargained for and the veterans with a hilarious experience that was well worth talking about.