Every anime fan seems to go through a certain, interesting phase when they first start watching anime. They typically jump in with some of the best the industry has to offer. Shows like Sword Art Online, Attack On Titan, or Kill la Kill leave fans in this bubble of bliss, where anime is a flawless artistic medium. Every show is amazing, and there is nothing that seems to go wrong.
At the very least, the bad shows surely couldn’t be that bad! …Could they?
Over the past several years, Brian T. Price has been crushing this myth into a fine paste with some of the absolute worst that the anime world has to offer. With a sardonic sense of humor and a sharp wit, Price proudly digs up the corpses of shows that would best be forgotten and displays them in a parade of horribles that many won’t soon forget.
With each passing year, the crowds have grown to an impressive scale. What began as a humble panel has now become a two-hour mega-event, which packs over 2,000 fans into the cavernous Hall D in the Hynes.
That’s a lot of poor, misguided lambs being led to the slaughter by their so-called “friends.”
Those who return year after year prove to be truly fascinating, though. Whether it’s Stockholm Syndrome, masochism, or some perverse combination of the two, these folks line up eagerly line up for the opportunity to see titles that should have been killed with fire ages ago.
To break the newcomers, Price ran a combination of old and new alike.
The first major title on the lineup was Titanic: the Legend Goes On, an Italian film that loosely follows the plot of James Cameron’s blockbuster hit.
Titanic: the Legend Goes On didn’t quite capture the magic of the 1997 film. Its comically bad acting and offbeat visual style would normally give fans plenty of material to snark about. The film goes one step further, though, by adding in a gaggle of talking animals that include mariachi mice and a gangsta-rapping dog.
The room settled in an uncomfortable laughter, as attendees tried to make sense of what the hell they were watching. It was at this point that Price began to pull out the big guns.
over the past three years, Garzey’s Wing has made its way into the panel’s rotation. And, really, had there been no mention of the series, it likely would have been missed among the rest of the horrors on display that evening.
Thankfully, Price didn’t disappoint on this. He rolled a short recap of the first episode Garzey’s Wing that placed the most hilariously awful moments from the feature against Yello’s Oh Yeah. The room erupted in laughter at the awful dub, the dreadful animation, and the fascination that was “Wandering Perspective Man.”
As the screens grew dim and the music faded out, Price took to the mic. He explained that, since Anime Boston 2015’s theme was “Mecha vs. Kaiju,” he wanted to show off the absolute worst of both camps.
First on the chopping block was Mecha. Even better, it was an anime series based on a western franchise.
In 1988, Sunrise produced a six-episode OVA series based on Starship Troopers. While they were able to get the power armors to look the part, there were a number of grave missteps.
The OVA was plagued by poor production values, and a drastic rewrite that changed lead character Juan “Johnnie” Rico from a hot-blooded Filipino into a soft-spoken blonde. Worse yet, though, were the Arachnids, which looked more perverse than threatening.
Price showed three segments from the series: the opening, Rico’s first awkward conversation with Carmencita, and the first encounter with the Arachnids. All the while, he narrated and offered his unique brand of commentary, which lent a playful sense of humor to these otherwise cringe-worthy moments.
Starship Troopers was followed by a quick highlight reel of Magnos The Robot. For the uninitiated, Magnos is a poorly-dubbed adaptation of Magne Robo Gakeen. It quickly gained infamy due to its mashing of every imaginable trope together into one horribly muddled mess of a feature. The characters transform, they pose, they do backflips into the robot. They fly ships into a robot that was launched separately. On top of this, characters are given nonsensical names, like Xerxes “Tire-Iron” Dada, Sir Nevers, and Lady Ester.
In short, it’s a beautifully grotesque train wreck that’s impossible to ignore.
Rather than subject fans to the film in its entirety, though, Price cut together the most outlandish segments, which then cut to a montage of monsters (set to the Benny Hill theme).
With Mecha finished, it was finally time for the Kaiju to take the stage! To represent the city-stomping monsters, Price opted to run Attack of the Super Monsters: a 1982 joint project by Tsuburaya Productions, which blended traditional animation with live-action rubber suited monsters. It’s set in the year 2000, and dinosaurs found refuge near the center of the Earth.
There, they mutated to gain super-intelligence, with the evil Lord Tyrannosaurus taking the role of their leader. With his army of slaves, Tyrannosaurus pushes forward to try to take over the surface. Some things happen, dogs turn red and evil, and it’s just a mess.
Still, Price made it work. With well-timed quips like “Clifford, no!”, he was able to keep the laughs rolling.
Before moving to the big finale, it was raffle time. Price asked the crowd who had traveled furthest to get to Anime Boston. The honor went to André, a traveler from South America who had saved thousands to make his way to the convention. Such dedication warranted a prize! André would be returning to his home country with a Mecha Masters boxed set, which contains classics like M.D. Geist, Genocyber, and Cybernetics Guardian. Clearly landmarks that need to be shared with others!
The evening closed off with a series of long-time favorites. The trip down memory lane began with inappropriate kids’ movie tie ins, in the form of Rambo & The Governator, before moving to Dracula: Sovereign of the Damned.
The final feature of the night was a long-lost classic: Harmony Gold’s dub of the Frankenstein anime. Specifically, the climactic final scene where Frankenstein’s Monster plummets to his doom. Possibly the most memorable moment of the evening, though, came about in those final minutes. In the moments where Dr. Frankenstein turns his shotgun on himself, the room erupted in a collective mix of confusion and horror.
Shortly after Frankenstein’s end, Price ran a “Moment of Zen”, which collected various clips from the features shown in previous Bad Anime, Bad! panels. And, unfortunately, one of the leading moments was the Frankenstein head-shot.
With a clever mix of new and old, this year’s Bad Anime, Bad! panel offered something for everybody. While the features would normally be enough to drive people to madness, Price manages to turn the experience into a true delight. through each feature, fans watch as he face-palms, groans, or takes a swig of his Natural Brew Outrageous Ginger Ale. He’ll pause and rewind, insert his own commentary, and take extra time to highlight particularly cringe-worthy sections.
By the end of the event, an excited murmur could be heard through the crowd, as people filed toward the doors. Discussions of which title took the crown of “worst in show”, and chatter about favorite moments could be heard from attendees as they headed toward the doors. Fans looking for a fun evening were certainly rewarded, in the most offbeat way possible.