Host: Tinfoil Pyramid Hats
It feels like an eternity ago at this point, but in 2019, Brian T. Price celebrated his tenth season of Bad Anime, Bad! in the Hynes’ cavernous Hall D. Clad in a black suit and jacket, Price had unleashed a three-hour torrent of bilge that would make even the most optimistic fans reel back in disgust. As the evening came to a close, the thousands in attendance were already beginning to speculate about what Price would pull from his sack of horrors next time.
Three years; one thousand, one hundred thirty-four days have passed since that evening. In the weeks and months between, the halls of the Hynes remained still, as the shrieks, squeals, and groans that Bad Anime, Bad! inspired were replaced by silence.
Clearly, this couldn’t be permitted to continue.
This year, the event would see a change of venue, moving from the cavernous Hall D, to the Sheraton’s Grand Ballroom. In the hours leading up, a line had formed in front of the venue that wound through a serpentine queue setup, back to the hotel’s elevators. The crowd of waiting attendees chattered and conversed, eager to bathe in the horrors of the evening.
The doors opened at 9:30PM, and fans were welcomed by Motörhead’s Eat the Rich, as they filed into the chamber. Both screens displayed a timer, visibly ticking down from fifteen minutes. As the clock reached the twelve minute mark, the music changed to ZZ Top’s TV Dinners, an apt choice, given Anime Boston’s “Bento in Boston” theme.
The stage itself, meanwhile, remained empty. Colored gels illuminated a table adorned with a black tablecloth and a MacBook, whose glowing emblem cast a cold, white hue in stark contrast to the scene.
The room continued to fill, as the countdown hit the seven minutes mark, and the song shifted once again to Camel Walk, by Southern Culture On The Skids.
By the four-minute mark, most of the seats had been filled, with hundreds of fans sitting shoulder to shoulder as they watched the clock tick down. The song Stress, by Jim’s Big Ego, kicked in. The lyric “everybody’s out to get me, but I feel alright” resonated deeply with the current mood of the era.
“Everybody’s out to get me, and I feel alright” repeated, as the timer ticked ever-closer toward zero.
The audience began to count down eagerly as the timer ticked down from ten seconds, the gap between each second feeling painfully long. In just moments, the horrors to come, those eagerly imagined atrocities of animation would become a reality.
The crowd let out a cheer, as the clock hit zero, and the screens changed over to a still from Dracula: Sovereign of the Damned that depicted Dracula eating a hamburger. The room echoed with the voice of the announcer, who let out a malevolent cackle before asking “I assume you are all connoisseurs of questionable content? […] Purveyors of Wandering Perspectives?”
With each pun she made, each loaded statement, the crowd let out a cheer that would shake the walls of a lesser venue.
“Are you ready for the cheesiest, most half-baked charcuterie of anime worth consuming?!” The crowd roared once again, and the announcer was all too eager to respond in turn as she cried out, “Then I welcome, once again, the master chef of the worst animation ever served!”
The lights dimmed, as the pre-recorded safety video kicked off. After the clip finished, Brian T. Price darted onto the stage, waving his arms and mugging for the cheering crowd. He grabbed the microphone and bellowed “Hello, Anime Boston!”, to rapturous cheers and applause.
Tonight, he was wearing a blue T-shirt with a ticket reminiscent of the Blockbuster Video logo, emblazoned with the words “Never Forget.”
As he looked upon the crowd, Price asked, “Who’s here for the very first time?” A number of cheers rose up throughout the audience, as he chuckled and responded with “Hand out the Pepto Bismol and Tums!” He paused, before inquiring once more, “Raise your hands if you were brought here by a friend or a loved one!”
He paused again, as hands darted up around the room. After looking upon the audience, Price deadpanned, “They are not your friends. They are about to perpetrate something very, very bad to you.”
He paced for a few moments, explaining his methodology for the newcomers. “But what is bad?” he mused. “I do not pick on something that is a matter of taste […] If I’m going to hurt someone’s feelings, I want them to feel it.”
The crowd tittered as he took a seat behind the table. “It’s 2022,” he noted, “Ten years on the number front, ten years since I worked for Blockbuster – July 2012, never forget […] and ten years since the debut of tonight’s showcase piece.”
He paused, amping up the audience, “Are you ready for pain?!”
“Are you ready for suffering?!”
“Are you ready for a case of indigestion that you may never forget?”
The screen cut over to the title of the feature tonight: the infamous 2012 CGI film, Foodfight! Given the theme of this year’s Anime Boston, the title seemed most apt.
The crowd erupted in applause, as Price bellowed “FOOOOODFIGHT!”, before adding that the film was the “biggest budget anything you will ever see me put forth on Bad, Anime! Bad!”
From here, he began to deliver a brief primer on the film, laced with his signature sense of biting snark. The crowd chuckled as he explained the film’s troubled development and oddball creative decisions. For example, its seemingly endless array of licensed food brands and mascots that permeated every frame.
“The total budget is loosely somewhere between $45 and $65 million,” Price noted, “a lot of money probably went to pay these corporate brands to use their brands and icons, and who knows how much of that ended up in someone’s nose?”
The audience chuckled at the remark, as Price stated that he would invoke “Rapsittie Street Kids Rules.” That is, “do not look up the film until it is over,” because doing so would ruin the surprise.
And with that, the film began with a flythrough of a poorly rendered supermarket, “your one-stop goods for housewares, groceries, and existential terror!”
The crowd watched intently, laughing, often cringing or groaning at the gangly, oddly-animated trainwreck that was unfolding before them, as Price began to dismantle each oddball scene or incoherent plot point with a well-placed barb.
Laughter rumbled through the chamber, as Price uttered an exasperated “but why?” to each nonsensical turn of events.
During the opening set-piece, in which Dex does battle with a band of marauding rats, Price paused to offer a comment on the still, in which one of the character’s mouths was wide open, as light escaped from it. “Who here has heard of the term ‘Flashlight mouth?’” He pointed at the scene, explaining, “if you’re thinking of going into making CGI, don’t do that. Look at the red one’s mouth. There’s almost as much luminescence in his mouth as there is outside.”
He restarted the video, adding that the film was “a master class in what not to do.”
The action scene that unfolded, which I could only assume was epic and exciting in somebody’s mind, could only be charitably called “incoherent chaos.” The room rang out in peals of laughter, as the scene reached its (supposedly) climactic conclusion, and the leader of the rat gang proceeded to… talk, for several minutes as he kept a gun trained on the film’s lead. Price chimed in, yelling “Why aren’t you shooting?!,” inspiring another pang of laughter as a flaccid slap fight unfolded on-screen before them.
The scene set the tone for the entire screening, as the crowd giggled and cackled at every animation oddity, every incoherent plot twist, and every line of oddball dialogue as Price interjected with snarky barbs and jokes whenever the opportunity arose.
All the while, it was clear that the audience had no clue as to what they got themselves into, as the veneer of denial began to wash away, and they began to slowly realize that, yes, the film is that bad.
That said, the process didn’t take long. Within minutes, the scene had shifted to an intimate dinner scene between lead character Dex (voiced by Charlie Sheen), and love interest Sunshine Sweetness (voiced by Hillary Duff). Price began to punctuate each double entendre, like “You know, Dex, you really warm my raisins” with a loud, nervous “Ummmm!”. The audience chuckled along uncomfortably. At a lull in the scene, Price paused the feed to note that, at the time of recording, Sheen was 35, and Duff was sixteen. He punctuated the fact with audible disgust, stating “I know it’s not intentional, but Ewwww!”
The audience laughed uncomfortably, as the video continued. Price stated, “I think we’re way past subtly, now,” as Sunshine scooped white soft-serve ice cream onto her finger and offered it to Charlie Sheen for a lick. The room could only cringe and laugh as they attempted to process the sheer levels of wrong they were witnessing.
Price, meanwhile, watched with a devilish smirk. Minutes later, he proclaimed, “Now, I feel like I should apologize for what you’re going to see, but I won’t,” as the film cut to a dreadful animation cycle of a character known only as “Brand-X Man” as he undulated, flopped, and staggered about. The audience howled with laughter at his every gesticulating motion, which Price punctuated the segment with “It’s as if he just came out of the Uncanny Valley, and now he just wants to sell you food!”
And to think, this was the high point of the film.
The audience jeered, laughed, and chuckled at the quickly disintegrating mess before them, as nonsensical cameos ran too long, fight scenes devolved into flailing moments of chaos, and characters made far too many lurid double entendres for a children’s film. All the while, Price would needle and poke at everything, from the camera work, to dialogue, to the idiocy of the plot.
This came to a head as the film’s antagonist, “Brand-X Lunchlady,” stepped into the frame. Price rose up, and bellowed, “Hail! People of Walmart! Your queen is among you!”, inspiring peals of laughter and applause from the audience.
This all came to a head at the film’s finale, when Sunshine Sweetness, who was apparently kidnapped at some point, entered the scene and was revealed to be the secret, addictive ingredient in Brand X’s products. At this point, Price opined, “Is [director Lawrence] Kasanoff trying to say that, in even the sweetest woman, beats a heart of darkness, or is it just high fructose corn syrup?”
As the film ended, the feed cut to a “Where are they now” video that matched the film’s many characters to their actors, set against Weird Al’s Eat It. The audience cackled and applauded gleefully at each reveal, with Hillary Duff, Wayne Brady, Ed Asner, and Christopher Lloyd receiving the biggest pops.
WIth the main event concluded, Price rose up and announced that it was door prize time. Everyone who entered the room received a raffle ticket, from which Price drew a winner. An individual who went by “William” from Massachusetts received an official plush toy modeled after Foodfight!’s main character, Dex Dogtective. “Treasure it for, eh… three minutes?” Price stated as he handed the doll to its new owner.
As the room settled down, Price proclaimed, “Now it’s time for the legacies!” He went column by column, gauging the audience’s reactions. Garzey’s Wing proved to be the overwhelming winner.
“Now who here hasn’t seen Garzey’s Wing,” Priced asked. A handful of people raised their hands, as he cackled. “You see, Garzey’s Wing has become sort of a thing around here, with Wandering Perspectives!”
He explained that the series is “an isekai show,” to chuckles from the audience, before asking “who here has heard of Yoshiyuki Tomino?”
The audience cheered, to which Price responded “you won’t be cheering for long,” adding that “this is one of those cases where a bad dub ABSOLUTELY helps.”
The room went dark again, as the now-familiar highlight reel for the first episode began to play. The room cheered and cackled at each oddball development, as Price interjected with wisecracks for each oddball occurrence. The presentation felt like a Greatest Hits of his barbs and jabs, as he stopped to introduce Wandering Perspective Man and needled the plot, calling it “a half-assed Escaflowne.”
After so many appearances, though, it seems that this highlight video overstayed its welcome. The response, especially in comparison to 2019, was far more muted, with fewer audible belly laughs.
That said, Price, himself didn’t seem to lose a step in the three years since Anime Boston 2019. The audience noticeably perked up as Price began to cut through the second and third episodes, showcasing every case of Wandering Perspective Man’s superpower, and mocking the never-ending stream of nonsensical dialogue.
He summed the entire experience up as he proclaimed “a duragural. At Gabujuju. An actual, skilled writer wrote that, meant it, animated it… and then it was brought to America where it was dubbed to English by someone who meant it.”
The abbreviated experience was punctuated by applause that rang through the ballroom. Price looked at the clock, and noted that there were twelve minutes left. He asked once more, “How many people are here for the first time?” He let out a cackle as hands shot up throughout the room. As the lights dimmed again, the animated visage of Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared onscreen.
It was the pilot video for Governator. The audience cheered and whooped as the video kicked in, letting out audible chuckles as Arnold walked into his half-assed Batcave, and clapping along to Black Eyed Peas’ Pump It as it kicked in as a background track.
Cheers and laughter erupted in unison, as the video ended and Arnold uttered a stoic “I’m back.”
Six minutes remained, as Price continued the parade of horribles with another concept piece, something that almost came to America. The room groaned as the pilot for Doozy Bots kicked on, and the familiar SD Gundam robots appeared on the scene. Price noted that “somehow, this less-than-four-minute pitch piece would have you dying of alcohol poisoning” in a hypothetical TVTropes drinking game.
The teaser ended with just minutes left in the event, and Price queued up one last torturous feature. It was the “Best of Bad Anime, Bad!” video that he had produced for the event’s tenth anniversary. Set to Stan Bush’s Touch, it was a compilation of countless reminders of the awful things that had been shown within the event’s four walls. The crowd rumbled with laughter throughout, erupting in loud pops when a clip from Harmony Gold’s Frankenstein featured Dr. Frankenstein turning a shotgun on himself, and again during Dracula: Sovereign of the Damned’s infamous Wheelchair Sword Fight scene.
Rapsittie Street Kids inspired an actual ovation throughout the audience.
As the clip concluded, Price rose up to thank the audience for coming, year after year. He punctuated the evening with a cheerful “Boston, we love you! Good night!”
As the lights came back on, and the audience began to leave, that familiar buzz of excitement could be felt once again. Price hadn’t lost a single step in the years since Bad Anime, Bad! 2019, and his return was a welcome homecoming for the Anime Boston crowd. The convention wouldn’t be the same without this annual cavalcade of crap, and it’s clear that it was well-missed by everyone, Price included.