#217 : Bavi Stock

Time for Action! And now yet another OVA oddity from that little studio I love so much from way back when. Kaname Production had their name identified with several productions during the 1980s including: Birth, Windaria, The Humanoid, Leda: Fantastic Adventure of Yohko and Dream Dimension Hunter Fandora to name a few. Now it is time to check out the two part action packed adventure known as Bavi Stock. Released in 1985 along with the brilliant Yohko, I had no expectation in regards to Bavi Stock, except a few screenshots to set a general idea of the setting. Overall I liked it, but found it a little confusing.

Bavi_1This first episode left me scratching my head. What did I just watch? We first see a member of the GPP (Kate), this is some kind of galactic police force, rescue a mute girl (Mooma) who has been captured by a renegade esper, Lady Lus Mila and her android companion, Eyesman. Then after getting birthday wishes Kate is asked to bust a guy out of prison who happened to be charged with murder. This fellow is named Bavi Stock (hence the title) and along with him we also add his boxing trainer, Sammy, who has plans to enter a hovercraft style race, even though he also is serving a life sentence (did he have his own method to getting out?). Upon returning to GPP headquarters we find it has been blown up, sadness. And then rejoicing again as Sammy prepares to enter the race while celebrating Kate’s birthday. Talk about a dichotomy. Then we meet up with Lady Lus Mila and Eyesman again… are they planning to enter this race as well?

CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v62), quality = 100Holy cow, talk about all over the place, I hope this second episode irons out some of these character’s pasts, or reason for being in this show? But first, the hovercraft race, which reminds me of the Star Wars pod race. Now onto episode two where Bavi, Kate, Sammy and Mooma are living together as a surrogate family. This one begins more comically and the visuals look a tad downgraded, or perhaps different from the the first episode. Thankfully some back story starts to emerge for Bavi and Mooma throughout this second go around. FINALLY! Add to that a treasure hunt on another planet that, as we add back in a little Star Wars, reminds me of meeting the Ewoks from Return of the Jedi. Now we have cuddly teddy bears to add as well that can communicate with us! This is one crazy OVA overall, but when looked at from another point of view, it was kind of fun. This is a B-Grade release for sure… maybe C, D… I leave that up to you.

Bavi_3This is by no means exactly like Kaname’s 1986 OVA release, The Humanoid, but if I could pair this with another Kaname release I would go with this combination. Both have over the top plots too big for their respective releases, not enough information to really understand the full picture, occasional comedic banter and characters that you enjoy and come to love. ‘Bad’ anime literally, but entertaining enough to enjoy despite the flaws. I actually welcome titles like this in my search through the OVA bins of lost titles as these have as much value to me as the bigger masterpieces. I had odd tastes I guess? Plus it’s a Kaname anime and no matter what I stick up for their catalog of work. And if I havd to choose between Bavi Stock and The Humanoid, I would go with the later. Why? COFFEE!

A big thank you to my friends at Kingmenu Subs for helping with this release, it was help on my journey here! (I never thought I would ever see this title subtitled… never say never)

#8b : Angel’s Egg

For my original entry for Angel’s Egg, click here.

Sometimes you have to recover your tracks in order to move forward. In terms of classic anime and in particular, Angel’s Egg, I have a little more to say…

Angel’s Egg was a one of my earliest entrees here at The Classic Anime Museum and it has been one of my more viewed entries, even receiving reference links. I am proud that in particular that Angel’s Egg is linked in some way with this site. I love this film, I love the atmosphere it projects, I love the art and I consider it a masterpiece of 80s anime cinema and one of Mamoru Oshii’s best works of all time. It’s not an easy film to watch since it is more symbolic and esoteric, but in terms of great film making it is one animated feature that is distinctly it’s own in terms of any category you throw at it.

AE_21Much is written on director Mamoru Oshii’s struggle with faith and the all supposed Christian symbology. But if you take a step back, isn’t much of Christian imagery borrowed from other more ancient, or pagan references? Could these references also elude to Eastern spiritual practices as well, or another alternative? The vast open space of Angel’s Egg makes this a film that can have much in terms of interpretation, which leaves it as perhaps the most profound and powerful films ever made in the Japanese animation industry during the decade of the 1980s, if not all time. Assuming one’s interpretation, or an accepted standard is one thing, but sometimes when other opinions are offered as well, they are just as valid.

AE_22Propose now another possible metaphor for the piece of art that is Angel’s Egg. Could this be a film about the fragility of holding to the material world. To quote from the Bible “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth, and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal.” I had to look up the passage as I am not a perfect Bible scholar, it’s from Matthew 6:19. Or if we philosophize from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure with none other than Socrates where we notice that we are “Only Dust in the Wind”, and “Like the Sands of time, so are the days of our lives.”… With this in mind we fall for the greatest illusion that what is material is eternal, which of course is not true. It is human to mourn the loss of what is seen and touchable, but to consider it permanent is a grave mistake.

AE_23Solid structure, matter and form are standards that we often base entire civilizations, relationships and lives on. Yet this is the most unstable force in the universe. This makes me think of the relationship in astrology between the Moon and Saturn and the pair of signs associated with them, Cancer and Capricorn. Both are opposites, yet mirror images of each other dealing with growth and decay, love and austerity, protection and isolation. Is it a time to be sentimental, or perhaps hard nosed. We need both sides, but when one side of the extreme takes on a priority there is imbalance. This is not a bad thing because after all we as humans get caught up in the games and circumstances that we deem as life. At times we crest, but soon fall. We also hit rock bottom too and find the strength to rebuild by knowing what has passed can’t ever return.

AE_24These concepts are the basic dynamic of Angel’s Egg. The girl, very innocent and naive holds like a mother the giant egg she possesses. The object is in every way her identity. She brings it with her, treats it kindly and never lets it leave her sight much like a cautious mother. Enter then the young man with the cross like stick, or weapon, or whatever it is. He becomes the catalyst, a source for change who cruelly breaks and destroys this precious object. The girl whose whole existence in life has now been destroyed in the end destroys herself, unable to find any reason to live beyond sticking to what she only knew. It is a sad end, but we all fall down from time to time and we mostly see something outside of the job, relationship, situation, or loss that has occurred in our lives. We put on another hat to keep going with life because we still feel that life still has something left to provide for us, despite the pain and sorrow.

This year of 2020 made me think of this interpretation particularly. It has been painful for many of us dealing with loss as well as uncertainty. Those who hold so dearly to rigid ideas are struggling the most to control a situation that seems so random. I hope you are all doing well despite the times.

#215c : The Transformers (Season 2)

This could be the quintessential season of The Transformers, the height of it all. The classic that many would put on a pedestal and say this is the definition of what the original G1 series represented. Season two commenced in the fall of 1985 adding the original 16 episodes to the new 49 created to allow The Transformers to be shown in syndicated markets weekdays. That’s 65 if we do the math, a lot of episodes, but those were the rules back then for broadcasting in the States. This was the season and year that I first saw The Transformers and as part of my after school activities, I included this daily ritual like clockwork.

TF_S2_1Season one was a trial run to get The Transformers started which now brings us to the newer, bigger, more action packed, super freakin’ rad season two. … oh the marketing speak… Season two took what worked for the first go round and added many new elements with additional characters being the obvious one with a new line of toys needing promotion. Second was a more expansive presence with more inclusion of sites across Earth’s globe and at times other planets besides Cybertron. …and don’t forget time travel! Plus, the mythology of who The Transformers are and where they came from was greatly amplified. And we find out there are female Autobots as well… so how do robots procreate? Yet much was the same with Optimus Prime and Megatron still leading their respective factions and all our familiar faces from before still from time to time make appearances.

TF_S2_2Interesting note is that this was the first grouping of episodes to be redistributed back to Japan. All 65 episodes were packaged as Fight! Super Robot Lifeform Transformers while renaming characters to their native Takara names and having a Japanese dub. I consider this similar to the 1960s when British bands came over to America to play rock n’ roll to the native audience. America re-conceptualizes Japanese toys having it brought back to Japan. Japan’s version had a nice opening theme too. Speaking of opening themes, season two has the best (my opinion) in terms of the musical arrangement and animation. It’s iconic and definitive! The Transformers may have debuted in 1984, but for 1985 it exploded and for good reason, it had a very strong animated presence with more action and adventure than before.

TF_S2_3Now here is something interesting… season two is the only season without a proper beginning and ending storyline. Every other season in their own way do, which leaves me baffled. Perhaps since these were included with the season one episodes these new 49 are somehow to be shoehorned in-between the original sixteen? The Transformers never had a proper serial story line, like many shows then, and yes some episodes are multi-parters, or lead into others, but there is really no consistency for season two. You could theoretically jump around, but mind when you get to certain places where I mentioned previously when there was some sort of continuum. It’s like the ultimate grab bag season, choose your own adventure so to speak, where you can pick and decide which way to go… of course that could be true for most of The Transformers? I guess having the higher episode count gave room for more random stories ad creativity, which is what makes this season really fun.

TF_S2_4I was lucky as a kid to have a VCR in the family and was able to record many episodes from this season on a blank tape. City of Steel, Dinobot Island, Part 2, Enter the Nightbird and Microbots were the standout episodes mixed with She-Ra and ThunderCats as well as one-offs from M.A.S.K. and Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors becoming one of my golden treasure tapes that I played endlessly over and over again for years. They may not have been the best of the season, or the worst either, but they are a quartet that I have seen so many times that I could watch them blindfolded and on mute. The Transformers were a key element of my childhood, along with many other shows that attracted me to not only science fiction and animation, but also the stylings and talent of the Japanese animation industry. And although a portion of the episodes of this season were also animated in Korea, including a portion of season three and all of season four, The Transformers would eventually lead me down the rabbit hole of Japan’s proper animated work. My fandom and this site owe a major debt to this show. Thank you universe for me being at the right place and the right time to experience season two of The Transformers!

Season 1
Season 2
Season 3
Season 4