#147c : Botchan (1986)

I never knew Rodney Dangerfield was in an anime? In truth he wasn’t, but in the story of Botchan, our main protagonist literally, “Gets no respect”… except for a couple key allies. Based off of the classic novel by Natsume Sōseki, Botchan would have a couple of adaptations in the anime world including this two episode part of the 1986 Animated Classics of Japanese Literature, which is what will be discussed here.

CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 100Considered a classic in Japan and often read during one’s school days, Botchan was not part of my curriculum here in the States. I got to read The Great Gatsby and Death of a Salesman, but no Botchan. Thankfully the book is readily available as well as many public domain sources online… but we get an alternative as anime fans. Actually two! Botchan also exists as an animated TV special from 1980 as well as this 1986 version from the meta series Animated Classics of Japanese Literature. Of the many episodes and stories I have explored from this series, Botchan stands out as one of the few comedic stories. Many of the Animated Classics of Japanese Literature adaptations are dramas in one shape of another and Botchan is definitely a breathe of funny fresh air.

CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 100Botchan by the way is our main protagonist. From what I can tell this name is more like a title like ‘young master’ so who knows what his real name is as I never seem to catch anything of it from the two episode run. Kind of like The Dude from the Big Lebowski? Botchan is a recent graduate with an education in physics who has been offered a teaching position at a middle school far off in some backwoods town. He leaves his native Tokyo and his trusted family servant to try out a different life so to speak. He arrives, finds the school’s teaching staff interesting (giving them all nicknames), enjoys swimming in the hot springs when no one is looking and likes eating his share of tempura at dinner all to the dismay of his students who constantly ridicule this rookie teacher. Botchan tries to bring up their shenanigans only to find difficulties with the senior school staff.

CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 100Questions arise, who does one trust and why are certain senior staff members extremely unhelpful? Botchan is a great tale of bringing to the light the injustices of nepotism and snobbery. Certain times in life we often wish we could stand up for something that seems very wrong and face those who believe themselves to be worthy of setting the rules to favor certain outcomes. With Botchan we have this played out in a very humerous way. Often times we ask is revenge best served as a cold dish? Sometimes, but enjoying shaved ice with a friend and ally can be better! (it’s part of the story trust me).

“How ya doing there Dude?” “Not too good man.” “One of those days huh?” “Yeah!”

#231 : Purple Eyes in the Dark

Another music video styled OVA? Haven’t we seen enough of these already? And yet this time, it’s different. More akin to an art book set in motion, the release of Purple Eyes in the Dark was not based off of an already established anime like many other music styled OVAs. Only the completed manga was what we had to work with here. Kind of a strange choice to only show a bunch of pretty shojo imagery with a couple full on animated sequences over a selection of pop styled music don’t you think, instead of a conventional story? And in yet from another point of view, talk about a creative idea!

PEitD_1How ironic that a full feature with a plot and story was not conceived for this project. From some basic research about the manga, I think there was a missed opportunity here. An average teenage girl who has a particular birthmark gets triggered when angry and turns into a big cat, a leopard I believe, and in the process her eyes turn purple… when in the dark. Oh wow, so that’s where the title came from. Kind of like The Incredible Hulk meets Blue Sonnet, or Baoh? Release the beat within! This could have been a great angst action drama mixed with some romance as well, imagine the possibilities. All we got instead was music set to a majority of static images. Maybe budget was an issue, or maybe the creators wanted to try something different? If one is desperate to watch a full series with a plot never fear, a live action drama was made in the 1990s.

PEitD_2Now for the fun part, a majority of the music used for Purple Eyes in the Dark was sang in English, very cosmopolitan and international… and convenient for English speaking fans including me! It’s hard to say more without actually watching the OVA in full. A visual art book set in motion that needs a VCR, LaserDisc player, or whatever digital media device you choose, Purple Eyes in the Dark is like an art piece that isn’t artsy with a high brow attitude, but is instead pop culture for the masses filled with lots of period style. I call for a toast to celebrate this OVA which honors the visual cues linked to the art of the original manga. It’s basic simplicity and appealing to the eyes and that’s all Purple Eyes in the Dark needs to be because that is all we got to work with here.

10 Ladies Who Defined Mecha Excellence… 80s Edition (Part 2)

Hey you pilot that giant robot like a girl! Once considered a “man’s job”, like several other jobs, the occupation of being a mecha pilot has over the years shown that skill and finesse are not confined to one’s gender. “Anything you can do I can do better, I can do anything better than you, No you can’t… oh hell yes I CAN!”

Let us now pay tribute to a selection of ladies who are some of the best giant robot pilots EVER! And yeah, it’s an all 80s cast… as usual… you know me, no matter what year it is, to me it can still be 1987, or 1982, or 85, 89, 86… etc. etc. A small note, this will be a listing of pilots I know from shows I have seen. This means in the future I can create additional entries once I become aware of even more talented pilots. For this second round I pick…


Sara Yuki
Dancougar

ME_Sara

The Cyber Beast team’s only female member and pilot of the Land Cougar. Haunted by the love for her ex who defected early on to the enemy, Sara is perhaps the most complex character in all of Dancougar. Also has some of the best 80s hair in my opinion!


Haruka Kaga/Lisa
Armored Fleet Diarugger XV/Voltron

ME_Haruka

Piloting one of the submarine like mechs, the Aquatic Space Explorations Prober, that is Dairugger’s/Voltron’s right thigh, Haruka/Lisa is a valuable member of the Keats/Sea Team.


Kazumi Amano
Aim For the Top! Gunbuster

ME_Kazumi

The idol of the academy and the most talented senior admired by everyone who looks to be the obvious shoo-in for the Gunbuster project. The coach thinks so as well and decides to pair her up with a novice freshman, which at first seems a little ironic.


Iczer-1 & Nagisa
Fight! Iczer-One

ME_Izcer1_Nagisa

Meet the renegade Cthulhu who has more interest in saving the Earth and it’s people instead of invasion and conquering and her partner, a fairly typical high school girl. Much like a call to action, it is Iczer-1 who brings the hero out of the timid Nagisa.


Houquet et Rose/Rook Bartley
Genesis Climber Mospeada/Robotech

ME_Houquet

A streetwise girl on a motorcycle who is part of a rag tag group of rebels trying to get to Reflex Point, the home base of the invading alien race the Inbit/Invid. Just be careful during the journey when you bump into your own hometown and see an old boyfriend and your mom.


Ikuuru
Dragon’s Heaven

ME_Iruuku

The things you find in a desert on a random day… A wandering nomadic girl happens to find a fossil of a warrior mech, Shaian, and quickly becomes great friends with the sentient wonder. Soon they fight Shaian’s old rival together and live happily ever after. How cute!


Mia Alice
Dangaioh

ME_Mia

Mia was the first Dangaioh pilot to wake up and be put to the test of demonstrating her skills. She is the most quiet and gentile member of the Dangaioh team, but also the most capable of demonstrating leadership. Her superpower is that of moving energy which can act as a shield.


Galaria (Garalia) Nyamhee
Aura Battler Dunbine

ME_Galaria

A talented and promising native Byston Well pilot who seems to always have a grudge on her shoulder. She is a strong feminist who believes that because of her gender she is always being overlooked for promotion… or perhaps part of it is her personal frustration?


Mary Angel/Marie Crystal
Super Dimension Calvary Southern Cross/Robotech

ME_Mary

The tough as nails ace pilot for the Tactical Armored Space Corps whose no nonsense attitude and approach gives her a reputation of being an ice queen. Yet beneath the exterior she is very vulnerable and never lets that get in the way of her duty… except for that one time.


Athena Henderson
Super Dimension Century Orguss

ME_Athena

The emerging young ace pilot for Chiram Army who finds a rival in the supposed Singularity, or as the English dub called him, the Differentiated Idioblast? The only catch is the fact that this man that she hates so much is her long lost father… wait, what! NO!! This can’t be true, NO!!!

MyFather

to be continued…