#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.

#222 : Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Flashback 2012

“1,2,3,4. 1,2,3,4. 1,2,3,4… Ah 1! 2!” I love, love, love the original Macross. This was a cornerstone series, via Robotech and eventually the original, that I can say without question was the most important influence for my entire interest and fandom for Japanese animation. Macross was a series that defined anime in the 1980s, redefined the mecha genre in many ways and gave us a sci-fi epic that was an original to itself. All wrapped around one of the best love triangle’s in anime history and a lot of music as well. But what happened to our illustrious cast of heroes? The answer would be given in an OVA release, Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Flashback 2012.

MF2012_1Many examples of complied music video styled OVAs exist in plenty during the 1980s that were offshoots from original television productions. Obvious examples include Creamy Mami’s Lovely Serenade and Curtain Call and Mospeada’s Love Live Alive. Each example would follow this idea, or direction in their own way. Macross would be an obvious candidate for this listing as well as this show made the pop idol in anime a standard character stereotype. The song book of Lynn Minmei is synonymous to the backbone of Macross as a show. She was a pioneer in every respect, so where is her representation. Come 1987, the fifth anniversary of Macross’ debut on television, we would get that very answer.

MF2012_2Flashback 2012 in all respects is the final part in the original Macross trilogy of releases that tell the story of the SDF Macross’ fight against the invading Zentaedi. This is the swan song for the triptych of the Macross main cast, Hikaru Ichijo, Miss Hayase and Lynn Minmei. All in all the final wrap up and conclusion for Macross’ signature love triangle dynamic. This was to be the end… and yet sequels and spin-offs would follow much later, but in the classical sense of the original, this was it. 1982 brought Macross to TV, 1984 would bring the Do You Remember Love? blockbuster film and finally in 1987 Flashback 2012. And as a fan I am really disappointed in Flashback 2012. Why?… well… maybe I had my expectations set really high.

MF2012_3The TV Series was a well done affair most of the time, the movie is too me, basically perfect in terms of visual expression and Flashback 2012 brings some new footage of Minmei, Hikaru and Misa including a full animated version of the song Tenshi no Eno Gu (Angel’s Paints) split in half for some reason. We get to see the new Macross life off for outer space with Misa as captain. Hikaru is still a fighter jock, a pilot’s pilot and Minmei’s career seems to be doing quite well. All three meet up again, but this is all for new material, not very much I must say. So what fills the majority of the half hour running time? Compiled footage from the TV Series and the movie over Minmei’s hit songs. Not a bad idea, but the editing and addition of early computer effects make the whole production kind of awkward. This may have been state of the art at the time, but it sometimes ends up looking a little funky around the edges.

Again as a fan I expected something a little more higher echelon in terms of a grand finale. But in the end all we have is Flashback 2012, which does in fact close the original Macross storyline and gives us a tribute of sorts to the music of Lynn Minmei. … If only I was in charge, things would have been different… if only…

#218 : Magical Angel Creamy Mami: Curtain Call

Magical Angel Creamy Mami and music video styled OVAs, haven’t we seen this before? 1985 would see the release of the Lovely Serenade OVA and it must have done fairly decently because the following year we would get yet another packaged collection. 1986’s Curtain Call is in some ways more of the same, but there are some differences for sure this time around.

CMCC_1Beginning with new animation, which incorporates occasional collage techniques for backgrounds, we join Yuu/Mami in the usual light styled pop music that when no one notices I am sure you get up to dance along to… I do sometimes. After that we continue with loads of random clips from previous incarnations of Creamy Mami interspersed over music again, very cliche. Except this time the emphasis is on instrumentals. This could work well for karaoke, if only the lyrics were available for the singing. … Honestly though, I miss hearing the character’s singing voices.

CMCC_2This changes midway through where we find not Mami in the studio laying down a track, but her rival Megumi instead. Now that’s a nice touch of gratitude. True she may be a little selfish and hot headed at times, but Megumi is also a talented chanteuse. We return back again to the instrumental route including a funny montage of Megumi slapping scenes towards Shingo, her love interest and the record producer for both her and Mami. That poor boy has had a hand in the face way too many times… one of the best running gags from Creamy Mami.

CMCC_3Pen-ultimately we lead to a live concert featuring both Mami and Megumi doing a duet with many of the other main characters playing the instruments… since when did Toshio learn guitar and Midori the drums? Does not matter in the slightest, this is a great showing both in terms of spectacle and solidarity between both of the pop princesses. Mami even sheds the magic to allow her true self, Yuu, enjoy some love from the fans and show the talent is within her no matter her guise.

If you are looking for a plot here, forget it. Remember, this is all about the music, not a story, so you will have to find another Creamy Mami OVA that has that in focus (Long Goodbye is a good choice and I still need to see that one!). Honestly I preferred Lovely Serenade more for that fact that it included singing, but in truth both that OVA and Curtain Call can function more as display material at a store, or even a convention then say general home viewing. But what Curtain Call has that makes it a recommended title in the end is that awesome final concert scene. That was a welcome surprise!