In 1998 I sat watching the Prince of Space episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. I heard Tom Servo ask if the Satellite of Love’s weekly experiment was going to be a “hyper-violent porn cartoon” and immediately flashed back to the Guyver. And there goes the last otaku in the room. He was willing to put up with me until now, but that one was just over the line. Bye, dude! ‘Least he left before I started talking about Evangelion.
But first: based off a long-running, serialized manga series with some of the same characters and a similar name, Guyver: Out of Control took a long time to reach the U.S. But when it got here, in the dark year of 1993, it spread far and wide. Like a tentacle monster, it crept into the orifices of North American geekdom and, for better or worse, colored a generation’s perceptions of what anime was and could be.
Here’s something else from the Things That Scarred Me in Childhood Department. Keep your Disney and your Dreamworks. Screw Pixar and, apart from the teams responsible for Animaniacs andBatman: The Animated Series, screw Warner Brothers animation too. In my eyes, none of them are fit to lick the boots of Rankin/Bass Productions.
Originally formed in the early 1960s, the studio achieved lasting fame with a little 1964 stop-motion Christmas special/gigantic commercial for General Electric called Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer. Over the next decade, Rankin/Bass churned out Christmas scholck like clockwork, and their most famous specials (Rudolph, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Frosty the Snowman) are still in syndication today. The secret to their success was outsourcing, making Rankin/Bass one of the earliest American companies to exploit the third world for their own gain.
Thankfully, at the time, “the third world” pretty much included Japan. So when Rankin/Bass began to branch out into more traditional cartoon fare it found a ready partner in future-House of Dragonball Toei Animation. This partnership produced a crop of feature-length cartoons still remembered by all the good little children of the 70s and 80s…because they scared the shit out of us. Continue reading The Last Unicorn (1982)→
Forget Akira. Forget Ghost in the Shell. Forget Evangelion, Gundam and GTO. Forget all the titles otaku mention when they grip you by the lapels and insist “You have to see this!” This was my introduction to anime and I found it in the same place I found everything else: my long-vanished, small town video store. And like many a film that traumatized me in early childhood, I’d managed to almost completely forget about Sea Prince and the Fire Child.
Then little over a month ago my best friend’s wife and I got to talking about movies that traumatized us as children. Despite growing up half a continent away, both of us managed to find this film at exactly the same time. As usual, sheremembered, I repressed, with the repression manifesting itself as an irrational hatred of The Little Mermaid I could never really explain…until now. Continue reading Sea Prince and the Fire Child (1981)→