Category: Filmmakers Page 1 of 4

The lesson I take from all this? Cutting out author inserts makes everything better.

I’ve been on a weird 90s Chicago kick recently, and gobbled down two films that put that time and place lovingly on display, so I thought I’d share them all with you to fill my article quota before April kicks off. Here ya go!

The Relic (1997)

Watching this after I threw away the source material angrily in disgust, the film version of Relic thankfully excises the book’s central flaw and doesn’t overstay its welcome. Reading the Relic novel is sort of like watching one of the poorer SNL sketch spinoff movies, where about half-an-hour in you suddenly realize “Oh my god… they don’t have a movie!” There’s a maybe 200-page plot crammed into an almost 500-page book, and so to pad out pages Preston and Child will just repeat information over and over again.

So, to give an example, first we’ll have a scene where some schmuck wanders off and gets killed. Then we’ll have a scene where someone finds the body and goes “Omigod! Someone got killed!” Then we’ll have a scene where the police are cordoning off the crime scene and gabbing to one another “Hey, you see that someone got killed? Poor schmuck.” Then we’ll have a scene where the rubberneckers are gabbing “Did you hear? Someone got killed!” Then we’ll have a scene where the investigator characters show up and discuss how someone got killed. Then we’ll start banging our heads against the table as we realize that about a hundred pages have passed and nothing has been established that we didn’t already know from the god-damn back cover.

Let the Dream Stay a Dream

Warning: This review contains mild spoilers and discusses rape and sexual assault. Seriously, you have been warned.

I Dream of Mimi is an OVA that, while not exactly a big hit in the West, has gained a cult status due to it producing a lot of GIFs which have wound up on various corners of the internet. Even if you’ve never seen an episode or read the original manga, you’ve probably seen one of the GIFs if you hang out in anime-friendly online spaces. I found it while listening to Future Funk, similar to how I found Call Me Tonight. And from the GIFs I gathered that Mimi had that goldilocks combination of cuteness and lewdness that I love so much in my adult anime. Given this, I quickly tracked the OVA down and gave it a watch.

So how was it? Awful. The answer is awful, but it wasn’t awful in the sense of making me uncomfortable. While there were certainly some eyebrow-raising moments in Mimi, it’s free of sexual violence and maintains a whimsical, charming tone. No, I Dream of Mimi made me angry. Angry to the point where whatever charm and cuteness the series had only made things more irritating. Angry to the point where I wanted to reach into my phone and strangle the protagonist. Angry to the point where when I was finished, I thought to myself “What was even the point of that?” But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Cthulhuan Cuteness

Warning: This review contains mild spoilers and discusses rape and sexual assault. And also tentacles. Seriously, you have been warned.

Wicked City was my first proper exposure to adult anime, but it was also unintentional. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I watched it, and while I was old enough and mature enough to not freak out at what I saw, I wasn’t honest enough with myself yet to seek out more adult anime. That would come later, well after I’d left college. During this time I had discovered Future Funk, and through my favorite Future Funk Youtube channel, Artzie Music, I’d found one song in particular that I loved: “Confessions” by Sixtroke. Like most Artzie Music videos, the music came with a classic 80s anime GIF, but with this video I didn’t recognize where the GIF came from. Curious, I looked up the anime and found that it was a hentai horror short film named Call Me Tonight.

Maybe years before I would have left things at that, but then, at that time and place, there was something inside me that was curious, a side of me that was only just starting to bloom now that I was living and working on my own. So I watched Call Me Tonight, and I loved it! This would mark the start of my full and proper exploration into kinky anime, and as such, Call Me Tonight still holds a special place in my heart. However, given how my opinion of Wicked City soured since my first viewing, I had to wonder if Call Me Tonight would still hold up. I had to see it again.

A Cup of Cheer, For You

It’s December, and you know what that means. It’s finally socially acceptable to watch Christmas movies. Some might find it weird how there are whole pieces of media that we only consume during a specific time of year, but I say that this self-imposed limitation gives us a chance to rewatch stuff we wouldn’t normally otherwise. Lord knows I wouldn’t have watched It’s A Wonderful Life enough times to have it practically memorized if I’d been able to pop it into the DVD player whenever. And one day, when I have my own family, I’ll have my own set of DVDs (or whatever form of physical media we’ll have in the wake of the apocalypse) to wheel out every December. Until then, as I spend yet another Christmas in the middle of nowhere, with no company save that which I can purchase at my local Baskin-Robbins, I’ll be checking out Christmas media I’ve never had the chance to watch. Like these two flicks.

Tentacular Terribleness

Warning: This review contains mild spoilers and discusses rape and sexual assault. And also tentacles. Seriously, you have been warned.

Japan has a (somewhat unfair) association with rapacious tentacle monsters in the Western popular consciousness. I say somewhat unfair because while tentacle hentai is certainly a thing, to associate it with Japan as a whole is rather like associating America with Dinosaur erotica, given the sheer plethora of it published on Amazon. Even if Chuck Tingle is popular enough to achieve recognition outside of literotic circles, the fantasy of fucking (or being fucked by) a dinosaur is still a pretty niche one in America. And yet, this image of tentacle porn being mainstream and distinctly Japanese persists, which raises the question of “Why?”.

Part of the answer is simply that if you associate an entire country, culture, or race with something “weird” or “unnatural”, it’s easier to other them. But as for the question of why Japan and tentacles specifically, the explanation lies with a single piece of adult anime, that being Urotsukidoji: Legend of the Overfiend.

This work was simply scandalous. Getting an NC-17 rating in the US and making the Video Nasty list in the UK, parents were utterly baffled, because how could this movie possibly be adult-oriented when it was animated? Everyone knows that animation is only for children! But Urotsukidoji defied everything your no-fun parents told you about cartoons, which made watching it an act of rebellion. As such, the anime quickly spread like the penis tentacles of its titular Overfiend, to wreak havoc on the peace of mind of parents throughout the 90s.

I myself was too young to experience this wave of popularity. I do remember at least being old enough to hear its name in hushed whispers as part of the scary, horny anime you could find at Blockbuster, but I was far too young (and honestly too disinterested) to try and watch it myself. And yet, as someone who considers himself a kinky anime nerd, I rather owe it to myself to give Urotsukidoji a watch. So, does this anime deserve its title of classic, or has it aged as poorly as most overly edgy media from the 90s?

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