Another "dust collector" tape, one pulled from so far down the back of a video lending library that even the wrestling tapes were closer to the action. And this title is distributed by Animania, who I've never heard of. Still, the thrill of finding an old title is pretty exciting... sort of makes up for the fact that a lot of these oldies aren't actually that good.
His name is Guy, his primary ability is to look cool. Which of course, in anime terms, means he's a skilled fighter and calm under pressure. Her name is Raina, she has pink hair and her primary ability is to admire Guy, get rescued by Guy and provide some energy while Guy is busy being cool. She's also allowed to fire high powered firearms at people because, in anime, that counts as womans work. They're cruising through space in this sci-fi world looking to get rich.
Their first attempt leads them to a prison planet, complete with a brutal depraved warden and sadistic guards. What they find there will forever change Guy, which is good because he'll need every trick to survive. Their second attempt leads them to discover that a religion, preaching a message of peace, isn't being entirely honest. And this isn't a faith based on fraud, it actually does have a real power behind it. In other words they find lots of trouble... but not a whole heap of cash.
The Anime Encyclopedia (Clements & Mc. Carthy) informs me that this series is simply called Guy in Japan and it has only two episodes, which are joined together to make the movie I borrowed. This tape is called "Guy: Awakening of the Devil" but was apparently "Guy: Double Target" in America. I was mostly interested in if there was more of it, but apparently not. The box sort of suggests there was since it says, "Join Guy & Raina in their first ADULTS ONLY adventures...".
So... Is it any good. Well, it certainly isn't original that's for sure. Guy is uber cool, like many adventurers before him. His partner is drawn straight from the "girls with guns" genre. You really get the feeling you've seen them both before. Still, it's not a bad duo and despite the shallow character depth it is reasonably easy to be interested in how they'll escape the latest threat. And they certainly seem to have a talent for getting into trouble. Although, while it is suggested they're competent, we don't get to see much of the planning or preparation to support this. Indeed their schemes are a little simplistic... but then these are 40 minute OAV's I guess.
Likewise the plots themselves are awfully familiar. A brutal warden treating her prisoners like slaves, a hokey religion being a front for a darker purpose. That's about as traditional as you can get. It spices this up by adding two elements. The first is some sex and the second is extreme violence. It's quite surprising to have what looks like a reasonably likeable and lively pair get drawn into a story that spends a lot of time focusing on explicit sexual content. It's not really required by the story either... I guess the creators got a bit worried about whether they had enough content to actually sell.
The other element is monstrous violence... actually make that monster violence. Even though it's a high tech world the dominant power turns out to be monstrous creatures. In the first episode it's a scientific effect that, for no logical reason, is able to turn men into monsters. In the second it's summoned monsters and ancient relics that become monsters. It's sort of disappointing for Raina, since all of them seem to be immune to high tech weaponry, but Guy actually gets powered up (in another unlikely sequence) to the point where he can take them head on. Mind you there's lots of other people who get caught in the crossfire and, like the sex, the violence is pretty explicit. Lots of blood, squelchy organs and corpses left behind.
The strange thing is it sort of works. The core duo is actually reasonably interesting, the monsters are viable enemies and the violence even manages to add a sense of gravity at times. Admittedly you have to wind your brain down to neutral, wind the windows up on your sensitivity, and just go with the flow to achieve this feat. It's also really obvious they've stolen influences from everywhere else and that most of those probably did a better job. It's certainly nothing special, I wouldn't hunt it out, but at least it was reasonably watchable.
It also gets bonus points for using the term "viscera" and giving me a laugh out loud moment. The fiendish priests of a fake god, readying their deadly magics, threateningly say, "Prepare to die most unpleasantly!". So very scary.
Once again it's old, the character designs (and monsters) are far from original and the technical design is largely absent. It also has the reasonably heavy shadows and overly complex linework, which often just looks messy and chaotic, typical of this period. But like the show itself it still sort of works. The characters express themselves pretty well, he's cool, she's lively, and some of the action still works. It feels like there might actually have been some money behind this. And things go boom, or squelch, in a relatively satisfying way. Heck, even the voiceovers are alright. The sound seemed very variable though, so it was a bit of a pain to listen to. The music was eminently forgettable light pop.
This anime follows a male and female duo, meant to be competent adventure seekers, through two adventures. They're relatively likeable, but the show is highly derivative. Sex, monstrous beings and huge helpings of violence seem to be intended to make up for a lack of character and story. Strangely enough, despite it being trashy, I found it reasonably watcheable. The animation is older, but given it has OAV level money behind it there's the occassional decent sequence.