Mike wonders aloud which anime would be a good fit for the prestigious Criterion Collection.
Galaxy Fraulein Yuna Returns
Never, in my whole life, have I writhed in so much agony as when I was watching this OAV series. By the end of the tape, I was such a twitching, incoherant mess of a human being that you probably could have performed oral surgery without anisthetic and I wouldn't have noticed. After all was said and done, the dubbed version of Galaxy Fraulein Yuna Returns easily makes my list of the ten worst domestic releases in history.
I had never seen the two previous Yuna releases, and if I had, I probably would have just sent the screener for this tape back to ADV unopened for the sake of my own health. There are some things that should just never leave Japan, let alone be dubbed into English. I really can't imagine this being dubbed well, but the dub of Sailor Moon was more pleasant than this. I'm serious.
Plot? Well, Yuna is a schoolgirl/idol singer/intergalactic crime fighter (duh...) who really really really loves everyone. You know how Japanese idol singers always tell the audience those drippy "I love you, you're all so wonderful" speaches? Well, she really means that. And she treats everyone -- even her enemies -- living by that credo. To add some spice, she's living with an android with the appetite of A-ko (an anime that this one does seem to borrow some feeling from).
In this 3-part OAV (all on the same tape, mercifully), a group of three sisters is hell-bent on stopping Yuna and taking over the world (duh...). She eventually wins over the youngest sister (and the first to attack), and teaches her the ins and outs of being a materialistic valley girl: high school, friends, and shopping. Of course, the girl, after being mistreated by her sisters for so long, is a total social leper, but Yuna is determined to fix that. The problem? The other sisters are armed with ultra-powerful robots.
The first episode begins with Yuna singing in concert and her old friend Paulina (read: enemy from previous episodes turned friend) dropping by. The two sing what is probably the world's worst duet ever, dubbed so badly that it's questionable whether they were even singing the right song. This song makes the Viz dub cast of Ranma ½ singing that song at the Christmas Party in "Tendo Family Christmas Scramble" sound like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Don't believe me? Here, take a listen for yourself.
(RealAudio 5.0 non-streaming... it's legal under the fair use clause of the Berne Convention. If you don't have RealPlayer, go here.)
In all fairness, there are occasional inspired moments in both the anime and the dub. The mecha (supposedly by someone that worked on Gundam, but he wasn't listed in the credits) look pretty cool, and the opening certainly isn't bad. (One line, "Bitter, party of one, your table's ready!" actually made me laugh. Maybe I was desperate... I dunno.) The problem is that these good qualities are so few and far-between (and ultimately, forgettable) and that the rest of the anime makes me want to stick my head in a vice and just TWIST. The opening duet is fun to watch if you're in the right company... the kind that would laugh at a Wesley Willis CD or an Ed Wood movie. It's got the same irresistable excitement as lingering around a really bad car accident.
Overall (dub) : F
+ The opening and the mechas are cool.
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