Midnight Panther OAV
Through their U.S. Manga Corps division, Central Park Media has co-produced MD Geist II - Death Force and now, Midnight Panther. It's a damn good thing that this company is good at marketing, because if this is the crap they are investing money in, I can't imagine this company being around much longer. It's not enough that they release garbage, but to add insult to injury, they do it BADLY.
The "Pussycats" are kind of a Josie and the Pussycats on BAD drugs. Crappy idol singers by day they might be, but by night, these horny bimbos are slutty hit-men that a) screw their targets, b) kill them, and c) turn into a cat and eat them. As if this wasn't lame and tasteless enough, they try to make this a comedy. A SLAPSTICK comedy. Whee.
The pussycats include mega-sluts Sonya and KEI, as well as the underdeveloped and undersexed (by their standards) Lou, who is sent after the lame dragon/monster/lizard jobs because she is thought incapable of seducing a man. The three are led by a grizzled old lady who regularly makes magic potions for various things, and also acts at their manager when they go on the road. Poor Lou can't get no respect, but all that changes in the second episode, when they go after the evil King Bad (!), who thought his brother died after he killed their parents and took over the throne by force (for some reason). That brother was really a sister, and it's Lou... so no wonder he can't get that face out of his mind!
It's unclear just what Midnight Panthers wants to be. It has action, comedy, and hentai elements, but it's blisteringly unsuccessful in all three categories. There's no respectable element in the girls or their shriveled caretaker, nothing that makes them good or worthy of hope on the part of the viewer. In fact, since their practices border on cannbalism, they seem like pretty sick puppies!
The result is something indescribably tasteless in its humor: we have a guy accidentally running into the cross of someone being crucified, conking his head with a bad cartoon sound effect and whining about it for a painfully long time, we have an incestual sex scene that ends with a french kiss with a disembodied head, and we have an ending that takes everything serious about the film and treats it like just another gag. And then Central Park Media has the nerve to call this "edited" (they couldn't possibly have taken out much) and slaps this with a 16+ (equivilant to an R) rating. With GRAPHIC sex scenes that last MINUTES long, there is no way this should be anything but an Anime 18 release.
To prove just how powerful a creative talent is behind a show, this is by the same production company as "Kite", which we worshipped last month. The animation, therefore, is fairly good (as is the character design), but the artistic and creative values that Yasuomi Umetsu brought to the party in Kite are nowhere to be seen in this one. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Umetsu turned up his nose at even watching this. It's a good thing the Green Bunny/Arms companies have laurels to rest on, because they sure aren't producing anything award-winning here. In fact, I have to tip my hat to anyone that can sit through it. (Even An Fu, who came up with a respectable Jazz score for Kite, simply turned out stock Casio crap for this one.)
As usual, the dubbing (produced by Merc) is simply unacceptable,with certain characters being so poorly acted (the old lady is fingers-on-chalkboard irritating) and the script being so poorly rewritten that any comic timing and charm the original may have had (unbelievable as it may seem) is totally obliterated. The post production, while better than some CPM releases, is also sub-par, as they can't even seem to figure out how to spell the manga artist's name! (Yu or Yuh Asagiri?)
Frankly, this is the kind of material that makes me wonder just why I'm into anime in the first place. This film is so exceedingly wretched, so want of sensibility and creativity, that there won't be a worse release this year -- from any company. Midnight Panthers is about as bad as it can ever get.
Overall (dub) : F
+ The plot was so outrageously tasteless and sacriligious (not to mention just plain STUPID) that by the end I was jumping up and down in agony, burning lots of fat calories.
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