KO Beast II

May 6, 2004 on 1:04 pm | In KO Beast | Comments Off on KO Beast II

Comedy antics abound in the second series of KO Beast. There has been a slight change, with Fujishima Kosuke taking over the clothing design. As a result everyone looks more “RPG”, and Mekka/Tuttle has a nifty wide brimmed hat that makes him suitable for wild west adventures.

In these episodes the search for Gaia continues, and first the musketeers search for a man who might be able to repair their totems. The man is actually a boar … who disguises his shortness by standing on top of his son and wearing a long flowing cloak.
A town of beasts was a good opportunity to show beasts living on a day to day basis. V-Darn tracked the musketeers by wearing a beast disguise, which was funny enough … but then he stole fish from a stall.
‘You can’t pay?’ said the owner, knocking him to the ground, ‘Then you shall pay in pain!’, and the townsfolk joined him in kicking him when he was down. At times, the humour is riotous. The town of sea-beasts was slightly less interesting, although Mei-Mer’s mother was a hoot. V-Darn and V-Sion’s “sexual tension” was brilliant, as was Akumako’s comeuppance.
The serious stuff was also good, with lots of inobtrusive exposition explaining almost everything that you could possibly want to know … with the exception of the biggest twist that the writers sprung. Even at the end, it wasn’t quite certain where one of the characters actually came from.

Gone from this series also were the recurring jokes of the first; there was no more licking … none of the main stuff other than Bud’s incredible English. This allowed for some great new traditions, such as Yuni’s glee at any sort of pain being inflicted upon anyone. The characterisation was generally strong, and Mekka’s dedication to protecting the others (as he’s not part of the inner circle) was again well developed). Although, where did the Humans get a tiny demon that feasts on souls from? It’s best not to wonder these things.

Only two problems manifested themselves with the translation: “This must be what an octopus feels like in a trap” becomes “This must be what a Pokémon feels like in its Pokéball!” and the character CC Gal is renamed “SP. Icegal”. The first seems an out of place pop-culture reference. At least it’s anime, but messing with subtitles is not cool! As for the name change, it’s very unwieldly. How is one supposed to even pronounce that?

Still, not much use quibbling over an otherwise highly enjoyable OVA from back when anything was possible. Oh, some very impressive animation at times, too.

KO Beast I

May 1, 2004 on 6:46 pm | In KO Beast | Comments Off on KO Beast I

Back in the days of my Right Stuf addiction, I bought KO Beast without really knowing why; it was cheap. Now that I’ve watched it, I have seen it for the rollicking comedy adventure that it is!

Years ago the hemispheres of Earth were at war and eventually split in two. As a result northerners evolved into beasts of varying tribes who can change into animals under certain circumstances. The southerners stayed as humans and grew really bitter because they didn’t get to live quite so well.
To the modern day, the humans have captured the jinn, totems that the beast tribes worship. Once awakened, they are revealed to be the weapons with which the deciding war was fought. These jinn are supposed to be the key to uncovering Gaia, which is the ultimate weapon which will decide the new war, or similar.

Despite being screwball comedy, KO Beast‘s story is somewhat important. The characters are really fun and the cast is excellent. Bud speaks half in English, and his Grandpa is freakin’ Uncle Sam. Koyasu Takehito says that this was the role that made him stop being so much the “cool guy” and becoming more of a comical role player. You have KO Beast to thank/blame for Ilpalazzo and a long line of slightly gay bishounen.
The rest of the characters are also great, and Yuni’s mischievous streak caused much hilarity. Mekka isn’t one of the three musketeers (in fact, he seemed just thrown in), so it’s good that he becomes like a retainer for the pink haired trouble maker.

The OP is like some sort of great and terrible song. B•O•M•B•E•R Love is its name. The point when you realise how brilliant it is is at the point that Scanch sing “Koi no missile, 3-2-1-0“. The cheerful chorus “Hello, Rock ‘n’ Roll Bomber!”, accompanied by chibi and generally crazy animation, with a rough approximation of seventies British punk/rock vocals … it grabs you with its delicious anarchy.
Turns out that this isn’t the original OP, also available on the DVD, and it is more suited to KO Beast II, but it’s marvellous nonetheless.
The ED song is unbelievably also by Scanch. It’s very simple but incredibly melodious … a glorious angel’s dance upon the ears.

Negishi Hiroshi says that it came from the heady days when crews were trying to make the most of the OVA form. He was right. As everyone knows, the Golden Age of the OVA was a golden age indeed.

The DVD is generally great, there’s only one real problem: Mekka’s name is subtitled as “Tuttle”. While that does translate his name accurately into English (“Mekka” almost being “Kame” (turtle) backwards), it’s a name. And names always sound weird when they’re clearly being shouted but are subtitled as something differently.

The drama is somewhat dramatic, the comedy is particularly comedic, and it’s got great traditional OVA animation values. Go for KO Beast. It’s good and cheap. While it should be on two DVDs instead of three (representing both OVA series), there’s always a good special going down to nullify that problem.

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