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assemble insert (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

July 7, 2008 by  



“An older DVD release from TRSI/Nozomi Entertainment which features an older anime based on the 1985 manga by Yuuki Masato (better known for his creation ‘Mobile Police Patlabor’. A parody on pop idols, sentai shows with its protagonist as an unlikely heroine.”

DVD INFORMATION:

DVD TITLE: assemble insert

DURATION: Approx. 60 minutes

DVD INFORMATION: Doly 2.0 English & Japanese Audio, English Subtitles, Interactive Menus

CATALOG #: ISBN-157032-087-X

COMPANY:The Right Stuf International/Nozomi Entertainment

RATING: Suggested 13 and Up

STAFF INFORMATION:

ORIGINAL STORY/CHARACTER DESIGN: Yuuki Masami

ANIMATION DIRECTOR: Sugiyama Toyomi

DIRECTOR: Chibuki Ayumi

Let’s say that a group of hooded, power-suit-wearing ninjas lead by a crazy old man in a cloak is tearing up your city. Every time you try to fight them, your team is totally humiliated, entire city blocks end up demolished, and the city’s citizens just keep getting angrier. What can you possibly do? If you’re anything like Chief Hattori, you hold a pop idol contest! …No, seriously!

Chief Hattori and his “special” task force are searching for that special someone who can really kick butt, and yet be so adorable that the public will instantly love her. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to be having too much luck – until high schooler Maron Namikaze takes the stage. She’s cute, she’s sweet and she just happens to be able to crush steel with her bare hands! Now Maron’s going to get her chance to be the idol she’s always wanted to be – all she has to do is stop a gang of ruthless thieves and look good doing it!

An unbashed parody of everything Japanese including super-hero anime, idol singers, sentai shows and even those sill commercials for super powered sports drinks! Absolutely nothing is safe!

My first time watching “assemble insert” was back in the early 90’s as it was one of those OAV’s that people owned the Japanese LD’s of and would either show it at anime club meetings in straight Japanese or fansubbed.

I watched it in straight Japanese and to tell you the truth, I really didn’t know what was going on at the time but what I was able to pick up was that the main character Maron was just an unlikely hero that had super strength but probably not at all headsmart.

Also, found it weird that the anime would have these live commercials for a vitamin energy drink featuring two women and really, I had no idea what was going on.

Flash forward nearly 15 years later and I happen to spot this DVD for cheap and figured that I could probably have a better understanding of the two OAV episodes that I watched a long time ago.

The main story focuses on a special task force led by Chief Hattori since the criminal organization known as “demon seed” are wreaking havoc around the city and the police have been unable to stop them.

With so much destruction caused by “Demon Seed” and citizens blaming the police, Hattori goes on a search to find the face of the new task force and hopefully give them a positive image towards the public.

In comes Maron Namikaze. Not that smart but she’s cute, sweet and has the ability to crush metal with her bare hands. Needless to say that’s she’s hired!

Unfortunately, because Maron’s strength, although she’s more than capable of beating “Demon Seed”, the destruction in the city continues to mount as she causes destruction wherever she goes and thus giving Chief Hattori and the police a headache.

So, the two OAV’s are probably a few chapters from the 1985 manga series by Yuuki Masami featuring the introduction of Maron and her taking on “Demon Seed” and obviously a parody anime series on super-heroe anime, sentai shows, pop idols and with only two episodes, you would imagine that this type of storyline would probably be best told if it was a TV series.

Unfortunately, “assemble insert” really never caught on as Yuuki Masami’s “Mobile Police Patlabor” became a bonafide hit and “assemble insert” became a short OAV series that really didn’t amount to much animation wise.

If there was one positive, it was the music featured in the anime series by Maron voice actress Kasahara Hiroko. Not only was she able to do Maron concert CD’s for “Assemble Insert” and even perform two concerts live in Tokyo and Osaka. But if anything, it helped jumpstart her career as a voice actress where she would do countless anime and video games. But also Japanese dubs for Hollywood films such as Mena Suvari’s character in “American Beauty”.

Also, the anime would feature popular voice actress Kawamura Maria who plays Maron’s pop rival Kagiri.

As for staff, animation director Sugiyama Toyomi would be part of another anime that would have almost a similar theme to “assemble insert” which was “MOLDIVER” while director Chibuki Ayumi will be known for his work on “Monster Rancher” but the key animator for “Windaria”.

VIDEO:

It’s hard to give a 1989 OAV series high marks for video because it’s old. But I suppose when it comes to animation, the animation for me was standard at the time. Nothing really caught my attention but one thing and that is Maron’s eyes. Instead of the typical anime eyes, Maron eyes are similar to a “Bazooka Joe” character.

AUDIO:

I watched OAV series both in Japanese and English. Both are in Dolby 2.0 and in their own way, both are well-done when it comes to voice acting.

If anything, I was very impressed by Kasahara Hiroko’s voice acting and also singing ability. She has a voice that is reminiscent to pop idol that that time, Moritaka Chisato and found the music very cute.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

I figure that there aren’t that many special features that could have been included as material is probably hard to come by. But they did have the parody vitamin drink commercials featuring Japanese voice actresses Kasahara and Kawamura.

Also included is a tri-fold booklet which explains the vitamin drink parody, the world of Sentai and the romanized lyrics and English translations to “Aitsu” and “assemble insert” by Kasahara Hiroko.

“assemble insert” is an older anime that one would pick up for its price, one is nostalgic of the manga series or saw the original OAV series and then those who are fan of Yuuki Masato’s or even Kasahara Hiroko’s work.

Unfortunately, this two-episode OAV series starts and ends and you just come off feeling of “that’s it?”.

And you just move on and anime series like this, especially since there is no manga support in the US and there have not been anything but CD releases in Japan, unfortunately these type of series fall through the cracks.

If anything, the series would serve as a precursor to Nozomi Entertainment (The Right Stuf International) emergence into the anime industry and would later come to release “His and Her Circumstance” which in my opinion was one of the well-produced DVD’s for anime fans interested in the Japanese or English dub.

But all in all, I paid less than $5 for it and it was enjoyable to finally understand the series nearly 15 years since I watched it at an anime club meeting but I doubt it’s an OAV series that I would want to watch again.

+ A parody anime series based on a manga by Yuuki Masato

+ Good voice acting both in Japanese and English. Great singing vocals by Kasahara Hiroko.

– Older two-episode OAV series that just starts, ends and that’s it. No followup…

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