Friday, March 13, 2015

anime I hated: Melty Lancer

(this review originally appeared on the website Anime Jump.)

Melty Lancer: A Half-Baked Recipe For Disaster

This recipe will, if properly prepared, result in a bland, uninteresting casserole of characters and concepts previously used elsewhere to better effect. While fulfilling all necessary recommendations for Anime Video Cliché, it must be noted that this production is likely to be a complete waste of your time.


  • One (1) team of Beautiful Female Police People, including one Brainy Mature Woman, one Alpha-Female Team Leader, one Demure Traditionalist, one Tough Chick With Battle Armor, one Shape-Changing Magical Girl, and one Cat-Girl With Big Ears. Must have unpronounceable or improbable D&D-character names like "Sylvia Nimrod" or "Nany Nataresionn Neinhalten". One character must have Pet of Indeterminate Species.
  • One Whiny, Impotent, Crybaby Male. Glasses optional.
  • One Rough, Tough, Mature Male. Roy Fokker from MACROSS is a good example here. In fact, one might say this DVD adheres to the Roy Fokker template a little too closely. Smoking, drinking, and gigantic sideburns are a must. Character is actually competent and therefore must be featured as little as possible.
  • One mixed pair of Funny Criminals who Screw Up. See: Time BokanNadiaPokemon.
  • One set of Real Criminals who are working for the Mysterious Big Boss. Even though their plans are smart and well-executed, they will never win. 
  • Assorted cheap-looking CG spaceships, planets, computer readouts, crowd scenes, placards, and camera tricks. Use liberally and without shame. Here's a tip: crowd scenes are easily created by simply using a field of little moving dots.

Gather ingredients in two DVDs of three episodes each. Be careful to adhere slavishly to the clichéd anime formula of the Bizarre And Meaninglessly-Named Team Of Well-Meaning Yet Bumbling Female Police People Who Succeed By Accident.

If possible, ensure that your anime is based on a Playstation game, as this one is.

It is essential to include many scenes that highlight your lack of knowledge of the basics of astronomy or physics - the time-honored Object Entering Solar System Passes Every Planet In Order has been used successfully since the early 1970s, but Melty Lancer is notable for inventing new mistakes, such as Passing Stars While Travelling Between Earth And Saturn. You can also point out your ignorance of basic police tactics by having your policewomen threaten criminals with their guns while standing in each other's line of fire. At all times characters will talk before shooting, giving their targets ample time to escape.

The script must include the following: Shocking Revelation that Our Heroes are only being used as a Diversionary Tactic; the Poignant Tragedy of the Doomed Romance between Heroes and Villians; and the time-honored Expository Scene While Character Lies In Hospital Bed, Suffering From Tragic Chronic Incurable Illness. In order to give this production that extra-stale taste, make certain the plot involves a Sentient Super-Computer Out To Destroy The Galaxy. Do not forget to have characters miraculously rescued by the timely invention of a brand new scientific device. One character must appear to be dead to allow the other characters to mope around for twenty minutes.

Character designs should be ugly and unappealing, with bizarre chipmunk cheeks or the lack thereof the only indicator of a character's age. Hairstyles and clothing should be outlandish and impractical.

Animation must be as cheaply produced as possible. Characters must deliver huge chunks of dialog with their backs to the camera or their hands in front of their mouths, or in extreme long shots. Still frames and digital zooms will be used at all times. Point-of-view scenes must involve the camera pitching and swaying drunkenly. Any scene involving a telescope or gunsight must contain a shot through the telescope or gunsight, in order to get the message across to the dimmer members of the audience that a character is using a telescope or a gunsight.

Direct this series so that no scene lasts longer than thirty seconds. Combat scene, hospital scene, comedy scene - no matter what's going on, when your egg timer says thirty seconds, it's time to cut to another scene. This will give the production a schizophrenic aimlessness that will effectively kill any likely dramatic or humorous effects.

Highlights of this title should include highly-trained combat soldiers who fight by ramming their heads into each other, a counterproductive tactic that brings to mind the Sanrio sheep-from-Hell production Ringing Bell. For extra irritation, dramatic climax must involve all characters being transported into a psychedelic freakout dimension where our heroes first whine like babies and then talk the supercomputer out of destroying the universe. Our crybaby male lead should not be merely uncomfortable around girls, but should literally scream in terror whenever touched by a female.

Melty Lancer Melty Lancer Melty Lancer
These ingredients- lackluster animation, intrusive and clumsy CG, mediocre character designs, obsessive-compulsive editing, confusing character names, and a script that involves people from other dimensions fighting supercomputers who control terrorist organizations who are starting religious cults in order to harvest DNA in an attempt to destroy space itself- don't combine so much as congeal, and result in what can only be described as an unsatisfying mess.

Melty Lancer Melty Lancer
Extras on the DVD release should include a glossary of completely irrevelant backstory information, including identifying the parents of the main characters. Printing of the DVD label should involve metallic inks that render the artwork and text nearly illegible. This release, if properly half-baked, should serve any amount of non-discriminating viewers who are reasonably undemanding in their entertainment choices. It is suggested that this feature be served alone, as it will suffer in comparison with virtually any other production ever made.

Dietician's Notes:
1. After watching Melty Lancer, I no longer fear death.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

my 2015 events

I try to work up one of these posts early every year as a reminder to myself of events perhaps of interest. Usually these are antique/nostalgia/kitsch shows or record shows or comic shows (I prefer the shows that are more about actual comic books and less about celebrities or costumes) and the couple of Japanese animation conventions I attend mostly to screen weird clips and 40 year old robot cartoons.

There's a terrible habit of Ontario shows, at least the antique shows we like to hit, where the vendors are all packing up at 2pm to be out the door by 3pm. Well, first off, many people such as yours truly work crazy hours and aren't up at the crack of dawn standing in line at Tim Horton's. We just aren't. It's a pain for us to drive an hour or so out into the sticks, only to have the dealers all packing up because god forbid they spend an extra half an hour until their set closing time just to maybe make some money.  All I'm saying is these shows should run until at least 5pm, is what I'm saying. Think about it, won't you? Thanks.  And don't even get me started on how we have to drive out into the sticks to find interesting stuff because all the offbeat stores in downtown Toronto have closed and been replaced by condos, trendy gastro-pubs, and real estate brokers. Just don't even go there. And have you tried getting a decent meal out there that doesn't involve waiting an hour for a table at the Kelsey's by the Toyota dealership? Forget about it!


Sunday March 8: Guelph Record & CD Show Haven't been to a show in Guelph, not far away, a nice little drive, maybe worth it.

Sunday, March 29: Toronto Downtown Record Show these guys have been putting on a show at the Estonian Hall for years now. A good show, prices are a little north because vinyl is hip now or something.

Sunday April 12: Kitchener Collectibles Expo Never been to any sort of show in Kitchener. Might be worth the trip.

Sunday April 19Toronto/Mississauga Musical Collectables - Capitol Convention Centre  I've been to a few of these and there's usually a pretty good mix of stuff and prices aren't too bad.

Sunday April 19: Toronto Comic Book Show  We went to a mixed card/comics show here in '13 that was like 75% sports memorabilia. Who buys that stuff, and why? If this one's 100% comics we might give it a shot.

Sunday May 3: Ancaster Nostalgia Show & Sale  - This show has a good mix of stuff and prices are generally OK. Not too bad a drive either. 

May 9-10:  TCAF It's downtown, it's jam packed with amazing comics, it's free. Beat that.

May 22-24: Anime North  I'll be doing a bunch of panels and ANIME HELL

Sunday May 31: Ancaster Collectorfest

Saturday July 25 & August 29, Innisfill Roadshow Antiques North Outdoor Sales Event - 9-5pm at the Innisfill Roadshow Antique Mall. This is that antique mall on the way to Barrie. The mall's kinda picked over but some good stuff might be out in this open air thing. Their website isn't working.

Saturday Sept. 19: Aberfoyle Fall Special Saturday Antique Show Aberfoyle is a fairgrounds show on the way to Guelph. Sometimes the pricing here is nuts.

Sept. 24-27: Anime Weekend Atlanta I'll be doing a bunch of panels and YES ANIME HELL at this show in Atlanta, which I helped start 21 years ago

Sunday Oct. 18 - Toronto/Mississauga Musical Collectables - Capitol Convention Centre

Probably have to do another one of these in September or October. If you're reading this and know of some shows I should mention, let me know!