Saturday, August 6, 2011

Video Backlog: "DNA²"

Publisher: U.S. Manga Corps (Central Park Media, USA)
Format: Region 1 DVD, NTSC, Japanese Dialogue with optional English Dub and English Subtitles
Length: 15 Episodes x 24 minutes
Production Date: 1994 – 1995
Currently in Print (as of writing): No

Masakazu Katsura was probably one of the biggest mangaka amongst Western anime and manga fans back min the 1990’s. Admittedly I didn’t get into his work. I did watch the OVA series of “Video Girl Ai”, which didn’t impress me much at all initially, but egged on by a member of my local anime club who was very enthusiastic about his work, I searched out the manga which was being serialised in Animerica Extra at the time. It was pretty damn good and I read the manga until it reached where the OVA finished. After that I felt the story was less interesting and kind of gave up reading it at that stage.

The only reason I got a hold of the “DNA²” anime was that Viz had licenced “Video Girl Ai”, so I got the VHS fansubs of the show. Don’t know why I bothered really as I now have the DVD versions of both shows… I can’t exactly remember what I thought about “DNA²” initially as it has been so long since I first watched it (more than a decade). I remember an interview with Katsura who said that he took Junta’s hair style from “Dragonball Z” and kids love vomit jokes, so he stuck that in there. Kind of an absurd show really. It’s pretty much the same old shonen romantic comedy with a male “loser” lead (who has a female allergy and vomits when he is sexually aroused) who in the future will become the “mega playboy” and father 100 “mega playboys” which causes a massive problem in overpopulation (is there no contraception in the future?). Junta gets shot by Aoi, a DNA Operator from the future, in an attempt to alter his DNA to stop him from becoming the “mega playboy”, but it seems she is the cause of him becoming the “mega playboy” as she has used the wrong DNA changing bullet.

Yeah, it’s pretty much juvenile sexual fantasy as about four women end up throwing themselves at him, including one who farts every time she gets nervous, the hottest girl in the school and the childhood friend and literal girl next door who is immune to the “mega playboy“ but likes the normal Junta. This could all be a really tired show, but I found it quite entertaining for the majority of its length, despite the clichés. It’s also very funny most of the time. There are some moments which are completely over the top and spoil things. The inclusion of the possessive Ryuji who decides to fight Junta and the absurd climatic fight put me off. The three part OVA which ends the TV series (it was pretty unusual to have such a short TV series on air, and in such an early time slot, 5:30pm) was pretty pointless and poorly animated to boot. The designs are pretty damn good and animation is by Madhouse so its quality stuff. Being a 1990’s anime, naturally Megumi Hayashibara makes an appearance (as the alpha female Tomoko Saeki). Miina Tominaga also appears as the slightly ditzy DNA operator Karin Aoi.

In conclusion it’s not a bad show. It’s fun but does have a lot of the typical shonen comedy romance clichés, but there are a lot of surprising twists and turns. The writing isn’t as lazy as you might expect it to be for the genre. The final three OVA episodes spoil the show for me. There’re completely unnecessary. The CPM discs are quite good. The video is unusually excellent. The DVD extras are mostly made up ones and are pretty dreadful. One is “What is DNA?”. I’m assuming this was made for viewers who failed science at high school. The series was released on five discs, which I think was two too many, but it was released in 2002, which was typical back then. 6.5 out of 10.

Remaining Backlog: 24 months (it's much easier this way than listing the number of discs).

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