Kappei YamaguchiTomomichi NishimuraYumi TakadaMiina Tominaga
Hanappe Bazooka
Medium: OVA
Year: 1992
Original creator: Go Nagai, Kazuo Koike
Actor: Kappei Yamaguchi, Kenji Utsumi, Kikuko Inoue, Miina Tominaga, Tomomichi Nishimura, Yumi Takada
Keywords: anime, boobs
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 45 minutes
Url: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=677
Url: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-Mxwam4_SY
Website category: Anime early 90s
Review date: 30 July 2014
I've been looking for this for years. It's by Go Nagai and the reviews I've seen of it have generally been hostile enough to kill at fifty paces. People hate it. I couldn't wait. To whet your appetite, here are some quotes:
1. Recommended Audience: Lessee. Sex (though softcore at that), suicide, a rape or two, demon gangbangs (again; softcore), and violence to the point of pantywetting. I would recommend this to adults only, but since this is such an awful title, I recommend it to no one.
2. A guy at my local comic store described this series as "sick and twisted, but lots of fun". Well, two outta three ain't bad.
3. There is an audience out there for this, I know that. I'm just not it and never want to be.
4. Also Recommended: I'm not sure I WANT to recommend any similar shows here. There's always other Go Nagai features, but watch those at your own peril.
Okay, quotes over. Finn's back again. This puppy's never had an English-language DVD release, although long ago ADV Films put it out on VHS. However I recently discovered it on YouTube, albeit with the subtitles in Portuguese.
Plot synopsis! Hanappe is a high school boy whose hobbies include meeting his friends in the toilet to buy revealing photos of (I think) his female classmates. Hooligans beat him up until he pisses himself. When fleeing from this, he finds a pornographic video and of course steals it. Later, at home, he makes everything ready in his room (dubious photos on the walls, etc.), gets naked from the waist down and dances around in a frenzy of masturbation.
This summons two demons with the magical manipulations of his penis. When he came, they came. That's just the beginning, by the way. The plot later gets considerably more freakish.
Yup, that's Go Nagai.
I'll address the obvious objection to this anime, i.e. everything in it. The content of Hanappe Bazooka is extreme. Many people will find it offensive. (Understatement.) Go Nagai has yet again found a way of outraging the entire world and you can practically hear him giggling from start to finish. It's not just the nudity, but the fact that Go Nagai's practically celebrating perversion, with on-camera onanism from a thieving loser hero, lesbian S&M, demon rape and a bazooka with a vagina.
I think all this is: (a) funny, (b) dramatically justified and (c) not as bad as everyone says.
Firstly, the comedy. Even people who hate this one and find it gross and disturbing will often admit that it's funny. Go Nagai's storytelling has a unique energy. He knows no shame, except in a dung beetle sense that seeks out everything most guaranteed to appal and rolls around in it. Both its narrative and visuals have the explosive joy of a Looney Tunes cartoon, although of course there are also, um, significant points of difference.
Secondly, the drama. What's startling about Go Nagai is that he goes too far in every possible way. He has no limits on his storytelling, as with his taste. No one is safe. You can't make any assumptions about what's going to happen or where the plot will end up... and here that's going double, even by Go Nagai's standards. If you saw this last act coming, you're some kind of freak.
However, at the same time, it's not just exploitation. It's proper storytelling and its characters have emotional power, which I find fascinating. It's just that most people bounce off the surface outrageousness and can't be bothered to engage beyond that. Hanappe has massively objectionable qualities, for instance, but it turns out that he has a particular girl he fantasises about (Takanayagi-senpai) and he's quite the romantic at heart. When the demons give him finger-zapping magical powers that can make any woman have sex with him (or cause massive property damage), he refuses to use it on Takanayagi even when the demons start getting unpleasant about this inconvenient conscience.
He's likeable. Go Nagai has painted him as the sleaziest loser ever to drop his pants and masturbate in front of you, but he's likeable. Amazing. When [SPOILER] happens, it actually feels earned and dramatically meaningful.
Go Nagai keeps doing things here with storytelling tone that I don't think I've seen from anyone else. He can tell a silly, gleefully offensive story that's finding new ways to make your eyes pop out every five minutes... and end up turning this into a proper drama, which here he's giving a trippy theological ending. One reason this OVA might have struck so many nerves is that it isn't just empty imagery, instead having dramatic weight that makes its extreme content meaningful. The original manga is ten volumes long and ran for two and a half years, by the way, despite the brevity of this OVA. It's also worth pointing out that Go Nagai is only credited as the artist on this one, from a script by Kazuo "Lone Wolf and Cub" Koike. (Koike's clearly at least channelling his co-creator, though.)
Finally, I don't think the content's that bad. What's so bad about Hanappe's lechery? Compare him with real teenage boys. So he looks at dirty pictures and masturbates. Why is this shocking? Breaking news just in: the Pope's Catholic and some bears shat in the woods. No, it's Go Nagai's violation of conventional good taste that's the shocking bit, not the simple fact of Hanappe getting jiggy with himself. If we're choosing sides in that fight, I'm with the bad taste crowd.
Besides, what if we compared this with other anime? Serious question. Consider what's being produced these days. Hanappe Bazooka is in the worst possible taste, but it's not creepy. The naked people are actually people, not anthropomorphised otaku fetishes (cat ears, maid outfits, stupidly exaggerated female proportions, paedophile appeal, etc.). There's no moe. The characterisation isn't saccharine or pandering (e.g. "goshujin-sama" eager doormats). There are no magical girlfriends and the only harem we see here is being negatively portrayed, as demon bait for a pathetic, useless, morally worthless husband who's far more a slave to his dick than Hanappe is. Go Nagai's women are in no way inferior to his men. Even God is female, although you won't be surprised to learn that She doesn't seem too worried about dressing modestly. (She's also a cosmic tree. Don't ask. I have no idea.)
Alternatively, let me put it this way. Let's say some female friends caught you watching anime. If we're not just talking about random glimpses, i.e. they're in danger of sitting down and watch it with you, I'd choose Hanappe Bazooka in a heartbeat over the likes of DearS, To LOVE-Ru or Girls Bravo. (I chose those nearly at random, by the way. I've never seen them, but I know their reputations.)
Incidentally, the anime news network website has an anime category for "Objectionable content", which rates this OVA quite modestly. It's "significant". For comparison, I'm in the middle of three anime series right now and two of those happen to be labelled "intense". (They're Sekirei and Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne, in case you were wondering.)
It looks good. They've kept all the character and style of Go Nagai's art, but they've also tidied up the draughtsmanship and made it look pretty. (The problem with the figure drawing in Go Nagai's manga isn't that he loves drawing huge boobs and so on. It's simply that, like Matsumoto Leiji, he's remarkably bad at drawing people.)
Incidentally, I'd argue that this is a comedic companion piece to other Go Nagai works like Devilman and Demon Lord Dante, which also deal with demons, the afterlife and big religious questions. Devilman even gets a cameo here. (Also relevant in this discussion would be Go Nagai's use of the Buddhist god of death and rebirth, Yama/Enma, in shows like Dororon Enma-kun and Demon Prince Enma.)
I loved this anime. I like the demons themselves (Bazooka and Dansu), who are at once badass, funny and capable of surprising development as characters. What happens to Dansu in particular is weird enough that I'm wondering how hard it would be to track down copies of the manga. I also like the fact that the anime's incapable of anything but charging full steam ahead. Go Nagai doesn't believe in making compromises for his audience, or indeed in pussyfooting around with naughty suggestiveness or innuendo. He just heads straight for utter filth (not to mention comedy, horror and drama with shocking consequences). All that I admire. I was excited to have found a copy of this and I had the highest expectations, which were of course exceeded. However I say that as a Go Nagai fan and it's only fair to warn you that this is widely regarded as trash. If you have a low tolerance for childish, offensive obscenity, avoid this OVA.