Kiyoyuki YanadaMasako KatsukiChisa YokoyamaIron Virgin Jun
Iron Virgin Jun
Medium: OVA
Year: 1992
Original creator: Go Nagai
Studio: Dynamic Planning
Actor: Chisa Yokoyama, Daiki Nakamura, Kazue Komiya, Kiyoyuki Yanada, Masahiro Anzai, Masako Katsuki, Nobuo Tobita, Shunsuke Shima, Toshiharu Sakurai
Keywords: anime
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 46 minutes
Website category: Anime 1990s
Review date: 19 February 2007
It's Iron Virgin Jun's eighteenth birthday, so naturally she's running away from home. According to family tradition, today she was to have had an arranged marriage and she's not enthralled with the idea. Tch. Kids today, eh? Fortunately on hand to put things right is her mother, a mannish colossus who makes the Incredible Hulk look feminine. The family line must continue, whether Jun likes it or not! Are there any rapists in the telephone book?
Distinctly underwhelming. It's not actually bad, but that's half the problem. I bought this in the hope of getting trash in all the best ways, but it failed to satisfy. Something like Kekko Kamen shows Go Nagai at his hilariously appalling worst and this in synopsis sounds nearly as sleazy, but unfortunately it's a little boring. Was Go Nagai so successful that even his most throwaway jottings were liable to get animated? Maybe. This theory would explain Iron Virgin Jun and could in a sense make him unluckier than most manga creators. Apparently the original Iron Virgin Jun manga is much more sexual and comes close to being hentai, which the anime downpedalled for the sake of a broader audience.
Iron Virgin Jun's name is Jun Asuka, but she's not Devilman Lady. That might have livened things up a bit. She's bland and since she's the heroine, she's this title's biggest problem. Jun's a sympathetic protagonist, but less dynamic and pro-active than I've come to expect from a Go Nagai heroine. She's a good girl. Wants to do what she's told. Reactive, not pro-active. She's not happy about her mother's birthday plans for her, but you couldn't even call her rebellious. Running from an arranged marriage hardly makes her Public Enemy Number One, although admittedly that's a Western point of view that isn't shared by her mother.
Even Jun's gift for beating the living daylights out of people isn't an entirely good thing. When Jun has a fight scene, she hulks out. She's quite pretty in her non-transformed state, but when kicking arse she's an ugly scary musclewoman... although even then she doesn't begin to compare with her mother. Wow. That's just freakish. We're talking about an end-of-level boss on Doom or something. It's like King Kong got pregnant with a bulldozer.
What's frustrating is that theoretically this is all good stuff. If only Jun herself had been the larger-than-life figure that this kind of show demands, this could have been another Go Nagai triumph. Everything else is certainly whacked-out. Jun's mother belongs in a zoo, but you should see her minions. The Golden Cherry Boys whom she employs to hunt down Jun are the reason why this DVD (absurdly) got released on a hentai label in America, since they're a quartet of rapists with comedy penises. One man has a turtle growing from his groin, another has a spinning drill bit, a third has an alien and the last has a swan which quacks. Their reward for recapturing Jun is to be her virginity. If we hadn't already done so, it's probably around this point that the audience loses patience with Jun's good nature and underlying affection for her mother. The woman just gave orders for her own daughter to be gang-raped by cartoon animals! It's all very well to honour thy father and mother, but there are limits.
Fortunately the Golden Cherry Boys are no match for Jun, since otherwise this OVA would have become unwatchable. Unfortunately they too come across as bland. They say that a hero can only be as impressive as his enemies, but this OVA shows the mirror image of that proposition. Jun's boring, so everything around her becomes boring too. It's not a sexual show. The rapists are just silly. There's fighting and even wrestling, but despite some blood it's basically a no-show if you're looking for gore and violence. Go Nagai is capable of going wildly over the top in any of several different ways, but he doesn't here.
There are things I liked here. As with Cutey Honey, for instance, Go Nagai takes material that should theoretically be offensively misogynistic and makes it almost feminist. All the powerful figures here are female. Behind Mum there's also Grandma. The males are minions or cardboard cutouts, barely noticeable behind their womenfolk. Even the attempted gang rape is at the orders of a woman.
I couldn't exactly call this show bad, but even that might have been preferable. I probably went in with false expectations, but frankly I just didn't find this show interesting. I quite liked Jun's relationship with Kurata, which had potential and in a different show could have been very likeable, but sadly these two rather sweet characters have been stuck in a stupid action romp that needed either to be less grotesque or a whole lot more so.