Posted by psgels on 5 October 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews



Mamoru Oshii really is one of the most unique anime directors out there, his sense of dialogue is really unrivalled. Gosenzosama Banbanzai came from the period in which he was still in his experimental phase. As a result, this has been one of the most unique OVAs I’ve seen, there truly is nothing like it, even though it’s already 20 years old by now. It’s a unique take on the genre of series that focuses on long strings of dialogue, and gets the formula right.

The only way to get a really good impression on what this OVA is about is to actually watch it, but to give an attempt to describe this thing: the setting is incredibly simplistic. Every episode takes place for about 90% in one single room, with only a select number of cameras that it feels like a stage. In fact, the creators often use stage-lights to confirm this. On these stages, the anime shows all of the different characters engaging in seemingly endless dialogues and monologues, often about things that at first sight don’t even seem to matter.

In this OVA, Mamoru Oshii brilliantly manages to tell his story through this dialogue, in which he loves taking his arguments to the absurd while making them seem like they make sense by creating a context in which they seemingly do. The dialogues and monologues are brilliant at messing with their own logic and taking the piss out of themselves, and yet at the same time they manage to create a serious story with quite a number of interesting twists.

The visuals in this series also rock. Like I said, they’re simplistic: there are hardly any changes of cameras, but this has enabled the animators to really focus on animating the characters, and the results show. The animation is incredibly smooth and a lot of effort has been put into making the characters move naturally. On top of that, the visual direction also provides plenty of strong shots, creative situations and simple yet effective action-scenes.

It’s really a shame that they don’t make anime like this anymore. There really aren’t many series that can claim to be as unique and yet as well produced as Gosenzosama Banbanzai. With an excellent soundtrack done by Kenji Kawai and a great stab at in-series advertising more than fifteen years before Code Geass came with its Pizza Hut, I really recommend this for those who are looking for something short and different.

Storytelling: 10/10
Characters: 8/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 8/10

2 Responses

  1. Avatar Dave Baranyi says:

    I picked up the DVDs when they were first released years ago, because of Oshii, and also because the cast consists of Urusei Yatsura veterns.

    When you think about it, this is essentially a stage play in five acts.

    BTW – there is also a movie that is simultaneously more and less than a compilation.

  2. Avatar astrocurrent says:

    >>It’s really a shame that they don’t make anime like this anymore.

    I sonmehow found this comment interesting because the art director for this series is Satoru Uzumiya . It is said that he and Mitsuo Iso(did work for many series from the 90s-00s, also the director of Dennon Coil) are two most important and revolutonary animators that infulenced the art direction at the time. When Gosenzosama Banbanzai came out, it rocked the industry. Animators had never seen or thought of such unique and lively visual movement. Uzumiya’s style is not acceptable for all people of course, but the anime we see now took shape from traces he made, and many young animators still look up to him, especially those who are good at actions. He is one of a kind.
    If you are interested in unique art direction, I recommend The Hakkenden and The Hakkenden ‘new chapter’. Another visaul revolution OVA series in the 90s.

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