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. 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. 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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  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 03:57 AM)
    @K-off: no but you’re right tho. There are shows that you can write a dissertation on each of its episodes, and then there’s others that you’ll be stretching it past a few sentences. They don’t all deserve the same treatment.
  • K-Off
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 03:50 AM)
    @Aidan Gamestop is a block from my apartment, and I couldn’t find anything better than 60 online.
    @Bam I said that in humor, but I agree every show has an audience and it wouldn’t hurt to get to those less covered animes every now and then. Hell, I remember psgels reviewing AKB0048 and ended up actually liking it.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 03:15 AM)
    Also I vaguely remember hearing about Belladona, might check out the remastered at some point.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 03:14 AM)
    @Kaiser: then Harmony is just like Empire of Corpses, a waste of good animation. Oh well, I’ll watch it once and forget about it then. Is there a torrent out for it already?
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 02:22 AM)
    K-off: well usually these settings are backdrop for some form of character development, you can talk about that. There are some slice of life shows in which nothing happens, those are probably not worth reviewing tho. That’s why I’m still in favor of some shows getting a few episode reviewed at once.
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 01:59 AM)
    @K-Off, thats odd. I got Tokyo Mirage for 40 euro. Were as I spent 60 on Fates. This time I bought it off amazon after finding out it was cheaper there.
  • K-Off
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 11:03 PM)
    Damn Tokyo Mirage is expensive. Costs more than a Fire Emblem game and Persona 4 combined so this better be worth it.
  • K-Off
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 10:57 PM)
    Always difficult to talk about slice of lifes. Usually its always “This week our characters went to the park. The end.”
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 05:42 PM)
    @Bam: There was this bizzaro Joan of arc slide show arthouse erotica anime from the 70s that recently got a re-release, its somewhat tied to Tezuka, really trippy shit, Kanashimi no belladonna.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 05:35 PM)
    As a book I could see it flowing better. Oshii or Kamiyama could more effectively adapt such density of material to screen.

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