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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  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 07:21 AM)
    All thats left now is macross 7.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 07:20 AM)
    However this one begged to go on for more than just five episodes, come on now and it had the franchises penchant for weak villains. It doesn’t get me as emotional as do you remember love does, the characters of Macross plus were more likeable. Still its a step above Macross II and I at least had fun with it on an action level.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 07:17 AM)
    Thats Macross zero completed then, it was great to see the background arc/plot for this franchise, the pace is tight and the action is arguably the most immersive, well done of the Macross universe along with Frontier.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:33 AM)
    While Tatami Galaxy and Ping Pong were definitely sharp I felt that Kemonozume and Kaiba were more inventive.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:30 AM)
    Aye,it was the visual style of the film being so different from the norm that drew me in. Still out of Yuaasa’s stuff I found myself more taken with tatami galaxy.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:22 AM)
    I think creatively the anime industry has plateaued a bit by now, where we see more derivative stuff and there has a formed an almost universal “anime style” which hinders non-traditional voyeurism.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:18 AM)
    I love the tonal whiplash that the story goes thru and the then-impressive-and-new visuals. Both 4°C and Hifana take queues from the Kansai art and the underground graffiti styles that prospered in Japan after the 70’s. Parallel to the postmodern movement in the Western world, the new wave was more expressive than fine and you see its heavy influence on the manga and anime industry.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:14 AM)
    @Bam: It is at the last stretch on the film where it is at its strongest visually in my opinion.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:10 AM)
    @Bam: For only 100 minutes it did a decent enough job on its protaganist in any case.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:02 AM)
    Mindgame is amazing. It is as unorthodox as they come but not really pretentious. It’s pretty humble and does have an actual message and proper story arc, so it’s definitely not just random for random’s sake. The industry needs more Yuasa.

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