The cool thing about Crunchyroll is it has all these random-ass old anime that you can watch on a whim without having to download anything. It’s nonetheless a shitty site because halfway through the show, the video might just give out on you and make you end up downloading it anyway. That’s the technical side of my watching Parasite Dolls tonight.
As for how I watched all three episodes of this mediocre 2003 (wannabe-90s) OVA, it has to do with hot wings. I was eating hot wings. And something about mediocre pulp OVAs and hot wings translates to “the purpose of life.”
This is part of my identity as a fan. I get upset with myself when I see other fans who get more into a certain show than I can, or rewatch something more times or obsess over characters more. I can’t stop myself watching new stuff long enough to obsess over individual things, which is why it’s hard for me to figure out my favorite anime.
This experience shows me why I can’t stop watching new stuff. It’s because I’m delighted by something stupid like bad anime and hot wings. I’m just having too much god damn fun with this whole anime business.
That’s all this post is about, but here’s a review of Paradise Dolls for the hell of it:
I’ve seen Parasite Dolls on the shelves of Best Buy in a combo-pack with A.D. Police Files more times than I can count, but I rightly suspected that it probably wasn’t very good. It isn’t—it’s exactly as good as it needs to be to hold my attention alongside hot wings for an hour and a half.
When it started, the first thing I noticed was writer credit Chiaki J. Konaka, which I hadn’t expected since I’ve talked about him so much and yet somehow overlooked his involvement with this OVA. To say the least, the show doesn’t give a strong Konaka vibe. The closest it comes is a bunch of talk about robot conciousness and dreams, which actually made me think of Oshii Mamoru, the auteur writer-director that I like a bit more than Konaka’s crazy ass. I suspect this is the result of being part of a larger franchise, though you’d think that bringing in Konaka for a random OVA would be a chance to purposefully do something different than the franchise standard. (Not that I’ve seen more of the franchise to confirm that this is standard for it.)
At first, it seemed like Parasite Dolls was trying to tread on the classier side of cheap pulp stories, employing light noir elements and given some life by a very excellent soundtrack (not the least bit by its mostly-flat dialog and directing). It’s like that through the first half of episode two, then suddenly a bunch of action is shoehorned in (not usually a bad thing, but it was pretty tacky here) and the plot gets completely lost, the episode ending in confusion. Finally, the third episode jumps off the cliffside of class into a pit of utter cheese. Sex and violence are cranked up to tasteless levels (I’m not against tasteless sex and violence, but it kind of blindsided me) and it all culminates into a shockingly over-the-top finale.
I liked the show best when it was cruising along, being not all that cool, but not looking like a try-hard. The inclusion of gratuitous action scenes would’ve been awesome if the show had come from the 90s and sported a 90s OVA budget, instead of being from 2003 and having a few decent sakuga moments before totally blowing the third episode’s budget on a couple of bad CG chase and explosion scenes.
The best part of this OVA was the rookie cop girl, Michaelson—a tomboy with the right mixture of badass and cute vulnerability, hopelessly crushing on the main guy like a modest Faye Valentine from a far inferior show. She was the only character worth a second thought in the show.
It’s probably no coincidence that her voice actress, Okamura Akemi, played Belldandy in fourteen episodes of The Adventures of Mini-Goddess, while the only other recurring female character in Parasite Dolls was played by Inoue Kikuko, who voiced Belldandy in every other Ah! My Goddess series and the rest of Mini-Goddess. Somewhere out there must be the story of why this happened. (I noticed it at complete random.)
Anyway, I don’t recommend Parasite Dolls to anyone. There are plenty of better pulp OVAs out there. (Riding Bean and Gunsmith Cats are my personal favorites.) I will say, though, that for all the ridiculousness of the third episode, the climax was pretty satisfyingly cool.