What's Michael is loosely based off the manga of the same name, which deals with an ordinary tomcat named Michael, and his various misadventures with humans, felines, and whatnot in modern Japan. Again, we reiterate: loosely based. This OAV has various shorts dealing with couples, but very few shorts relating to cats.
This is by far the strangest thing I have ever seen. Not just anime, not just anything on VHS. I mean *thing*.
My sister picked this up in a bargain bin in Chinatown in Los Angeles. Why she wasted two dollars (and shelf space) on this video, I have no idea. To hear her rave about it, you'd think this was the funniest thing ever made. At least that was the impression I got when she called me and told me she found it. Being a fan of the manga, I was really looking forward to this OAV.
Then she sat me down and showed it to me. Did that impression evaporate fast ...
Now I know why my dad fled the room screaming the second my sister announced she was putting that thing in the VCR. There were five people in the room when tape started rolling. All except for me were comatose within the first *five* minutes, including the Chief Reviewing Editor (NOTE: Hey, I had better things to do, okay? - Ed.), and it's no wonder. The opening credits alone, with Michael just sitting there while bad Muzak played, were as good a sedative as anything a doctor could possibly prescribe. And this was one of the more exciting scenes.
Whatever stories were actually taken from the manga are drawn out, badly animated, and paced so slowly that they lose all their humor and charm. Michael comes across as a fat lump rather than Japan's answer to Garfield, which he is in the manga. Some of my favorite manga stories were animated on par with Crying Freeman, where each frame stood there for minutes on end with no action to speak of. And whenever Michael's not on screen, we're treated to random, bizarre clips featuring a strange couple who either batter each other or undress each other, usually while dancing. Then there are the eyecatch sequences, which feature Michael licking himself in undescribable places while a strange synthesized voice screams, "What's Michael!" It's not so much a question of What's Michael ... but Where ... and Why?
As if the shorts weren't bad enough, halfway through the tape, you're "treated" to a bonus music video featuring a bad Filipino Michael Jackson impersonator (ie "Billie Jean" complete with one white glove) singing about how "sexy" and "hot" Michael is. For crying out loud, he's a CAT! (Even if he's glowing neon green and dancing superimposed on top of a photo of the Eiffel Tower.) Very 80s, very weird, and about as entertaining as watching family sleep ... which they did. I'm sure they had more fun.
If you're a fan of the manga, or anyone else for that matter, AVOID THIS TAPE AT ALL COSTS! It's only good for insomniacs, as this beats Tale of Genji and Night on the Galactic Railroad for the ultimate sedative anime ... heck, this beats codeine!
(By the way, sis, I've not forgiven you yet!)
Raph, why can't we give zeroes? PLEASE? — Christina Carpenter
Recommended Audience: None. Your cat would be insulted.
Version(s) Viewed: VHS, raw Japanese
Review Status: Full (1/1)
What's Michael? © 1985 Kobayashi Makoto / Kitty Film
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