(from Anime News Network)
Koichiro Kamishiro is on a rather esoteric mission: he seeks the Message of God. The interesting thing is, he's awfully close to finding it. While this philanthropic archaeologist has only the most noble designs on putting the Message to use, the myriad message-seeking maniacs on his trail aren't quite so benign. They will stop at nothing to acquire the Crystal Triangle he has discovered, which seems to be the crucial instrument in making the long-elusive Message at last available. After all, whoever possesses the Message of God, it is said, holds in his hands the fate of the world.
Near the end of Crystal Triangle, a giant alien ship that ostensibly carries the last hope of the future of mankind is sent crashing into the Hokkaido countryside into an unearthly fireball while Koichiro cries out in despair. This is a perfect metaphor for this film, which, for nearly an hour and a half, tries to get us to care about a disparate set of unlikable, unrelatable characters with nebulous motivations to survive through confusing action sequences before basically self-destructing in a wilderness of nonsense leaving the audience to wonder what the hell the point was.
And getting to that point is just sheer misery. We get far too much of dour, humorless Koichiro (who is apparently part American, part Russian, and yet has a Japanese name and speaks Japanese and lives in ... South Brunswick, New Jersey? WHAT?) dealing with a bunch of annoying characters with shifting alliances (which might matter more if we cared about any of these people), then the KGB (whose Russian is strangely bad), and the CIA (whose English is strangely bad), and whoever Japan is throwing in (whose Japanese is NOT bad, because this is anime), then fighting off agents of the mysterious Hih (isn't that an insurance company?) as he tries to unlock the secret of the namesake McGuffin (blah blah blah Bermuda Triangle blah blah blah Message of God), which, honestly, you stopped caring about after the seventeenth filler combat sequence. It's like an even less fun Dagger of Kamui, with all the action sequences halfway through replaced by psychedelic light shows that somehow end up being fatal to enemy combatants. There's something about a character being a descendant of Rasputin, which proves irrelevant. At some point in time, I'm pretty sure the Hih double-cross themselves. If it sounds like I don't know what's going on in this film, trust me, neither will you, because at this point, I've watched this film three times and still find it incomprehensible, and I'm pretty sure the staff didn't know what they were doing or where they were going with this.
For its by-now extreme age, Crystal Triangle does almost show flashes of competence here and there. Aerial combat sometimes looks good ... and sometimes just looks like they're getting planes to crash into things for no real reason. Hand to hand combat ... well, hey at least the characters look consistent for the most part, if the characters aren't just butt-ugly even by late 80s standards.
And then there is the final reveal, where the we finally get to meet the almighty Jehovah being revealed as a ...
massive chipmunk-voiced caterpillar, who is killed by being knocked out of its cradle by a kamikaze Russian bomber!
Yeah! They went there! And yeah, that really is the most memorable scene in the film. Forget "Crystal Dragon Jesus", Giant Caterpie Jehovah is by far the STUPIDEST interpretation of the supernatural you could possibly imagine, and while I don't put much stock in the concept of blasphemy, I *do* mind having my intelligence insulted this much.
Just. Oh. Wow. And hour and a half of this nonsense, and this is your payoff. (Oh, and the main character sinking into alcoholic despair after his divine messenger and love interest Miyabi bites it in said massive explosion. AWWWRIGHT!)
So yeah. Really. If you want to see for yourself, it's on YouTube. You're welcome.
I'm not going to pretend you should care about the music, animators, or voice cast in this film, because all of those people created something really bad that I'm sure they are trying to forget, but just to be informed, I'll give you a rundown -- the director responsible for helming this colossal, overwrought failure is Seiji Okuda, whose most enduring work seems to be Dancougar, but who also directed that horrendously boring 1980s Romance of the Three Kingdoms anime that I gave up on after a mere handful of episodes. He had little to no help from tremendously underedited screenwriter Junki Takegami, who has written a host of far better work, primarily on television, ranging from Maison Ikkoku, to Gunslinger Girl and One Piece. Strangely, there are two separate musicians credited for the invariably forgettable soundtrack: Osamu Totsuka and Takeshi Ike, both previous collaborators with Okuda on Dancougar who would go on to work on the Gundam, Dragon Ball Z, and Sailor Moon franchises. As for voices, now-veteran character actor Masane Tsukayama (Guile in the Street Fighter II movie, among others) is our reluctant, jaded hero; honestly, if you care about the rest of the voice cast, you can check ANN, because honestly, this is not a highlight of any of their careers.
When we here at THEM say, "We watch bad anime so you don't have to," we really mean it in the most serious possible way, and there is absolutely no conceivable reason I can think of for you to subject yourself to the full 86 minute run time of Crystal Triangle. There are terrible films that are fun to watch, and then there are terrible films that are just terrible and a chore to watch, to write about, or even think about, and the fact that I've now lost actual, needed sleep over trying to write this review is borderline infuriating, because precious little of this process was any fun. It's so boring, you can't even make light of what's going on, just nervous, confused laughter as you look at the run time and realize how little time has actually transpired before you're just screaming at that damned roadkilled Almighty Caterpillar to make the torture stop!!!
TL;DR Under no circumstances should you ever feel the urge to watch Crystal Triangle.
You should respect yourself more than this.
A single star may be too much: this waste of film doesn't even deserve a triangle. — Carlos/Giancarla Ross
Recommended Audience: Nudity and violence, which amazingly somehow fail to make this film remotely interesting. There's also the matter of the depiction of Jehovah as a giant caterpillar, which devout members of any Abrahamic religion might find upsetting on top of being incredibly, utterly stupid.
Version(s) Viewed: Digital recording of VHS source, Japanese with English subtitles
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Crystal Triangle © 1987 Animate / Movic
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