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Alternative Titles

English: Cipher


Type: OVA
Episodes: 1
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Mar 3, 1989
Licensors: None found, add some
Studios: Magic Bus
Source: Manga
Genres: DramaDrama, MusicMusic
Duration: 26 min.
Rating: PG-13 - Teens 13 or older


Score: 4.711 (scored by 38183,818 users)
1 indicates a weighted score.
Ranked: #108452
2 based on the top anime page. Please note that 'Not yet aired' and 'R18+' titles are excluded.
Popularity: #5357
Members: 8,136
Favorites: 57
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Apr 17, 2012
geroshabu (All reviews)
Having finished "CIPHER THE VIDEO" after 40 minutes’ worth of confusion, bewilderment, laughter, and tears, I feel it necessary to gather my thoughts on it in some fashion. Recently released in a new rip/encode by ARR, “Cipher” is truly one of the more puzzling works I have ever seen from any era, in any medium. Its intentions seem wholly unknown to me, buried under the purest of incompetency, laziness/budget constraints, and seeming indifference.

The provided summary is as follows:

"Annis Marfie is a boyish-looking girl, who is studying art in New York. One day, she discovers that her schoolmate, an extraordinarily beautiful semi-pro model, Shiver is actually read more
Dec 18, 2014
Chromephone (All reviews)
it's 10am and i havent gone to bed yet because i cant stop thinking about cipher. this ova was great. ive been sitting in my bed weeping from laughter and staring off in sheer bewilderment. i havent had enough time to completely wrap my mind around what i just watched. im a big fan of so bad theyre good movies. this is the best i have ever seen, hands down. it beats manos, it beats the room and it beats plan 9. this is so beyond all that. so much stranger and poorly thought out than i could have imagined anything could ever be. read more
Mar 23, 2015
literaturenerd (All reviews)

I have seen a LOT of really weird anime, but I have never seen anything like Cipher. This anime comes completely out of left field and just leaves you speechless. It is basically a 40 minute music video that tells the story of a famous teen actor and his twin brother, who often attends school in his place. It was made in the 1980s, so the soundtrack is mostly Kenny Loggins and Phil Collins. It is PURE 80s cheese! I guess you have to consider that "AMVs" didn't exist in the 1980s, so the very concept of watching anime mixed with popular music was brand read more
Sep 1, 2016
Cynthesizer (All reviews)
Up until lately, I have been out of anime to watch. Much to my surprise, being a very big fan of this medium, I thought to myself that, maybe, it was time to quit. With my national exams coming, it would have been easier for me to focus on them. Few days later, I found out that I still needed my daily dose of anniemays and mangoes and manhwuoes and whatever, had it become a habit to watch much coming from this medium. Much to my serendipity, I was able to find a masterpiece that was able to bring me back to this medium. That read more
Apr 22, 2020
BurntFlower (All reviews)
You will never see another anime quite like Cipher.

It is a music video, a love sonnet to New York City, a tribute to Phil Collins, a movie within a movie, a commercial for cake mix, an interview, a psychoanalysis of its characters, a surreal mind trip... Cipher is all those things and so much more.

As I watched, I felt a full range of emotions: confusion, delight, disgust, joy, outrage, hilarity. Although based on a shoujo manga, director Tsuneo Tominaga decided to throw the source material away, including a linear narrative, character arcs, and discernible dialogue, for a bizarre trip through his subconscious. Lacking any semblance read more
Aug 9, 2019
Nicholaevich (All reviews)
Footloose is 1984 musical film directed by Herbert Ross and named after a terrible Kenny Loggins song. The film stars Kevin Bacon as Ren McCormack, an upbeat Chicago native who finds himself in downbeat Bomont, Utah. But wait a second, we’re not supposed to be talking about Footloose. We’re here to discuss Cipher The Video, the greatest manga trailer and The Video ever made.

Cipher is a shoujo manga about a girl in love with a boy with a twin brother who switches places with him sometimes. At least that’s what I think it is. It takes place in America maybe? read more
Oct 12, 2018
Voivodian (All reviews)
An Avant Garde Masterpiece

A surreal fragmented narrative told through nothing but mock interviews, fake advertisements and animated music videos sequences set to 80s pop hits. In fact, the whole thing is book ended by Phil Collin's music!

Despite wielding only this pastiche of 80s pop culture, a compelling example of 'show not tell' storytelling is expertly achieved within just 20 minutes. The remainder 15 minutes? Dedicated to the promotional material and the 'making of'. A fitting metafiction for this story within a story.


-The Twin Towers as an allegory for our twin protagonists

-Silent film dialogue

-Phil Collins

-Awesomely atmospheric montage of NYC nightlife set to an obscure new read more
May 6, 2020
Thedude3445 (All reviews)
This thing's wild. It's a jumbled up montage of music videos stripped of context, and then an MTV-style "real bro interviews" thing where the main actor has a very noticeable accent, completely breaking the illusion of the character, along with a few real bad voice actors to go along with it.

Yep, this is a Japanese anime movie where it's voiced entirely in English. It's not much better than you'd expect.

It's wild and barely comprehensible, but it's also pretty short. 15 minutes of the 40 minute runtime are actually a making-of featurette after the fact; that's pretty nice and I appreciate it.
Mar 24, 2020
Junelovesanime (All reviews)
Okay, this is my first review and I just need to write about this awful anime. I guess I now know why it is on the MAL badges for unique anime.

I couldn't find a good storyline in this anime, to me it was as if ingredients were thrown together to make a delicious cocktail only the ingredients consist out of rotting meat and milk that has been spoiled for three months.

The art for it's year of making was okayish, I just couldn't enjoy it and it eventually became a thorn in my eye in combination with the voice acting.

The only thing I read more
Jun 29, 2015
vigorousjammer (All reviews)
Gosh, Cipher is such a strange work.

There's a guy named Cipher, and a guy named Siva, and they're both... twins or something? Nothing is really explained about their relationship to each other or what is even going on in the film. One of them is a movie star making a football film, that's about all I got out of it.
None of the characters are introduced very well (or in some cases at all), as there's very little dialogue in the film, and the dialogue that is there is done through an interview-like style that doesn't actually say much about them or the story at hand.

The read more
Jan 27, 2019
ScarletCelestial (All reviews)
OK. This is somehow the cringiest anime I have ever seen, and that includes many of the worst listed on MAL.

Story: 0

I was forced to give this a 1, but if it was up to me it would be 0. There is literally no story. One third of this is a montage of disconnected moments and the worst dancing ever in anime. The rest of it apart from the final scene is about a guy who's filming a movie: it doesn't do much. Then the last scene is him meeting his brother. That is it. That is all. It is a plotless mess that is read more
Jan 17, 2019
matthigh (All reviews)
Ah, the much-maligned "Cipher". Notoriously rated one of the worst anime OVAs of the decade. Also considered one of the weirdest anime shows to be made, leaving many to scratch their heads thinking, 'why does this even exist?' (However, it does not take the cake for the strangest ever -- that honor goes to Chocolate Panic Show).

And yet, if viewed from a certain perspective, it has a certain...charm. I would certainly be more willing to watch more like this, than about half of the current,modern crop of regular anime series that are dredged up and vomited on read more
Feb 25, 2021
Omelettesb (All reviews)
Cipher The Video is like if you took the prompt to make an anime based off of MTV but you just did a recording of MTV and made it anime with a few Manga characters recurring and i love it. It just slaps no question. If you know the manga premise then you can kinda know whats going on but you don't need to because it doesn't have a plot and is basically a 40 minute OP, the dialogue is in english as its set in New York but it can be a bit shaky cos its a bit old (this doesn't at all matter read more
Dec 17, 2020
1avenderB0y (All reviews)
As an immediate disclaimer, I made the mistake of watching Cipher after getting only four hours of sleep. That said, I really don't think it makes a difference how much sleep you get, nothing can truly prepare you for this experience. I was warned that this OVA made no sense. I knew that the voice acting was... A Choice. People said it was a confusing, hilarious mess, and they were right. I thought I was ready. I wasn't.

The plot pretty much doesn't exist, or at the very least, if there was meant to be a plot buried within the 80s music and cake mix read more
Aug 11, 2020
PingPongYa (All reviews)
Cipher is definitely one of the cringiest and worse animes I have ever seen.

Story: 1/10
There is no story. Half of it is a montage of random scenes that have no connections in any way. And the other half is some terrible 'interview' of these people being cast into a movie. Completely plotless.

Art: 1/10
The art is very ugly and terrible quality even for the 80s. A lot of the animation gets reused as well.

Sound: 1/10
The songs that were played were TERRIBLE and didn't fit the video at all. The voice actors were so monotone and cringy, awfully recorded too.

Character: 1/10
There is nothing to the characters, they read more
May 8, 2020
Wheedies (All reviews)
A touching love letter to American pop culture of the time, not much more. That's what this adaptation is, it's not too entertaining or special with no real plot beyond showcasing the only real character in it, whos a movie star. Comments on the video I watched mentioned it was intentionally dubbed in English when it was made, resulting in a bad dub. But that only contributes to its feel of American Culture, and does not detract from the show due to it being so American. The only real thing the show addresses is how many pop and movie stars become estranged from their families read more
Apr 6, 2018
isahbellah (All reviews)
I'm so confused???? But apparently, that's expected, since this is pretty much an (official) AMV for a manga.

To be fair, the music is good. It's very american (i mean, phil collins is in the intro! just an example), but it's good. The dub is horrible, it's like they COULDN'T pay for actual voice-actors so they just asked around the street for random people to come over and say some lines in front of a microphone.

BUT... it's so hilarious that you just roll with it and accept the awkwardness. It kind of gives a certain "charm" to this OVA.

The art is pretty and I actually want read more
Aug 7, 2019
variouswomen (All reviews)
a transcendental experience. i love this with every fibre of my being. effective art makes you ask questions, so:

why was the Hindu god Shiva shown in this 80s MV set in New York? the Japanese pronunciation of 'Shiva' is similar to 'Shiver', the name of one of the twins, right? what are the implications of the twin sharing the same name as a supreme being? like was this supposed to imply Shiver is the ultimate creator of the universe? is this why he has that red spot on his forehead? and why did the two brothers kiss both during and after the flashback showing their read more
Nov 8, 2018
SageModeTice (All reviews)
I just watched the 1989 ONA Cipher and I have no idea what to say, this anime is unexplainable, sure it has a plot and a somewhat cohesive story, but there is something about this that I truly can't wrap my head around, whether it's good or bad I can honestly say I've never watched anything like this anime.

So the story is basically this, there are two twin brothers who pretend to be the same person, and a girl at their school I think finds out about it and wants to be their friend or something... Shiver the one brother is a famous actor read more
Apr 11, 2018
MasterPepsi (All reviews)
This anime… Whew. You either hate it or love it. But I'll tell you right now, if you expect something akin to the manga, that's not what this is. The manga, from the little I've read, is supposed to be a love story involving a girl and two boys in an American high school. The beginning of the OVA kind of does that (keyword: kind of), but then eventually it takes a completely different turn.

It turns into a guy who became a famous actor, I guess. Now, I'm not necessarily against the idea of an anime adaption taking a different turn compared to the read more