Feb 12, 2022
“Yankee Reppuu-tai” follows the exploits of charismatic goofball and fighting genius Monnojo Monda and his friends and enemies as he ascends the ranks of the juvenile delinquent gang world.
The "Reppuu-tai" is a legendary gang that is said to have been disbanded after its leader retired. The main character, Monnojo, is a sort of "lone wolf" delinquent whose dream is to join the Reppuu-tai. He rides around in his junker car that has a souped-up engine, with his girlfriend Mari and friend (with a manji haircut) Tetsu, looking for fights and races to be had. After a chance encounter with a liquor store worker who looks
like Ronald McDonald, he finds out that the Reppuu-tai has not disbanded but is indeed alive and well.
And then, as luck would have it, we find out that the retired head of the Reppuu-tai, who knows Monnojo, has selected him to be its next head! And the Ronald McDonald guy just happens to be a member!
That sets the tone for this OVA, and more coincidences follow that seriously test one’s suspension of disbelief. The six episodes are chock full of nonsensical violence, all in the name of being “manly.” People seek out Monnojo to fight him, Monnojo beats them handily, and they become absolutely enamored with his manliness and either demand to become his underlings or that he join their gangs. There’s lots of stabbing, punching, and car crashing, with characters getting hospitalized frequently. But miraculously, with the exception of someone in a flashback, no one dies! And even after sustaining serious internal injuries and blood loss, they’re all pretty much good to go and ready to fight again after just a few days. These guys are essentially superhumans.
There is also a lot of “comedy” spliced in with the violence. Monnojo goes from tough guy to goofball at the drop of a hat, confusing his opponents and bewildering his followers. Tetsu, his friend, is mostly there for comedic relief; he’s basically a wannabe delinquent, but despite his tough appearance, he’s not “manly” enough to stand on equal footing with the rest of the gang. Some “comedy” is also derived from perverted jokes, usually made by Monnojo towards his girlfriend, Mari. (I put “comedy” in quotes because most of the jokes fall flat.)
That brings me to the ladies of the OVA — there are 4 main female characters here — 3 who are girlfriends of the main characters, and one who is from a rival gang and looks like Carmen Sandiego. Although this is very much a “manly” OVA focused on fights, the female characters get a fair amount of development and screentime, and aren’t just there as accessories for the guys. The guys are also steadfastly loyal to their girlfriends, despite various temptations, which is refreshing.
As far as technical aspects go, the animation is not bad. It's not amazing by any means, but it's above average. The character designs are unusual. You have your typical "delinquent"-looking characters, but some of them, including Monnojo in particular, also have these weird black, doe-like eyes. And their faces will often become cartoon-like when they're saying/doing something funny. Many of the characters have larger-than-life hairstyles that make them look like toy poodles. There are 3 characters (1 female, 2 male) with almost the same exact color hair and hairstyle, and they were hard to tell apart at first.
There are some interesting effects with the colors from the vehicle lights bleeding into the rest of the scene, kind of like a watercolor painting. In critical scenes, sometimes the colors become inverted, or change to black and red, which is an interesting touch. The music is OK, but not that memorable; just an average-sounding rock-and-roll soundtrack. The voice acting is good, as they got some of the most popular voice actors at the time to star in this. However, their talent is often wasted on cliched lines like “I’ll kill you,” “What did you say,” etc.
Regarding objectionable content, besides the aforementioned violence and tough talk, there is a fair amount of nudity, particularly in the first and second episodes. There are also perverted jokes from time to time. Also, story-wise, there is a female character who falls in love with the guy who beat her up and sent her to the hospital, and they start dating. (He scarred his face in front of her as “atonement” for what he did, and that made her fall for him. It’s still weird, though.)
This OVA is watchable, but due to the too-convenient series of coincidences required to drive the plot forward, the characters sustaining life-threatening injuries but somehow coming out of them unscathed, the objectionable content, and the odd designs of some of the characters, it’s not a particularly enjoyable watch. Not to mention the whole thing feels pointless. It seems like they’re beating each other up to the brink of death just to see how “manly” they all are. If that’s your thing, then you might like this, but if you want more substance, it’s best to look elsewhere.
Reviewer’s Rating: 5
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