In times of olde, God gave mankind the ten commandments, and a message that has been lost to the centuries. In the present, Koichiro Kamishiro is a modern day Indiana Jones who scours (and often destroys) ruins for hints of the past, until one day he runs across a box filled with two crystal triangles. Having inadvertently run across the key to God's lost message, Kamishiro suddenly has a lot to deal with including assassination attempts by the KGB and the CIA, aliens hell-bent on destroying the Earth and the love of several women!
When it comes to terrible anime, it's really hard to find ones that are bad in an enjoyable way, like The Room or Troll 2. With anime from this era, the bad stuff is usually just boring or frustratingly stupid. So imagine my delight when I finally stumbled upon this anti-masterpiece. It has a plot that moves like a mad lib, continuously getting more and more insane. Seriously, it starts as an Indiana Jones style story, but then all of the sudden the protagonist has super powers and is fighting aliens, then the movie immediately forgets about his powers again. He'll get into
a seemingly inescapable situation, then it'll cut to him being fine, with only a brief mention that he has no idea how he got out of that. All this builds up to an amazingly nonsensical ending that had me grinning the whole time.
This isn't a good anime. It's in fact very bad. But it's one of my favorites, and in the right mindset, it could be one of yours as well.
I'm on a quest to watch the shittiest anime known to man -- that's how I stumbled across this peculiar little OVA. Low ratings? Action anime? I was preparing myself for a hyper-violent cheesefest akin to M.D. Geist, but it seems I got something different instead.
This is not a great anime. But what separates this from the bad? This anime has effort and passion behind it.
Story & Characters:
The story and characters are this anime's weakest link. Imagine the over-the-top and convoluted sci-fi/political thriller of Metal Gear Solid crossed with the stock characters of an Indiana Jones film minus the originality. That's basically all this anime
is. The characters are extremely underwritten and are only there to serve the plot.
The plot, on the other hand, is an extremely convoluted and ridiculous plot involving the Soviet Union, the US military, a shadowy cabal that controls the Japanese government, and a conspiracy by an ancient alien race disguised as Buddhist monks.
So what's good and bad about the plot? Well, everything is bad about the plot. But the best thing is how much the show believes in its own plot and takes itself seriously.
Art & sound:
Maybe it's because I've been looking at too much shit anime, but Crystal Triangle is a feast for my eyes. The animation has plenty of effort put into it -- the bouncy animation of the jeep in the opening, the detailed interior of the BMW that the secret agent drives, and the stunning colors of the life-support chamber that looks ripped right out of Evangelion (Anno worked on animation in this show) -- there are details to be found in plenty of places here.
Sound is alright. Serviceable. Of special note is that they actually got Russian and English VAs in the Japanese original -- accented, but still, the effort is admirable.
Anime is an audiovisual storytelling medium. The story of Crystal Triangle creaks under its own weight, but man, is there passion in the visuals and even the story itself. The story is the best kind of bad story -- the kind that takes itself seriously, and the visuals do their best to make that bad story seem as cool as possible. The visual details, the effort put into the voice acting and the grandiose story add up to a very enjoyable effort (at least in my opinion).
Some bad anime are charming because of how bad they feel.
Crystal Triangle is charming because it does its level best to make itself good -- and it almost succeeds.
Hey, Imagine if you crossed the Da Vinci Code, Raiders of the Lost Arc and a total lack of talent!
Congratulations, you just pictured something more coherent than "Crystal Triangle".
Here a modern day Indiana Jones fights off RPG-shooting Russian Clark Kent and demon monks with Kung Fu powers that are introduced 3 seconds before they are used.
The story is nonsensical, deranged doggerel with a Marty-Stu protagonist and multiple Deus ex Caterpillar plot "twists"
And, yes, I'll save you the suspense. God is a Worm; and not a cool, giant Shai-Hulud...but a sad trifle that looks like it belongs in the bottom of a bottle of Tequila.
God gets killed....after (squeakily) giving half of the "Answer" that the heroes fought and died for.
Somehow, I suspect this was either a pilot for an aborted TV series or an advert for a bad manga.
Either way, watch Spriggan instead. It's 10x better.
At first, as the smarmy, hunky archeology professor and his blonde ingenue sidekick start smashing massive, ancient ruins in the desert, fighting the bad guys and escaping in a plane, I was like, cool, this is going to be a bit of a rip-off of Indiana Jones. I'm down with that. (Or maybe a closer analogy might be the Brendan Fraser The Mummy, in terms of over-the-top style action. Also good.)
But that only lasts for the first act. Pretty soon it starts delving pretty deeply into some really weird mysticism and ancient-alien-level weirdness, extra-sensory powers...and it never
looks back. And the plot is none the wiser as well, as any semblance of rationality is thrown out the window.
Not that that is necessarily a bad thing, but there's so much nonsense it's hard to follow, and eventually I stopped trying to figure out who was what, and where this whole mess was going. This movie is definitely one of those eighties shows that has the philosophy of "throw everything into the pot, stir it up and see what works". The problem is, an "everything" show usually ends up just a jumbled mess.
Some have pointed to Crystal Triangle as one of those "so bad it's good" shows, where you sort of bask in the terribleness of it all. But really, there's so much of it that you're exhausted trying to do that halfway through. Like drinking from the firehose of awfulness.