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.
Under the review tips and guidelines, MAL is suggesting that I try my very best to not write any spoilers. Luckily for me, this movie was such a jumbled mess of incomprehensible nonsense that I probably couldn't spoil it even if I tried.
You know the saying "oil and water don't mix?" The plot of Crystal Triangle kind of feels like one extremely contrarian and probably drunk writer took that as a challenge. This movie includes alien technology, pointless demonic monks, the Soviet Union, a giant talking worm, and a bunch of other stuff that really doesn't seem like it belongs in a plot which is
supposedly about the word of God. Then again, God's message itself turns out to be completely insane as well. I won't give away exactly what it is, but I will say that it's about as enlightening as the opening words of DOOM. Rip and tear, humans.
If you're looking for something uniquely terrible to laugh at with a group of buddies, Crystal Triangle is worth trying. If you aren't, how in the world did you even end up here?
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.
If you're looking for a long, detailed in-depth review this one isn't for you because there isn't much to say about this OVA besides the fact it's just a bad anime, and a VERY bad one.
The plot is extremely confusing: a lot of things happen but many of them are unexplained or barely developed, and most of them don't make any sense. The first 15-20 minutes are somewhat acceptable because it may look as an interesting adventure/mystery story with mystical elements, but then the remaining 70 minutes of nonsense come in like a train.
Visuals are nothing special, with mediocre sketches and character design and
below average animation.
Oh, and God is depicted as a weird caterpillar who floats in the air inside a giant spaceship, talks like Alvin and the Chipmunks, and dies miserably just like a bug when he gets slammed against the walls of the ship during a battle fought between Soviet and American jet fighters in the skies above it.
I strongly suggest you avoiding this anime unless you want to watch it to laugh at it with friends, just as I did. In that case it provides a good amount of fun.