How in the FUCK am I the first person to review this series on MAL?! Raven Tengu Kabuto is only 45 minutes, but this is one of the funniest, most batshit insane examples of "So bad it's good" anime I've ever come across. Strap yourselves in because we're going on a wild ride!
I feel like there's something missing in modern anime. We get generic shonen tropes, self referential humor, attempts at genre subversion, and occasionally something artsy and esoteric. What we honestly lack in the modern day is gloriously over the top, stupid, fun, with zero irony or sense of self awareness. Anime has
become almost depressingly self aware. Furthermore, the internet and globalization means that Japanese animation studios have finally become aware that the world IS watching. This has led to self censorship and Japanese artists being WAY more self conscious about what they put on the screen. On the one hand, there are some benefits to this. If you're trying to get your buddy into watching an anime for the first time, modern fans can show off stuff like My Hero Academia or One Punch Man. They don't have to get real nervous while trying to desperately explain Mr. Popo in Dragonball or the staggering amount of child nudity in Elfen Lied. On the other hand, we no longer see that totally carefree attitude where the anime director CLEARLY thought that only 50 Japanese people were ever going to see this. This means we get a lot less WTF hilarity and "So bad its good" anime have basically become extinct.
Raven Tengu Kabuto is one of those aforementioned awesomely bad anime that could never exist today. That's because today's industry doesn't have writers with the attitude of Buichi Terasawa. Today I'm reviewing his work Kabuto, but Terasawa is most famous for his manga Cobra and its anime adaptions. Back in the late 1970s, when Rose of Versailles was getting praised for its intelligent writing and Joe was tragically dying the ring, Japan fell in love with the cheesy action-adventure Cobra. This was a simple series about a side burn having, cigar chomping, hard bastard with a gun for a hand. He rescued space princesses and kicked ass across the galaxy. It didn't try to be deep. It didn't try to appeal to highbrow critics. It was just stupid fun and it became a HUGE international success. Even Osamu Tezuka himself befriended Terasawa! Kabuto takes Terasawa's approach to writing and condenses it down into 45 glorious minutes. Nothing makes any sense. Nothing has greater meaning. The only thing that matters is that it looks cool and is fucking badass!
The plot takes place in feudal Japan. An evil sorceress has taken over a small feudal state and has enslaved its people. The men toil all day in the mines, while the women were all murdered so their souls could fuel the sorceress's dark magic. It is up to our hero Kabuto to kill the sorceress, rescue the princess, and liberate the kingdom. Unfortunately, the sorceress has a giant army of robots built by her mad scientist minion. Kabuto is a fucking baller with an 80s mullet, a magic sword, and the ability to grow wings and fly awkwardly as an homage to the Flash Gordon movie. I'm dead serious. He can also summon flocks of ravens for absolutely no reason. After killing a bunch of robot ninjas to some truly kickass guitar solos, Kabuto confronts the sorceress...who gets naked for no reason. It turns out that the sorceress is just a robot that was built by the mad scientist and is under his control! Why is a robot using sorcery? Why does a robot need soul power? Why is the scientist constantly shown begging the robot for permission and being submissive when it is just them in the room? None of these will ever be answered, because this is a Terasawa anime. After summoning the power of bullshit, Kabuto defeats the robot sorceress and that instantly activates her self destruct countdown. Kabuto grabs the princess and casually flies out of the flying fortress, which btw is a hut with a helicopter rotor blades. The fortress explodes, instantly killing the mad scientist and the anime just stops immediately afterwards! Bravo!
If you're going to watch this shitty anime, you will get maximum enjoyment out of watching the English dub. This was an early attempt by Manga UK and it might be the worst I've ever heard from those guys. Yes, worse than Angel Cop or Mad Bull 34. It doesn't have the ludicrous swearing because John Wolskel wasn't in charge of the translation. However, it does have some of the worst voice acting and attempts at line syncing I've ever seen. To further illustrate this point, I couldn't find a single actor listed for this piece of shit on MAL, ANN, IMDB, or anywhere else. Even the British "Big Green Dub" of DBZ had actor names attached to it. These VAs on the other hand are fucking ghosts. Manga UK must have literally pulled people off the street and given them lines with no context.
If you're together with friends and have 45 minutes to spare, I HIGHLY recommend watching this train wreck. It is free to watch on Youtube and I promise you will get some serious laughs out of it. My ribs were sore after watching this one.